Show Notes: January Adjustments
Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired on January 5, 2019
January is here and in this new year, we want your goals and your resolutions to be easy adjustments that give you an advantage.
- new technology for your old house
- good buys in January
- some winter home tips
- and how to paint your concrete block basement walls
Missed our live show? That’s okay, we have a podcast of the show. It’s the same thing we aired on the radio, but ready for you whenever you’re ready! Check it out here.
Ways to Take Advantage of New Technology In Your Old House
See Inside your Walls with the General iBorescope
Unless you have X-ray vision, it can be tough to figure out what’s inside a wall. That’s where a ‘borescope’ comes in handy. It’s basically a small camera on the end of a snake. You just fish it through a hole or tight space to view what’s inside on a video monitor.
Several companies make borescopes, but the General iBorescope line is a little different in that it lets you use the display on your smartphone or tablet as a wireless video monitor. The borescope acts as a Wi-Fi hot spot, letting you connect your mobile device to it without a Wi-Fi router or Internet access. A free app lets you snap photos and record video, and the camera is waterproof so you can safely use it in areas that may be wet.
Motion-Sensor Power Strip
Your cable/satellite box, Blu-ray player, TV sound system and streaming devices all draw power 24/7, even when the TV is off. It’s the same with your computer and its attached printer, scanner and accessory speakers. The TrickleStar Motion Sensor PowerStrip shuts off those power-sucking devices when they’re not being used. It takes its cues from whatever device (TV or computer) is plugged into the ‘control’ receptacle, along with input from the attached motion sensor.
Here’s how it works. When you turn on the TV or computer, the power strip immediately powers up three switched receptacles for your accessories/peripherals. When you turn the TV or computer off, it shuts off the switched receptacles. And, if the TV or computer is on, but you leave the room for 30 minutes or longer, the motion sensor shuts off the switched receptacles. Come back and it powers them back up. The unit has one control receptacle, three switched receptacles and three always-on receptacles, along with built-in surge protection (1080 joules) for all outlets.
Whole-House Shutoff Systems
For the ultimate in water leak detection and flood prevention, consider a whole-house automatic shutoff system like this one. Wireless sensors placed around the house tell it when there’s a leak or if a pipe has frozen, and a motorized valve shuts off water to the house. The WaterCop has been around for a few years, but the company now offers a Wi-Fi module that sends alerts to your smartphone or computer when there’s a problem. A complete system consists of leak and freeze sensors, a Wi-Fi module and automatic shutoff valve. Depending on your DIY skills, you might need to hire a plumber to install it on your home’s water main.
Camp Fire Update in Paradise, California
Scott Michaels, Program Manager of longtime On The House Affiliate Newstalk 1290 KPAY in Chico provided an update on the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA. To learn more check out their website.
January Home Buys
You could save 30% to 60% buying furniture in January, as stores try to clear out inventory and make way for new pieces, which manufacturers introduce in February.
Floor samples especially often sell for a song, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Stores slash prices on shelving, organizing systems and storage bins as we all try to meet your organizing goals for the New Year.
Linens and Towels
Department store “white sales” — launched in 1878 — are still a favorite marketing tactic and make January the best time to binge on high-quality bedding and towels. If the exact color or style you’re seeking is out of stock, ask in-store for a rain check, so you can get exactly what you want at the price that can’t be beat.
The prices on this year’s appliances bottom out when they suddenly become last year’s models. With the exception of refrigerators (more on that below), you can pick up last year’s models for way less in September, October, and January, when stores are making room for new inventory.
Prices for interior and exterior paint bottom out when the mercury (and demand) falls — in November, December, and January, but also when it rises back up, in May and July.
From mid-December and into January, homeowners tend to take a break from major remodeling projects because of the holidays. Flooring retailers and installers are looking for business, so that gorgeous wide-plank flooring or luscious carpet can be yours for an even more scrumptious price.
Don’t Forget These Winter Home Tips
Winter officially began on December 21, 2018, so now that the holidays are past it’s time to get serious about some easy winterizing tips
Boost Your Lighting
You can’t change the cause of those dreary, short days — Earth’s axis is what it is. But you can reevaluate interior lighting. Spread light throughout rooms for an overall glow. Add up lights for a little extra shine and task lighting for rooms where you’ve got work to do.
Another quick tip: Check the quality of the light in the bulbs you have. Bulbs with a high color-rendering index give the truest light.
Curtains on Drafts
Layer curtains and shades for insulation against window drafts. Look for curtains made of insulating material. Or bulk up a light fabric with a layer of cotton flannel on the backside. Layers mean you can quickly change the look of your windows. In summer, heavy panels can be pulled off for the simplicity of shades. Remember, open curtains help reduce energy use, too. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping drapes open on south-facing windows during the day during heating season.
Flip Your Fan Switch
A few simple steps will keep all those cozy spaces comfortable and safe from the damage a harsh winter can inflict. And you may also save some money thanks to increased energy efficiency. Here’s how:
One extra simple step to save cash? Use ceiling fans to reverse the airflow. In summer, you want air blowing downward for a cooling effect. Reverse the fan in winter so that it circulates the hot air around the room. This works especially well in rooms with high ceilings. Hot air rises and collects near the ceiling, so bring it down where people gather.
Keep It Flowing
One surefire way to cause problems in winter — especially during those random midwinter thaws — is to let drainage problems go unchecked. Avoid that by cleaning gutters of fall debris before winter storms hit. Clogged gutters can lead to siding damage, basement floods, and gutter corrosion.
Practice Fireplace Maintenance
If you have a fireplace you’re planning to use inside, prepare it for cold weather by having a chimney sweep clean it. This eliminates build-up and helps prevent a chimney fire. If you have an old fireplace, you may want to look into a fireplace insert that improves heating efficiency.
Achieve Perfect Humidity
Without a humidifier, heated indoor air can cause uncomfortably dry skin and increase your susceptibility to colds. Humidifiers can be purchased to add moisture to single rooms or to a whole house. Humidifiers need to be regularly cleaned and often need filter changes to guard against mold and mildew. If you’re adding a humidifier to a child’s room, consider a cool mist humidifier, which uses a fan rather than heat to distribute moisture.
How to Paint Concrete Block Basement Walls
Painting your concrete basement walls not only helps protect your basement against mold, water, bacteria and mildew but also adds to the look of your basement, especially if you use it as a work or rec room. Proper painting of these walls requires the removal of any water and mildew before beginning as well as patching the walls to prevent to growth of mold.
Locate any sources of moisture and correct the problem before starting your paint job. This can include ensuring that your home’s downspouts empty to a drain tile and that the water is carried as far from your basement walls as possible.
Remove any mildew with a mildew remover, following the product instructions. You may also use a pressure hose to remove mildew provided the water will easily drain from your basement. Use a space heater if necessary to dry out your basement. Do not attempt any painting until the walls are completely dry.
Remove any loose paint on your concrete walls with a paint chipper or sandblaster if necessary. Clean the walls to rid them of dirt and debris. Wipe down concrete walls with trisodium phosphate cleaning solution.
Fill in any cracks and holes with filler designed for use on concrete walls. Sand the filler down so that it is even with the wall.
Tape areas you do not want painted. Apply a coat of primer to your walls, which will help the paint adhere to the walls correctly. You can apply with a roller or brush or spray it on. One gallon of primer should be enough to cover 200 square feet of wall space. Allow the primer to dry thoroughly.
Paint your concrete walls with masonry paint. Masonry paint is specifically designed for good adhesion, durability and breathability. Apply paint with a sprayer, roller or brush in even strokes. Paint should be about 1/8 inch thick to ensure waterproofing. Allow the first coat of paint to dry before applying a second coat.