12/31/2013: 5 home improvements for under $25

Circle up gang for the last blog post of 2013.  Below is a list of 5 ways you can improve your home for under 25 USDs.

1.) Install stainless steel washer hoses.  Such a no-brainer I can’t even stand it.  Rubber hoses have a very high failure rate — like me in high school.   When they fail, they cause catastrophic water damage in your basement.  (Unlike failing Algebra 2 which caused no catastrophic damage whatsoever, Mom & Dad!)  If you have rubber hoses that burst, everyone on the street will know it because of the dumpster in your driveway filled with drywall & carpet.  Also, I will probably blog about it.

Stainless steel hoses have a burst-resistant design and will automatically shut the valve if water pressure becomes too high.  Hoses take 5 minutes to install.  Don’t let this be you.

flooded B

2.) Install a carbon monoxide detector.  I’m a big fan of Staying Alive…

staying alive

and CO detectors help you do that!  Sure they only make a loud beeping noise and don’t sound as good as the Bee Gees.  But the point is staying aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive…

3.) Upgrade your kitchen & bathroom electrical outlets to GFCI.  GF say whhhat?

say what

Quit playin.  You know GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.   GFCI outlets shut off an electric circuit when water is detected.  Helps prevent electrical shocks around bath tubs and sinks.  The most common thing I see on home inspections is owners needing to upgrade to GFCI.  Here’s what they look like:


4.) Change your HVAC filters.  If you have a forced-air heating system, you should be changing your filter every month.  If you’re not, just let me know and I can wear a SARS mask next time I come over.

HVAC filter

5.) Install LED lightbulbs.  LEDs will only save you a few bucks a year in energy costs but can last 10-25 times longer than your grandfather’s incandescent lightbulb.  Produces 75% less heat too.


12/23/2013: A Christmas poem

A Christmas wish from my home to yours:

May your home be energy efficient:

Your walls be insulated, your windows tight

Heating bills low, thermostats set just right.

May your renovations go smoothly:

Your contractors on budget and on time

Parking their trucks in front of your house — not in front of mine.

May our water table stay low:

Basements keep dry and free of rain

Management already made me spend $6,500 on a french drain!

May your old home need few repairs:

AC to keep pumpin, another year before the boiler dies

Just when you think the writing couldn’t be any worse — Merry Christmas you guys!

142 randlett xmas

12/11/2013: What the hell happened during the winter of 2011?

This blog was supposed to be about all the money I’m saving on my gas bill after insulating and hooking up a Nest thermostat.  Therms down, savings up.  A real feel good blog.

Then I reviewed my heating bills for the past 2 years.  In 2011, I had MONTHLY heating bills of $438, $489 & $426.  (I realize that all caps is like yelling and I am like yelling at the computer screen right now).  What was going on with me?  I mean seriously — $489 in January?  Close the windows bro.

According to Management, we had a baby that winter.  This explains a lot.  Like why the thermostat was set at 85 all winter and I did nothing about it.  If you’ve had kid(s), you know what kinda fog babies put you in.  You also know that if your wife sets the thermostat at 85, you leave it alone.  You don’t even look at it.

These huge heating bills were pre-insulation & Nest.  Since installing both, we’re saving about 20% on our gas bill each month.  Our November 2013 gas bill ($145) was significantly lower than 2012 ($208).  The heat automatically adjusts to 67 during the day and 65 at night.  If we’re gone for several hours during the day, Nest will adjust itself lower.

Just trying to save a few USDs you guys.  Maybe keep the kids warm too.


In 20 years, the EPA will probably decide this stuff is toxic and a danger to our children.

12/2/2013: Cupcake thief in Newton

Putting out an APB for a bald, white male last seen wearing a black hoodie and stealing cupcakes at the Tedeschi’s on Washington Street.  The suspect, who store employees say is a regular, has been shoplifting from the Hostess Cupcake rack.

Newton Po do not consider the suspect a threat, unless you are a cupcake.  If seen, please call 911.  DO NOT try and apprehend the suspect.  Current whereabouts unknown — probably creepin on more cupcakes.

Not trying to alarm you guys, but this guy could strike anywhere/anytime.  Whole Foods, Keltic Krust, anywhere they make or sell cupcakes.  Be aware of your surroundings.  If you are in possession of cupcake(s) watch your six.

Tell you one thing: I’ll sleep a lot easier once this SOB is behind bars.  Or at least fined for shoplifting.  Stay safe.