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Smart Meters

Called such because the spike in amount of your monthly bill will make you *smart*.

Very straightforward installation, about 10 minutes. Almost plug & play.

Electric starts from zero, and cycles through several readings including current consumption and total.

Gas retains the current reading.

Unfortunately, the readings mean diddly-squat because now we’re paying twice as much per month!

Hiring a Building Contractor


Wednesday’s presentation at the Willow Glen Branch Library by Dan Mackey, past president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, was very informative. He gave us a list of steps to take before signing a remodeling contract.

Your choice of contractor can make a big difference. You don’t want someone who is never there to supervise the work; just hands it off to his day laborers.

For instance, when adding a room to your home, after the foundation’s been dug, you might find it aggravating to have hired someone who has no care about construction except getting paid.

Yes, the job will probably take longer than expected, and you might have to supervise everything closely. The contractor could hand the job over to a lesser, who will hand it down to a lesser, etc.  At one point you might find the trash pickup guy down in your basement by himself with a power saw, having been assigned to cut a water line which is still filled with water. It will make a mess.

Plan to evacuate one evening when they break the valve to the main gas line. Later, watch in horror as they remove and plug a gas line in your basement without turning off the gas first.

There are things that get installed upside down, and things that get ignored.

The building process need not be stressful, however, if you don’t short shrift the selection process.

Make sure to especially contact their LATEST, FINISHED job. An unprovided reference is NOT a good reference.

Good luck with your construction.

Q: How does a tankless water heater save energy?

A: It forces you to get used to using cold water!

Cross your eyes for a stereo view!

Sure, once you are in the shower, there is hot water forever.  But, if you have the habit of tapping the tank or flicking the faucet for that quick spurt of hot water to brush your teeth, wash your hands, rinse off a dish or cup, FORGET IT!  Hot water is just no longer there for you the way it used to be.

We will adjust to it.  It’s not that bad; probably a good thing in the long run.

Another major advantage to tank-less is that the old large tank holding gallons of hot water, and aging ever nearer to its moment of structural failure, is no longer in our basement waiting to burst forth and soak all the old books and magazines we’ve stored down there next to it.  (Now there’s room to store more books!)