One of our garage door openers died of old age recently – it was an old builder-model (in other words, as cheap as the builder can get) chain drive opener that was incredibly noisy. I took advantage of the opportunity to reduce the noise made by the garage door opener and the door itself especially since there is a room of the house above the garage.
Here’s what I did in order of increasing cost and effort:
- Oil the hinges, springs, pulley bolts, etc of the door. I used standard household oil (don’t use WD-40, it is technically not a lubricant). Don’t mess with the springs – it is dangerous, only trained technicians should adjust springs. (more info)
- Replace metal door rollers with nylon rollers. I bought two 10-packs of these nylon rulers.
- Install vibration isolators between the garage door opener and the ceiling. I used the RSIC-GDS Motor Kit from PAC International.
- Replace the noisy garage door opener with a quiet opener. I bought a Sommer Direct Drive garage door opener which is very quiet. I’ve also read good things about the LiftMaster 3800 Residential Jackshaft Opener.
After making all of the above changes, we believe the garage doors are about 75% quieter than before!
Hope this helps someone!
I upgraded our server to Fedora 16 from Fedora 14 recently, so I thought I’d continue my tradition of posting the solutions to the problems I encountered to help others.
Two major changes in Fedora recently increased the difficulty of this upgrade: the switch to grub2 from the grub legacy bootloader, and the switch to systemd from Upstart and SysV-style init.
I used the PreUpgrade method once again to reduce downtime and avoid burning a disc.
References to read first:
- How to use PreUpgrade
- Common Fedora 16 bugs
Melissa from Hunters Chase pointed out that Cycled Plastics in Austin recycles foam products, which are not taken and recycled as part of the single stream recycling from the City of Austin and Texas Disposal Services.
From their website at http://www.cycledplastics.com/Services.html :
Public Drop Off Site: Cycled Plastics maintains a public drop point at it’s facility in Austin (at 10200 McKalla Place). The following items are accepted Monday through Friday, 7am – 5pm. (click here for a map)
- Packaging Foams free of dirt or food contamination (EPS #6, PP #5, LDPE #4)
- #2 HDPE curbside bottles that have been rinsed with caps removed
- #1 PET curbside bottles that have been rinsed with the caps removed
- #2 HDPE flower pots that have been lightly washed to remove most of the dirt
- #4 LDPE bags that have had no food contact and have no paper contamination (labels, stickers)
At the Chevy Volt test drive, waiting in line…
Another good opinion article on CNN, this one by John Avlon advocating voters rejecting hyper-partisan candidates.
via Voters should fire Bachmann, Grayson – CNN.com.
A great quote: “We need to stand up to the extremes on both sides to stop the cycle of incitement before it gets even uglier.”
I try not to define myself as liberal or conservative – but some of the fear-mongering and end-of-the-world fatalism being used in this election cycle is inappropriate and ultimately destructive, rather than constructive and adding value to the debate.
David Frum has a good opinion article on CNN about it –
We’re not on a ‘road to serfdom’ – CNN.com.
Lisa and I recently went on the Austin Cool House Tour co-sponsored by the Texas Solar Energy Society and Austin Energy Green Building.
We realized the efficiency retrofits to our home were pretty similar to what we saw on the tour, so for fun I thought I’d write up the green feature list of our house in the same format as used by the tour book.
Spangler Home – Northwest Austin
Built as a traditional non-green building, this Austin home has been retrofitted for energy efficiency and simple but high-tech living.
Owners: Lisa and Jason Spangler
Solar PV: Texas Solar Power Company
- 10KW grid-tied solar photovoltaic array
- Whole-home energy monitor (TED 5000).
- White reflective metal roof (Sheffield Metals CoolR Solar White Galvalume – Reflectivity 0.68, Emissivity 0.85, SRI 82, 25% recycled content, 100% recyclable – installed by Southwest Metal Roofing Systems).
- Level 2 EVSE (electric vehicle car charger) and a Chevy Volt range-extended electric car
- Lawn replaced with native plant and prairie garden which requires almost no supplemental watering. Crushed granite and limestone paths allow water penetration. Mature trees provide shade.
- R-38 insulation in attic with R-8 ductwork. R-9 garage door insulation.
- 1 gpm low-flow showerheads (from New Braunfels-based Bricor). Shut-off values on showers for optional Navy shower.
- Solar screens on all windows.
- Energy Star appliances from the highest CEE efficiency tier (dishwasher, refrigerator, clothes washer and dryer). Energy Star electronics.
- 19 SEER multi-zoned HVAC system with variable speed motor and fan coils, and programmable thermostats.
- All lighting is CFL or LED. (LED fishtank and main kitchen lighting reduces energy usage of most-used lights.)
- High efficiency aerodynamic ceiling fans with timed remotes throughout. (Gossamer Wind fans)
- Masonry and fiber cement siding and trim (Hardiboard).
- Ethernet networking (Cat6) and high speed Internet connection enables telecommuting to save energy and reduce emissions. Energy-efficient computers. Notebook and Home theater systems that sleep when not in use.
- Weather station (Davis Vantage Pro2 Plus)
- Easy access to transportation – bike lanes, public transportation (bus stop 0.4 miles away), two light rail stations nearby (4.0 and 5.2 miles).
Any other ideas for increasing energy efficiency or going more green? Leave the in the comments!
Update: Here is an aerial photo of the metal roof and solar panels from Google Maps:
“Because today itâ€™s so hard to get anything past the ethics boards, compared to the good old days, when you could just electrocute people and call it science. You can hardly do anything these days!” – University of Hertfordshire psychologist Richard Wiseman, author of 59 Seconds.
He was joking around… I think.
via The Self-Help Psychologist Is In – Freakonomics Blog – NYTimes.com.
The NYTimes has some really neat graphs on how people spend their day, divided by hours and activities, on average.
via How Different Groups Spend Their Day – Interactive Graphic – NYTimes.com.