Change Your Light Bulbs to LED

Gene and Katie Hamilton

The ENERGY STAR program recently released a study about LED (light-emitting diode) lighting saying that American consumers are about to experience a game-changer in the way they light their homes. LED bulbs will become the dominant light bulb technology lighting homes within the next three years. Once thought to be a lighting technology only for early adopters willing to pay top dollar, LED bulbs are now a possibility for the average consumer, with prices hovering around $2 per bulb across the country, and as low as $1 or less in many areas. Using less energy, the bulbs pay for themselves in a matter of months, and can save households $50-$100 per year in utility costs.

LED bulbs will see widespread adoption by 2020 in significant part because of utility programs across the country continuing to rebate the bulbs and educate consumers about their energy efficiency.

Despite the tremendous savings opportunity, many Americans have yet to experience the LED difference in their own homes. Less than 30% of U.S. light bulb sales in 2016 were LED. And according to a report by ORC International, a marketing form, most consumers have little knowledge about the various light bulb options available to them. With the average American home containing approximately 50 light sockets, and about 60% of them still containing an inefficient bulb, the opportunities for energy savings are huge.

Energy saving alternatives to the familiar incandescent bulb have been around since the 1980s, but none of them have brought on a massive evolution in the lighting market. Compact florescent bulbs (CFLs) proved the most successful, but early performance concerns made widespread adoption a hard sell for many consumers.

LED bulbs have faced their own challenges, in particular suffering from limitations affecting brightness and light distribution. But bulbs that have earned the government-backed ENERGY STAR label are independently certified, undergoing extensive testing to ensure that they perform as promised, saving energy, delivering on brightness, and working the way consumers expert.

Bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR use 70-90% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and last at least 15 times longer. The ENERGY STAR program is betting that as more and more consumers learn about the benefits of this technology, they will see the light and join the LED revolution.

Learn more at And visit to learn the cost of these energy-wise improvements.

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Family Christmas Crossword Puzzle

A137Enjoying some quality time with the kids while you wait for Santa to arrive?  Here’s a word teaser to work with the kids, either online or print out copies and work with a pencil. It’s your call, either way, enjoy being with the kids this holiday season. Home for the Holidays

Visit us to find lots more puzzles and the cost of hundreds of home improvement projects at Do It Yourself or Not.

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Walkaround Your Home To Do List

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Thanksgiving Crossword Puzzle to Work with Family and Friends

iA279Tired of watching football games? Are the kids looking bored and need a little quality time with you? Check out our Thanksgiving crossword puzzle and work it with them. It’s an enjoyable exercise to baffle and befuddle that you can print out and work with a pencil or go interactive and work it out online. Turkey Time

Wherever you are we hope you enjoy the holiday with loved ones.

And visit for more puzzles and to compare the cost of home improvements so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor.

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Not Pretty, But Practical – Build Utility Shelves

If you have a less-than-organized garage or basement, you can feel better about the clutter by adding shelves to line the walls and store all your stuff. We like using Strong-Tie metal connectors with ready-to-cut sheets of plywood to make sturdy utility shelves. They won’t win a beauty contest but they’re a practical solution to getting organized.

A handyman or carpenter will charge $220 to build a 4-foot-wide, six-shelf unit. If you have basic carpentry skills, you can build it for $100, the cost of the materials, and save 54 percent. Plan to precut the lumber first and make your cuts accurate and square. With 264 screws to drive, you’ll almost certainly want an electric screwdriver or drill/driver. You also need a tape measure, framing square, handsaw, miter box or a circular saw, square/saw guide, hammer, sanding block and sawhorses.

The first phase of the project involves cutting 2×2 lumber into legs and rails and then cutting plywood into shelves. Then sand all the pieces. Lay out the shelf connectors, creating a rigid shelf so there’s no need for diagonal bracing. Assemble the pieces last by attaching the legs, rails and shelves. For extra stability, fasten the unit to the wall.

Go to for more project ideas with plans and instructions.

To find more DIY and contractor project costs, videos and calculators, visit on a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

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How Much to Reface, Not Replace Cabinets?

Refacing is an alternative to replacing kitchen cabinets that’s less costly because it uses the existing cabinets and adds a new laminate surface to their base, fronts, sides and doors. It’s a good choice if the cabinets are in sound condition, provide the storage space you want and are located to make the most of your kitchen layout. The job typically involves a laminate veneer being applied to the cabinet bases, doors and drawer fronts, and installing new hardware.

In a medium-sized kitchen with 15 feet of base and wall cabinets a contractor will charge $8,150 to reface the cabinets, which includes labor and material. It does not include new countertops. You can do the job for $650, the cost of the material and pocket a big savings. The job starts with removing the cabinet doors, drawer fronts and hardware. Then the detail work begins. It’s a tedious precision job that includes preparing the surfaces and using specialized veneering rollers, blades and irons to apply the veneer. Despite the big DIY savings we think it’s a job best left to a pro.

To find more DIY and contractor project costs, videos and calculators, visit on a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

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Home To Do Checklist for November


The end of the year is not far behind and so is a change in the weather. If the temperatures is changing to cooler and colder where you live, it’s a good idea to prepare for winter weather. The items for this month combine 7 basic cleaning jobs and inspections with specific suggestions for cold weather climates. If you live in a warm climate it’s still a good idea to look at these items especially the ones at the top of the list which will assure your heating and cooling system will work to peak capacity.  If you live in warmer climate, forget about those items specific to cold weather and concentrate on making your home clean and comfortable.

*** Replace filters in heating system and humidifier because dirty filters trap dust

*** Clean carpeting, upholstered furniture and draperies

*** Plug air leaks in siding or foundation with spray foam insulation

*** Insulate crawlspace walls

*** Inspect exterior lights and outlets

*** Mark driveway with stakes for snow

*** Tune up snow shovel and snowblower

If you’re considering a home improvement visit us at to find cost comparisons for hundreds of projects and compare how much it costs to do it yourself vs. hire a contractor for the job.

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