Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Installation of Motion Sensor Lights in Anticipation of Halloween

My Home is now Protected and Secured from Midnight Goblins

By Mark J. Donovan

Over this past weekend I installed motion sensor lights on the exterior of my home. The old conventional lights had been looking a little drab and long in the tooth, so I thought in anticipation of Halloween this coming weekend, it was a good time to replace them.

Motion sensor lights are great for providing additional security to your home. Though an exterior light cannot prevent an intruder from entering your house it can give them pause when the lights flash on. Typically that pause is long enough to make them think twice before burglarizing your home. In addition, motion sensor lights are convenient for automatically lighting up the walk way for would-be trick-or-treaters, and keeping the teenagers away from the pumpkins after midnight.

The motion sensor lights were very easy to install. They have the same wires as do conventional light fixtures. The only real issue I had was adapting the mounting brackets to the electrical boxes, and this issue was more about the boxes than the light fixtures themselves.

After installing the motion sensor lights I put them in “Test mode” and set their sensitivity level to a range of about 50 feet from the house. I did this to prevent passing street traffic from accidently trigger the lights. After adjusting the sensitivity level I put them back in “Normal mode” and that was it.

So hopefully this Halloween weekend will be free of any teenage midnight goblins searching for pumpkins.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 Releases its New "Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid Sheet"

By Mark Donovan announced today its new "Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid Sheet".

Fall is a great time for putting in a new asphalt driveway. If you are considering putting in a new driveway, this bid sheet will quickly teach you what you need to know for hiring a paving contractor that will install a quality driveway.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Top Two Home Remodeling Projects

Home Remodeling Projects that offer High ROIs and Improve Living Standards

By Mark J. Donovan

The top two home remodeling projects are bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects. Why you say? Well first, they provide excellent returns on investment. Most future home buyers love to see updated kitchens and bathrooms, and are willing to pay for them. So normally you can expect to recover most of the costs of your kitchen or bathroom remodeling project within a year of completing them.

The second reason why bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects rank one and two, respectively, is that they make us feel better. Let’s face it, all of us enjoy feeling good and kitchens and bathrooms are two spaces we normally do enjoy. Kitchens and bathrooms are places we spend a lot of our free time in and they have effectively become our two sanctuaries from the day to day turmoil of our busy lifestyles.

So if you are contemplating a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project, fear not, you will be making a good decision on either of these two projects. Both make excellent financial and personal decisions.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Housing Market is Still a Couple of Years away from a Rebound

Home Sales Fall Again in August

By Mark J. Donovan

Well after some improving home sales data in July it appears the home sales market is still in uncertain waters. The latest home sales report that came out from the National Association of Home Realtors earlier this month indicated that home sales fell in August by 2.7% from the previous month. In addition, the report indicated that the median sales price on existing homes fell to $177.7K, down 12.5% from August, 2008.

The home sales decline was pretty much universal throughout the country with the exception in the west where home sales increased by 2.7%. And though the total inventory of homes on the market fell a little to 10.8%, based on the current sales pace there is still an 8.5 month supply of homes on the market.

All of this news is discouraging, but quite frankly not surprising. With unemployment at 9.8%, and 17% if you count the folks that are no longer eligible to collect unemployment benefits, or have found only part time work, or have quit looking altogether it is no wonder why home sales and median home sale prices continue to drop.

Though I am optimistic in the long term, I believe the next 1-2 years will continue to show sluggish home sales. For one, it will take that long for the unemployment picture to significantly improve, assuming that we are indeed at the cusp of crawling out of the biggest recession since the great depression of the 1930’s. I also believe, that the American public will demand another “political change” in 2010 that will result in a balanced government agenda that will ultimately improve the emotions and spending habits of the consumer. Consumer spending and small business success are the two engines that will eventually turn the economy and the housing market around. When these engines begin to fire on all cylinders the housing market should begin to enter its next bull market.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

New Videos on Wiring a Combination Switch Outlet Circuit

By Mark J. Donovan

A visitor at recently asked how to wire a combination switch outlet circuit. After sending him instructions on how to do it, I thought I would create a couple of new videos on wiring up a combination switch outlet. One video shows how to wire a switch outlet where the switch controls both an external appliance and the outlet. The second video shows how to wire a combination switch outlet so that the outlet is constantly powered on.

See the videos below:

Switch Outlet Combo Circuit where Switch Controls an External Appliance and the Outlet

Switch Outlet Combo Circuit with Outlet Constantly Powered

Friday, October 02, 2009

Pressure Wash House Siding

By Mark J. Donovan

Weather permitting, tomorrow I plan to pressure wash my house siding to prepare it for painting. Though I have a gas powered pressure washer that does a fantastic job, it is a tedious and wet project. I typically pressure wash my house siding every fall to remove the grime and grit from the home. Though the results are excellent, I find having to drag all of the pressure washer hoses around to be the biggest pain in the neck, particularly when I have to go constantly up and down the ladder to free tangles.

Since I plan on painting the house this fall, I also plan on removing the house shutters, and pressure washing them on the ground, and then painting them.

If I get can stay reasonably dry, I will film the project and post it on