Okay, here are three quick items. I also provided a full list of everything I can think of (many are not quick at all!) just in case you're interested. Thanks and Happy New Year to the wonderful crew of "friends" that I've enjoyed for many years!
- Install a pump to bring warm water to fixtures faster but without wasting any water down the drain! (Such as http://www.chilipepperapp.com/)
- Install a shower control that lets me specify the exact temperature that I want via a control knob. I've seen these available from major manufacturers. This will get me the right temp each time. I won't have to fiddle with the temp during the first few minutes of the shower to keep temps right as colder and colder water comes through the cold water line and warmer and warmer water comes through the hot water line. (Such as http://www.groheamerica.com/t/25_20727.html)
- Have recently replaced some windows with new energy efficient ones. Do not yet have window "shades" for those. Most windows in house use mini-blinds. Try using honeycomb-style shades to see how they compare. Might even save a little energy! But new windows are shallower than old windows. Would I lose the energy benefit if I surface mount them? Would they scuff up the front of the window trim?
All the rest:
- Finish painting living room and two bedrooms (includes removing calcimine from both bedroom ceilings prior to painting, fixing up many many hair-line cracks in one outside wall).
- Replace existing, aging roof shingles (asphalt/fiberglass?) with a green alternative -- preferably EnergyStar certified and both recycled and recyclable, maybe metal? Is there a way to recycle the existing roof shingles? Is there something that can be used to provide a better thermal break between the new shingles and the rafters beneath then -- surely conventional sheathing doesn't do much!
- Replace aging oil furnace (and A/C) with a more efficient one -- installed around 1991 so both new heat and new A/C would probably much more efficient now. Seal ducts, perhaps using "that" aerosol technique I've heard about, but which doesn't seem to be available in New England?
- Finish adding insulation to basement walls, keeping mold issues, drying, etc., in mind. Inspect existing basement walls to see if the # of dead bugs behind them walls exceeds the number of stars in our galaxy.
- Convert a short, cement-bottomed crawl space to a conditioned space. There is ductwork there, and the space is somewhat open to the rest of the basement at all times. Converting to conditioned seems to be a bit more typical these days, and might keep the room above (as well as the nearby basement area) warmer.
- Replace existing 1.6 GPF toilet with a dual-flush unit to save several hundred gallons a year.
- The air in the space behind the knee walls of 2nd floor bedroom in my Cape is quite strange. As soon as the sun hits that area in the winter the humidity shoots way up! I think I must have some major air flow into that area. Have been slowly pulling out the blown-in cellulose insulation so that I can start to see what's under it. I've been using caulk and/or foam to fill gaps. Have also been rewiring power that goes through that area since it's all original mid-40s wiring with a cloth cover that's slowly breaking away.
- I installed a chimney-top damper to reduce air leakage over the old metal one in the throat. How can I determine if there is still any remaining air leakage? Since the chimney is on an outside wall, how can I determine how much heat loss is taking place? Should I bother to install a fireplace cover? I do not use that fireplace for heat; it's just a plain old fireplace that I use once or twice a year for aesthetic purposes. It had no glass front, but just a metal sliding screen.
- Replace insulation in attic roof (20" on center 2x8 rafters with 1" of fiberglass from the 40s/50!) with a green alternative that will meet existing building codes. (Icynene probably won't be good enough, but the "blue" spray foam may be.)
- Install solar hot water system on roof to reduce electric usage and to help green up the whole planet. (I've already got some PV on the roof but DHW seems to be a better use for solar energy -- shorter ROI.)
- Had had 1/2 of the wood floors in the house refinished while was away on extended vacation. Need to do the other half now.
- Do something about cracked cement driveway and front walk, maybe replacing with a more friendly surface? (Yes, the cracks are mostly due to nearby maple roots, but a few on the driveway are due to winter salt from "fenderbergs".)
- "Lawn" in sloped back yard is in dreadful shape. Earth is uneven in addition to being sloped. This area used to be very shaded but with unexpected fall of the old oak tree, there is now a bit more sunlight back there. How can I keep up with watering such a large area? Multiple sprinkles of some sort?
- Do those fancy metal gutters with covers really work? I'm afraid that any debris that DOES get in there will be impossible to get out. Also, birds and squirrels sometimes drink water and eat bugs out of my gutters. It seems like my open gutters are helping them out, doesn't it?
- Write to decorating shows to ask why they don't use CFL bulbs in the appropriate fixtures.
Phew! That's it!
Bill in RI!