Friday, November 28, 2014

Christmas Lights

When I was a kid I always wanted to put lights on our house at Christmas but my parents would never do it. They put a tree up and such but it was pretty much only inside. I always swore when I owned a house I would put up lights. When Jenny and I bought our first house in 2006 I started out small, with a few strings of lights along the front edge of the roof and around the front porch.

Our old house in 2006.

Every year I added to it and by our last Christmas there I had a more elaborate display with far more lights and a few inflatables and a lighted deer in the yard as well. It was never enough to qualify for the local Tacky Lights Tour but it was more than anyone else in our neighborhood put up.

Even while our new house was under construction I could already envision it's potential. From the time we moved in I looked forward to putting lights for Christmas. I started a few weeks ago and made more than a few "one more trip" visits to Walmart, Target, etc to pick up additional lights. Part of the problem was everything I had for both lights and extension cords was based around the measurements of our old house and I had to adapt everything to much different dimensions of the new one. Below is what I've come up with. It's no where near full on Clark Griswold but it's the biggest display in the neighborhood. And I'm already thinking about next year including buying a new extension ladder so I can reach the top of the house.

It really needs to be seen in person as the photo doesn't really do it justice. But I'm really happy with how it turned out. I may be adding a few more in the coming weeks as well especially if I can catch a decent sale. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014


With the weather getting colder it's time to do a bit of winterization around the house to prevent problems later.

A few weeks ago I had the company that installed our irrigation system out to shut it down until spring. There wasn't much to it. The technician that came out ran an air hose from a tow-behind air compressor to a valve under the house and blew air through the lines to clear them out. Had we received a frost while water was present in the lines it could have caused them to crack. I'll have to get the company back out in the spring to open it back up and adjust the sprinkler heads.

With a frost warning scheduled for tomorrow morning I also took a few precautions to keep the pipes underneath the house from freezing. The main thing is closing the crawl space vents. I also ran out to Lowe's this afternoon and picked up two styrofoam covers for the outside spigots. They're on a drawstring that fits over the handle and then tightens to form a seal against the side of the house. At $3/each it's cheap insurance against having to repair a frozen pipe.

Crawlspace vent closed and spigot covered.

The last thing I did this weekend was to adjust the dampers in the attic to change the airflow. Like I referenced in this post from over the summer, in the winter time the downstairs damper needs to be wide open while the two for upstairs upstairs need to be half closed. Since heat rises this directs more airflow downstairs.