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Does Your Electrification Project Require a Service Upgrade?

Electrification involves replacing fossil-fuel devices, from furnaces and boilers to cars and lawnmowers, with their electric equivalents. The goal, as David Roberts stated in his widely-read Vox essay, is to “electrify everything.” Electrification has emerged as a major tool for fighting climate change. It results in immediate drops in CO2 emissions, even in regions where electricity is generated largely by fossil fuels. It provides a clear path to carbon-neutrality; as the share of wind- and solar-generated electricity continues to grow, emissions from electric generation will drop and ultimately approach zero. By eliminating pollutants like ozone and carbon monoxide from tailpipes,…

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Current Obsessions: Winter Quiet

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Bedroom Closet Remodel Guide

Here are the steps to take to plan for your closet remodel. 1. Take Stock of What You’ve Got Sell, donate, and whittle down. Then get out a ruler. Start with what’s hanging. Place clothes flat, on their hangers, in two piles—one for short items, like shirts, and the other for long items, like coats and pants hung full length by their cuffs or waistband. Measure the height of each pile to get the desired lengths for short- and long-item rods. Keep in mind that hangers need sliding space. Next up: Clothes that fold. Arrange foldables in 10-inch-high stacks—any higher…

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How to Build a Bookcase

Project details Skill 3 out of 5 Moderate Calculating measurements and scribing trim may cause some head-scratching Cost $200-$500 Estimated Time 8 hours If your books and photographs are still displayed on a couple of boards held up by a pile of bricks, here's some good news: It doesn't require a master carpenter, a workshop full of tools, and thousands of dollars to add built-in bookcases to your home. All it takes, essentially, is some sturdy veneer plywood and a circular saw. By laminating a series of short support pieces to a longer strip of wood you can create the…

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Angle Measuring Tools

How is it that finish carpenters do trim jobs daily without suffering angle-induced embolisms? Easy—because they rely on miter guides, not their eyeballs, to tell them where to cut. Likewise, framing carpenters use squares to determine the angles for rafters, rakes, and stair stringers; and furniture makers consult their protractors before laying out dovetails. What Tool Do You Use to Find Angles? The right angle-finding tool is your protection against loose joinery and expletive-filled outbursts, whether you're doing something big like building a garden shed, or simply tackling around-the-house maintenance tasks like measuring for a storm window. So before you…

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Low-Flow Toilets

Low flow, or low flush toilets, are high-efficiency toilets that reduce our water consumption per flush. They are worth it because they help you save water, and money, in your home. Low Flow Toilet History Contrary to popular myth, plumber Thomas Crapper did not invent the flush toilet. One of his contemporaries, though, did create the first toilet that prevented sewer gases from entering the home. Englishman Joseph Adamson's 1853 design—the siphon flush—eventually made obsolete both the chamber pot and the outhouse. Adamson's invention, like all modern toilets, relies on the tendency of a moving liquid to continue flowing, even…

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