Jan 31, 2014

Modern Light indeed

  The slow, pulsing, flicker, drawing me ever nearer towards the depths of insanity. That droning hum, was it real or all in my mind?  I was beginning to feel like I was lost in a French noir film rather then sitting in my living room. Or at least thats how my over active imagination was reacting to the old florescent lighting nestled behind the window cornice.

manufacturer logo
  Worse then the continuous flicker and hum from the tubes was the ridiculous energy waste created by the three, 4 foot T12 fixtures. I’m far from the most environmentally conscious person on the planet but some things are such blatant wastes they bother even me. Especially when my pocket book is directly involved. When I moved in I had researched LED tub replacements, but at the time they were crazy expensive. Nowhere near my tiny middle class budget. I spent some time considering other options like LED strip lights or maybe converting over to the new T5 standard. There were lots of options but because I’m weird I didn't want to remove anything original to the house, Even crappy old florescent light fixtures. From time to time I’d check the prices on the LED tube replacements. The prices where steadily dropping so I kept putting off any decisions, finding other projects to keep me busy instead. Then one fateful day, thanks to Amazon tracking my every move, LED tubes where listed in my "suggested items" section at a rock bottom price. Only 35 bucks, down from 150+ less then a year ago. I figured the time was right and ordered a set.

  Even though I was going to be cutting my electric usage down to a third, I was worried they wouldn't be anywhere near as bright. The lumens are close but not quite as high as the old T12's and the LED tubes don’t have a full 360 degree throw. Once installed, none of that seems to matter. Visually it looks almost the same. It’s a tiny bit darker but as a trade I was able to buy them in a soothing warm light and there is no flicker or hum at all.

One important thing to know with LED tubes is they aren’t just drop in replacements. You no longer need the old ballast from the fixture and have to bypass it. Seems daunting, but really its super easy. Just open the old fixture and take everything out. Run two new wires, one for positive and one for negative and you are done. The tubes I bought were single sided, meaning the positive and negative terminals where on the same side of the tube. The other side is just for support after its rewired. There are a lot of resources on how to do the rewiring, if you are a DIY guy like me just dig around on youtube. You will find what you need.
Finished install

Jan 20, 2014

And...We are back.

I can’t quite put my finger on it but it feels like I have been forgetting to do something…Oh right, I have a house blog I should be adding content to. In fact, I’m about to hit the one year anniversary of said blog and in my absence I managed to miss the one year anniversary of when I moved into the house itself. Shameful and unforgivable I say! Best to ignore the whole subject and move on. 

Considering it’s been a year lets start with something that has been hovering at the top of my “to do” list since day one. One of the two sinks in the master bath had some serious leaks. Not just a drip from the faucet, but water seeping directly from the knobs as well. Early on I had taken the knobs off in an attempt to discover the problem, but a lack of part numbers on the internals and an even more disheartening lack of plumbing expertise on my end led me to the simple solution of just shutting off the water. 

Day in and day out I was reminded of my failure. Every time I washed my hands I was taunted by the non functioning sink placed so much more conveniently to the towel rack.
Over the holidays, a conversation with family about home projects spurred me to give it one more shot before giving in and just calling a plumber. Which, mind you for an American male is the single greatest sign of weakness. 

Fearing the reputation of my virility was on the line I grabbed my trusty tablet and hunkered in for a long night of plumbing based research. At the least, I had a place to start. All the faucets in my house are Kohler and all original so I could date them to 1960ish. It was slow starting at first. Mostly because I just didn't know what I was looking at. Through perseverance and an almost inhuman desire for victory I stumbled my way through digital page after digital page of vintage plumbing material. To my surprise I actually found images of the parts and from there I discovered Kohler even still makes the dang things. One quick order from Amazon and I had the parts I’d need to keep my status of “all that is man.”

The installation was about as easy as it gets. Unscrew the knob, take a bolt off, pull out the old part, and reverse. It just goes to show, do enough research and you will be surprised what you can learn.

For anyone who might need it here at the part numbers to my old Kohler knobs.

For cold, GP30004

For hot, GP30002