Remodelormove http://www.remodelormove.com Remodel with Confidence Tue, 26 Apr 2016 05:07:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Air Conditioning Option for a Small Space http://www.remodelormove.com/air-conditioning-option-for-a-small-space/ http://www.remodelormove.com/air-conditioning-option-for-a-small-space/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2016 19:42:05 +0000 http://www.remodelormove.com/?p=15688   When I was in Mexico recently, I rented a small house in the city of Merida, on the Yucatan Peninsula.  Each bedroom had an individual air conditioning unit mounted high on the wall which […]

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When I was in Mexico recently, I rented a small house in the city of Merida, on the Yucatan Peninsula.  Each bedroom had an individual air conditioning unit mounted high on the wall which not only cooled, but heated as well.  They worked quite well.  I recently found out that these units are called Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners, or PTAC.  They are a self-contained unit, requiring no duct work.  You have probably seen similar units in commercial establishments hotels and hospitals, where it’s desirable to have individual temperature control in each room.

 

The PTAC unit I had was operated by remote control.  With it I could set the unit for hot, cold, or fan only; set the desired temperature; change the fan speed; and set the louvers to oscillate or remain stationary.

 

PTACs are long and narrow, generally ranging from 36″ – 42″ long and 15″ or 16″ wide.  The unit that I saw was just mounted on the wall, but most are designed to be vented to the outside.  Some also require the condensation to be drained to the outside, though most do not.  Instead, the water extracted from the air is passed over the condenser coil, which causes it to evaporate.

 

PTACs generally run on electricity.  When set to cooling mode, the compressor pumps refrigerant through the coils.  The cool coils attract heat and humidity, which is removed from the room though the outside venting.  An internal fan sends the cool air into the room.

 

Some PTACs only cool, the majority also produce heat.  Electric Heat Units have a heating element which is warmed using electricity.  Heat Pump PTACs  reverse the process described for cooling, using the refrigerant to heat the coils.  Most have electric heat backup for colder temperatures.  Both units use the fan to move the heated air into the room.  Electric Heat Units are said to be quieter and last longer than Heat Pump Units.

 

Apparently, some PTACs use remote sensors to adjust the temperature to increase energy savings.  They can be set for one temperature if they sense someone in the room, another temperature if the room is empty.  Another way the newer models improve energy efficiency, as well as the indoor air quality, is to use a desiccant wheel.

 

PTACs work better in moderate climates.  Temperatures that are extremely hot or cold will overtax the unit.

 

 

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Some Thoughts About Exhaust Fans http://www.remodelormove.com/some-thoughts-about-exhaust-fans/ http://www.remodelormove.com/some-thoughts-about-exhaust-fans/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2016 03:55:54 +0000 http://www.remodelormove.com/?p=15412 I have had a few experiences with exhaust fans in the houses I’ve owned.  The first house I ever owned had a non-vented range hood in the kitchen.  There was no particular reason why the […]

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kitchen range hood

The exhaust fan for your kitchen should vent outdoor rather than recirculate back into your kitchen.

I have had a few experiences with exhaust fans in the houses I’ve owned.  The first house I ever owned had a non-vented range hood in the kitchen.  There was no particular reason why the builder could not have vented it, but he didn’t.  Although it had a filter, the range hood was pretty much useless at removing food odors and smoke.  It may have helped pull air into the room when we opened the kitchen window, but that was about all.  The next house I bought was only partially completed, so I made sure to have the range hood vented.  I suggest that you do the same in your kitchen remodel.

 

The other place that I have had a problem with venting is in the bathroom.  When you purchase a new exhausting bath fan, you will see that they are rated according to how much air they are capable of moving (cubic feet per minute, or CFM), as well as the sound level (in sones).  I have seen plenty of wimpy fans in my friends’ homes, so I was concerned with finding one that would do the job well.  I’m also the kind of person who likes to examine the merchandise before I buy it.  The building supply store that I used had a number of models on display that were actually connected to a power supply so they could be turned on.  When I went to check them out, I took a piece of printer paper with me.  When I turned the power on for each of the models, I placed the piece of paper against the vent to see how powerful the suction was.  Some of the fans didn’t pull enough air to even hold the paper.  Fortunately, I found one that did a good job.

 

I brought the bathroom exhaust fan to my partially-built home and left it in the hands of the builder.  What I did not realize until after I moved in was that since the bathroom was on the first floor of a two-story home, the builder did not bother to have the fan vented to the outside.  Instead, it was vented into the space between the floors.  My care in finding a powerful fan was wasted as I was not about to use it to send damp air into this confined space.  Next time I will be more attentive….

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New Cabinet Knobs for a New Look http://www.remodelormove.com/new-cabinet-knobs-for-a-new-look/ http://www.remodelormove.com/new-cabinet-knobs-for-a-new-look/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2016 03:25:28 +0000 http://www.remodelormove.com/?p=15413 Are the cabinet knobs in your kitchen old and worn?  Is the finish wearing off?  A fairly quick and easy way to get a new look for your cabinets is to replace the old knobs […]

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cabinet knobs and pulls

Have fun searching for new cabinet knobs and pulls.

Are the cabinet knobs in your kitchen old and worn?  Is the finish wearing off?  A fairly quick and easy way to get a new look for your cabinets is to replace the old knobs or pulls with new ones.  Don’t limit yourself to the kitchen.  You can also replace the cabinet knobs or pulls in your bathroom, laundry room, or anywhere else you have cabinets.

 

Cabinet knobs have a single mounting screw; pulls generally have two.  You can sometimes replace knobs with pulls if you don’t mind drilling a second hole.  However, you will most likely not want to replace a pull with a knob unless you can figure out some way of covering the extra hole.  Be careful to match the spacing of the screws when you replace pulls as it does differ between styles.

 

Look online or take a wander through your favorite building supply store and you will find an almost endless variety of knobs and pulls.  You can go for the least expensive options at $2 a piece, or splurge on a one-of-a-kind look at one-of-a-kind prices.  The most common material is metal, in finishes such as nickle, chrome, brass,  bronze, antique, and black.  However, there are many other options, including ceramic, wood, glass, plastic, rock, and concrete.

 

The knob you select will affect the style of your space and the manufacturers have tried to create something for everyone.  You can go with traditional, modern or something in between.  If you are after a playful look, you can find knobs in bright colors and unusual shapes.

 

Don’t have knobs on your cabinets?  Don’t worry, you can add them for a new look.  Just drill holes in the appropriate spots and add your favorite knobs.

 

I once rented a 1960’s house that still had the original hardware.  It was unique and in keeping with the rest of the house, and was fun to have.  I would not want to replace it.  However, if your hardware is nondescript or in bad shape, consider swapping it out for a brand new look, whether you are remodeling or not.

 

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Light for a Laundry Closet http://www.remodelormove.com/light-for-a-laundry-closet/ http://www.remodelormove.com/light-for-a-laundry-closet/#comments Mon, 11 Apr 2016 03:38:13 +0000 http://www.remodelormove.com/?p=15408 My washer and dryer are next to the kitchen in a closet-like space behind bifold doors.  If I had been designing the space, I probably would not have included lighting since it is such a […]

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Laundry room closet light

You will like a light in your laundry area, even if it’s only a closet.

My washer and dryer are next to the kitchen in a closet-like space behind bifold doors.  If I had been designing the space, I probably would not have included lighting since it is such a small space.  However, someone thought of it, and I am glad they did!  In the middle of the day there is enough light from the kitchen overhead fixture and windows that it’s not a problem, but at night it is handy to have the additional lighting.  It also helps me to see what is on the shelves tucked into the corner of the closet.

 

My laundry area has lighting, but what could you do if yours did not?  If you happen to have an outlet in the closet, you have a number of options.  A trip to your local building supply store will show both shop lights and strip lights that can be mounted on the ceiling.  Some are flush mounted and some hang from chains.  You’ll be able to find fixtures in lengths from 1′ to 4′.  In such a small space you will probably want a fixture with only one or two lamps.  Since you won’t have a switch in the closet, you’ll need to find a fixture with a pull chain.  Also, make sure the fixture can be plugged into an outlet; most are designed to be wired directly.

 

If you don’t have an outlet, there are other battery-operated options.  Your trip to the building supply store will show you strip lights and round lights.  Some turn on with a touch, others have a remote control, and still others are motion detectors.  Select the one that meets your needs.

 

My laundry closet also has an exhaust fan.  I don’t think we have ever used it.

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How Do You Like Your Kitchen Sink? http://www.remodelormove.com/how-do-you-like-your-kitchen-sink/ http://www.remodelormove.com/how-do-you-like-your-kitchen-sink/#comments Sun, 10 Apr 2016 22:28:47 +0000 http://www.remodelormove.com/?p=15395 I was visiting the house of a friend of mine recently.  He had done a beautiful kitchen extension and remodel a few years ago.  He enlarged the kitchen itself, put in an island (complete with […]

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Stainless steel, double bowl sink with arched faucet.

Double bowl kitchen sinks with one small bowl are awkward to use.

I was visiting the house of a friend of mine recently.  He had done a beautiful kitchen extension and remodel a few years ago.  He enlarged the kitchen itself, put in an island (complete with it’s own mini-sink and seating), and added a small family room. The area now functions beautifully for his busy family.  However, I am not particularly fond of the kitchen sink that he selected.  It’s a stainless steel sink, which is attractive.  I also like the double bowl.  What I don’t like is the small size of the right-hand bowl.  The family tends to put their dirty dishes in this section.  Because it contains the garbage disposal, these dishes generally have to be removed and set out on the countertop in order to scrape off the food residue. It is possible to put the dirty dishes in the left-hand bowl, but if one is hand washing, it is preferable to have that section clean so the clean dishes can be stacked there prior to rinsing.  Two middle-sized bowls just seem to work better.

I also find that since I am right-handed, I like to wash the dishes in the left bowl and rinse them in the right.  Because of that, I like to have the garbage disposal in the left bowl – just something to think about!

There are several things I do like about this kitchen sink, besides the material.  I like the tall, arching faucet.  This allows the cook to fill and rinse large pots easily.  It also has a removable spray head, which is nice for rinsing out the sink and directing the water flow.  The on-off switch for the garbage disposal is the flat button to the immediate right of the faucet.  This is the first time that I have seen it mounted on the counter rather than on the wall.  With this placement, there is no question about whether it is for the garbage disposal or an under-the-cabinet light.  On the far right is a dispenser for dish soap.  Those I am not so fond of, and many people I know don’t actually use them.  It’s easier to squirt a bit of soap from a bottle directly into the pan rather than to put the pan under the built-in dispenser and give it a pump.

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Summer Shade for a Window http://www.remodelormove.com/summer-shade-for-a-window/ http://www.remodelormove.com/summer-shade-for-a-window/#comments Sun, 10 Apr 2016 20:00:37 +0000 http://www.remodelormove.com/?p=15401 In the house that I am living, there is a large window in the garage.  It works really well for letting in light and because it faces due west, the sun warms the garage up […]

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garage window needing shade

There are different options for creating shade for a window.

In the house that I am living, there is a large window in the garage.  It works really well for letting in light and because it faces due west, the sun warms the garage up nicely in the winter.  In the summer, however, the sun can send the interior temperatures sky high.  There are honeycomb shades mounted on the inside of the window, but they don’t block most of the heat.  So I have been thinking about different ways to create shade for a window from the outside.  Whatever I come up with will have meet two objectives.  First, I want something that will allow the sun to come through in the winter.  Second, I want to keep the costs low because I am renting the place.

 

I have found several options.  There are different kinds of exterior shades I could mount under the eaves.  Roller shades could be pulled up in the winter months so that the sun would shine through.  However, when they are down I’d have to secure the bottom so that they wouldn’t blow in the wind.  While functional, I’m not sure that they would add much to the look of the exterior.

Another thing I thought of was a plant of some sort.  First to come to mind was a smallish tree or a large bush – something that would be just slightly higher than the bottom of the roof when full grown.  (Don’t want leaves in the gutter!)  A deciduous plant would ensure that no leaves block the window in the winter.  My problem with this is that it may take a few years for the plant to gain enough size to shade the window.

 

sunflower-846995_640What I think I have finally settled on is planting a row of tall sunflowers a few feet in front of the window.   Some varieties can  12′ or taller.  They will grow quickly and since they are annuals, will die back in the fall to leave the space in front of the window open.  The sunflowers will add bright green and yellow to this dull looking space, with the addition of providing sunflower seeds in the fall.  A win all the way around!

 

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Heat Pump Water Heater versus Tankless http://www.remodelormove.com/heat-pump-water-heater-versus-tankless/ http://www.remodelormove.com/heat-pump-water-heater-versus-tankless/#comments Sun, 10 Apr 2016 17:29:40 +0000 http://www.remodelormove.com/?p=15387   I chose an electric heat pump water heater for my home after my second story addition and entry remodel for several reasons.   Heat pump water heater versus tankless   1. Tankless would require […]

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heat pump water heater

new heat pump water heater

 

I chose an electric heat pump water heater for my home after my second story addition and entry remodel for several reasons.

 

Heat pump water heater versus tankless

 

1. Tankless would require me to upgrade my entire electrical panel from 200 amp to 300amp or more.  Heat pump water heater only required a 30amp 240 volt breaker and a 3 wire 8 gage wire.

 

2. Tankless requires yearly maintenance from a service tech and that I install a water softener for my hard water.  The heat pump water heater can be maintained DIY and will hold up better to the hardwater.

 

3. PG&E is giving me a $500 rebate on the purchase of a heat pump water heater – there is no rebate for a tankless.

 

4. My favorite part:)!  I can take the cool air from the heat pump exhaust – put a booster on it and use it as AC for one of the two bedrooms in the second floor addition.  We only need cooling a few nights a year in Northern California and the exhaust of the heat pump is nice and cool so with a bit of duct work that cool air can be sent in the existing duct work to the second floor bedroom.

 

5. Long term the energy efficiency of a heat pump water heater and a tankless water heater are close to the same  and the purchase, installation and maintenance cost of the heat pump water heater is less than a tankless for me.

 

6. a gas tankless would have cost less in cost to purchase, install and operate than  the electric heat pump water heater i choose but then I would be paying for and burning natural gas.  As part of my second story addition I installed a 3.6kw photo voltaic solar panel system and that will provide more than enough electricity to operate all the electric devices i have plus run this new hybrid water heater.

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Alternative Wall Decorations http://www.remodelormove.com/alternative-wall-decorations/ http://www.remodelormove.com/alternative-wall-decorations/#comments Sun, 10 Apr 2016 06:56:12 +0000 http://www.remodelormove.com/?p=15363   I was helping my brother to decorate the foyer of his remodeled home.  When he added a second story onto the existing home, he designed a 2-story foyer.  The walls were bare and he […]

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decorate your walls with unique objects

Think outside the box when you are considering wall decorations.

I was helping my brother to decorate the foyer of his remodeled home.  When he added a second story onto the existing home, he designed a 2-story foyer.  The walls were bare and he wanted something welcoming and unusual.  Stored away were a number of obis that they had purchased inexpensively when they were living in Japan.  Obis are the sashes used with traditional kimono outfits.  These were women’s obis, 12 inches wide and at least 13 feet long.  We decided that they would make a dynamic statement if hung diagonally on one of the foyer walls, as well as being out for all to enjoy.

 

We put up two obis to make sure it was the look my brother wanted.  We will be adding a third, above the darker obi, as groups of three are generally more pleasing.  It is in the same color scheme as the lower obi.  We also tried hanging a mirror on top of the obis to break things up a bit.

 

Because I didn’t want to damage the material, I carefully sewed loops of yarn on the backside of the obi, about every 2 feet. I used a neutral color that matched the wall paint because I didn’t want the loops to stand out. The photos below show the loops on the back and front of the obi.  One of the obis was longer than the other; I gently folded back the extra length so that they would appear to be the same size.  Since we were testing out the idea, we just used round headed push pins to mount the obis on the wall.  Other, more finished options would be small brass or copper nails, upholstery tacks, or decorative push pins.

 

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My brother and I used obis for this project because that is what he had on hand.  However, if you would like to duplicate the look, you could use other kinds of sashes or even table runners.  Just remember to think outside the box when you are looking for wall decorations!

 

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Planning Your Refrigerator Placement http://www.remodelormove.com/planning-your-refrigerator-placement/ http://www.remodelormove.com/planning-your-refrigerator-placement/#comments Sun, 10 Apr 2016 06:08:21 +0000 http://www.remodelormove.com/?p=15360 When you remodel your kitchen take some time to think about where you place your refrigerator.  The owners of this older home did just that.   First of all, the refrigerator should be easily accessible […]

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refrigerator placement next to an open countertop

Make sure you have a “landing spot” next to your refrigerator when you remodel.

When you remodel your kitchen take some time to think about where you place your refrigerator.  The owners of this older home did just that.

 

First of all, the refrigerator should be easily accessible for both the cook and those in the house who just want to grab a quick drink or a snack.  In this case, the refrigerator was placed on the right edge of the kitchen.  The cook can get food out and head to the prep area on the left; those who just want a drink can grab it and go without getting in the way.  You also want to make sure there is a “landing spot” – counter space next to the refrigerator where you can place any food that you take out or are getting ready to put in.  So much easier than trying to hold your food AND open the door!

 

Another thing to watch out for is the way the refrigerator door swings.  If you have a single door, as in the photo above, make sure that it opens toward the counter.  It may seem obvious, but I have seen situations where the door swings the other way; that makes getting food in and out of the refrigerator a challenge!  If you remodel or move and find that the door is now backward, you can generally move the hinges and handles around so that it operates correctly.  Check online for directions and how-to videos.  It’s not a difficult task and will make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable.

 

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Clear Drains – Environmentally Friendly http://www.remodelormove.com/clear-drains-environmentally-friendly/ http://www.remodelormove.com/clear-drains-environmentally-friendly/#comments Sat, 09 Apr 2016 19:03:17 +0000 http://www.remodelormove.com/?p=15336 I moved into a rental home recently.  When I took a shower, I found myself standing in several inches of water.  Not a great way to start my day!  So I dried off and headed […]

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clear drains in the sink, tub, and shower in your bathroom

This inexpensive plastic tool will help you clear drains in your bathroom.

I moved into a rental home recently.  When I took a shower, I found myself standing in several inches of water.  Not a great way to start my day!  So I dried off and headed to my local hardware store to find an environmentally friendly product to clear drains in my bathroom.  What the employee suggested was the interesting tool shown in the photograph above.

 

It’s a thin piece of plastic, 20″ long, with barbs on the sides.  You push it down the drain and pull up all that nasty gunk that has caused the clog.  It’s a mixture of hair and soap and whatever else you put down the drain.  The woman who had rented the house before me had long hair and that had created a mega-clog.  I had to run the tool down the drain several times to catch all of the mess.  It helps to run a bit of boiling water down the drain first to loosen up the mass of soap, and have a stack of paper towels to clean the gunk off the tool once you have pulled it out of the drain.  No damage to your pipes and it costs less than $5!

 

While you are working on your drains, try a combination of vinegar and baking soda to clean things out.  Good for the environment, your wallet, and your septic system!  Start by pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain, followed by a 1/2 cup of baking soda.  Wait a couple of minutes, then mix 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup boiling water.  Pour this mixture down the drain, cover with the drain plug if there is one, and let it do it’s thing for 10 minutes.  The vinegar and baking soda react to cause a volcano of bubbles that will loosen up all the sludge in the pipe.  Finish up by pouring one more pot of boiling water down the drain and you should be good to go!  This will work for all of your bathroom drains – sink, tub, or shower.

 

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