Ask This Old House TV // Season 12 // Episode 25

Ask TOH | Task Lights, Concrete

Electrician Scott Caron replaces outdated fluorescent undercabinet lights with new LED fixtures. Roger and Kevin demonstrate how to work with concrete. Richard teaches Tom about the potential energy savings of temperature setbacks on thermostats.

Undercabinet Task Lighting
Scott Caron replaces outdated fluorescent undercabinet lights with new LED fixtures. He also adds convenient undercabinet outlets, including a USB outlet for charging phones and tablets.

Scott installed the Pro-Series LED Undercabinet Fixture, manufactured by the Juno Lighting Group, which is available at specialty lighting stores.

The dimmer switch that is designed to work with LED fixtures is the C-L Dimmer, manufactured by Lutron and available at home centers.

The undercabinet outlets with standard and USB receptacles is Plugmold Multi-Outlet Strips, manufactured by Legrand.

Back in the workshop, Scott demonstrated some innovative USB options, including a USB adapter for a power tool battery manufactured by Dewalt and USB outlets manufactured by Leviton.

Scott also showed some LED replacement lamps, which are all available at home centers and hardware stores.

Expert assistance with this project was provided by Caron Electric and Wolfers Lighting.

What Is It?
Richard presents a metal and plastic device with feet and the guys try to guess its intended use.

Where to find it?
Richard demonstrated the BioLite camp stove, which burns kindling and can charge a cell phone.

Concrete 101
Roger and Kevin demonstrate ways to work with concrete.

Where to find it?
Roger teaches the differences between different masonry materials. Portland cement is added to many other mixes. Concrete is a mix of sand, stone, and Portland cement. A mortar mix is made of Portland cement, sand, and lime, and is used for bricks and stones above ground. Below ground, he uses a cement mix of Portland cement and sand.

Roger showed how to mix concrete by combining 3-parts sand, 2-parts stone (sometimes called aggregate), and 1-part Portland cement in a wheelbarrow. A power mixer can be rented.

Once the concrete is added to a form, Roger uses a trowel to smooth off the top, or he uses a push broom to add a slip resistant finish. He then uses an edger to round off the edge of the concrete, and then uses a groover to create a controlled joint for the concrete to crack.

Masonry materials and tools are available at home centers and masonry supply stores.

Expert assistance with this project was provided by Martignetti Enterprises, Inc..

Thermostat Setbacks
Richard and Tom discuss whether or not setting back a thermostat saves energy and money

Where to find it?
In most circumstances, thermostat setbacks will save energy. However, there are a few situations in which setbacks may not make sense, including heat pumps with electric resistance back-up, radiant systems with long recovery times, and homes with very tight building envelopes.

For more information, visit:

Expert assistance with this project was provided by Nest Labs.

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