Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Energy Star

What better day to think about energy consumption?  With today's projected high -3 (-35 wind chill) my furnace is working overtime to keep us comfortable.

We made it through Christmas without a huge jump in energy use and still came in 3rd place with our exterior lights. 

We've also made many energy improvements in the recent years,  but or utility bill still shows us as less efficient than our neighbors. Grrrr

One thing we haven't been willing to do is change from incandescent to CFL light bulbs.  There are many reasons we don't like CFL bulbs. Now there are LED and they are much more similar to incandescent. They operate outside in our extreme cold, instant brightness when the switch is flipped, more traditional appearance, no mercury, and the deal breaker available in soft white. Yes those warm amber tones trump the blue and green tones in our house. 

Sam's Club was running a special and the utility company was offering 50% rebate so I decided to switch out our most used fixtures. 

2 farthest are LED. You can see that they are brighter,
but the color is the same.
I was surprised by how big of a difference those few lights made! They are brighter, cheaper, supposedly last 20 years, and look the same, I am sold.  Going forward I will be replacing any broken bulb with a new LED. I even picked up 16 strings LED Christmas lights on sale. I got such great deals on those after Christmas that I got 100% rebate from the utility company on most of them! I have already gotten rid of most of the old strings, and will hopefully replace the remaining next year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dust Bunnies

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner for Smiley360 . All opinions are 100% mine.
**You can get a $3 off coupon here to try it too!

Now that the carpet is finally gone, I'm constantly dusting my floor. After 2 months I'm getting closer to finding that sweet spot for keeping it clean. 

As the flooring guys were finishing up I got an email from Smiley360 asking if I wanted to try a free sample of Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner. Not wanting to do anything that would damage my newly refurbished floor I consulted my flooring guy.  He recommended against several brands that I knew and thought would be good, so I didn't want to take a chance on this brand I hadn't heard of.

He had high praise for Bona. It's the only brand he recommends and uses at his home. So I logged in and accepted the mission. Within a week I had a package of wet floor cleaning pads.
Daily dust  (That's what kids, a dog and fireplace cause daily)

For now my method is to dry Microfiber Cleaning Pad most days for general dust. I use the wet Bona cloths every week or so to keep the shine and remove any lingering shoe residue. When the Bona disposable cloths are gone, I will purchase Bona cleaner and use it with washable covers going forward. I like to avoid creating extra trash.

Sparkly and Clean

The product is good. It cleans without leaving a residue and doesn't make the floors dangerously slippery. Overall I am just so glad to have the carpet gone. My allergies and asthma are so much better!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Phase 2

It's been a long time since I last updated you on my sneaky, sneaky living room floor upgrade. Mostly because I've been distracted and waiting for My Vet to be gone for a week.

My Vet doesn't like living in mid-construction so I try to wait. Additionally, My Vet hasn't seemed convinced this flooring project should be completed. One evening after the kids went to bed, we started talking about how the carpet needed to be cleaned again. This led to a discussion on how the 15 year old couch needs to go,  and how nice it would be to have an inexpensive rug that could just be replaced. During our drawn out conversation My Vet posed a question to his social media account and within a few minutes was conversing with a local floor refinisher and had a bid that fit our budget! I quickly ordered a new rug and removed the old carpet so he couldn't change his mind.
Not the best but you can see my patchwork around the edges.

Sure we could have rented the equipment and done it ourselves, but the cost of rental and supplies wasn't that much different than the bid from TNT Sanding and Flooring.

As avid DIY'ers you know we aren't easily intimidated and usually prefer to save the $$. We always try to think a project all the way through as well as weigh the pros and cons before diving in. This time, hiring out was the best decision. 

My helper was a bit nervous and wouldn't leave
my side after the furniture left the room.
While we were able to accomplish other things, the team from TNT spent 6 hours with multiple machines, sheets of sandpaper, and sweat just sanding. About hour 4 I knew that I would have said "good enough" so I know they got much better results than I would have. Reason #1 why hiring TNT was financially smart.
Looking Pretty!

I had originally planned on just sealing so the floors would be light in color, but My Vet wanted a dark stain.  Ultimately, I wanted the carpet gone more than any color. After looking at half a dozen stains non seemed right.  TNT kept looking and brought back a color that both My Vet and I loved! (Reason 2) 

The entire project took 3 days plus a week of dry time before I could move in the new rug. I know it would have taken me a lot longer than 3 days to finish (Reason 3)

This is after 3 hours of sanding. They got the rest of that bruising out!
It is not considered to be a "dustless" process, but they taped of the room and vacuumed 3 1/2 large bags of sand dust that were removed from the house. There was a thin layer of dust on surfaces in the living room, and no more than usual in the rest of the house!  On my own I would have had a week of deep cleaning the rest of the house!  (Reason 4)

It's been almost 2 months and I love it even more!  I dust more now,  but all of that was just hiding in the carpet before. The house smells so much better too. I still have some trim work to do when I can work outside again next summer, so I'll share those steps with you then. For now I'm enjoying my beautiful new to me living room.

Lets go way back and show you how much has changed.