Monday, November 12, 2007

Things to do when TV Writers are on Strike

There may be something orginal to watch on TV despite the strike. Whatever it is I don't care. I'm using the writer's strike as my excuse to clear off my "honey do" list. The house is falling apart, and most of the failing things that affected me were taken care of instantly. Because I can, I guess. There are a few things that don't affect me directly, or at least don't make it impossible to continue on with my day. The bedroom light switch, for example, has failed. It's an X10 (remote control) switch, and the remote controlling part still works. It just can't be used to turn on or off the overhead light by itself. I've got a better switch somewhere, and tomorrow I'll find it (or go buy another one) and get that switch replaced.

We also have a two-car garage, with two seperate garage doors and two seperate openers. The house is 27 years old, and we've owned it since 2000. Within a year of owning it the garage door opener on "my" side of the garage failed. Yes, I could open the door manually, but I did that a total of one time, and took a day off of work to buy and install a replacement opener as quick as possible. I'm guessing the opener I replaced was the original installed when the house was built. My wife's side of the garage has had a reliable opener, almost. About two years ago her opener started acting up. You could always eventually get it to open or close the door, but sometimes it might take several presses of the button. The problems would come and go, and might actually have been seasonal. Perhaps they were related to some variable of the changing seasons. Humidity, temperature? I couldn't identify the cause but I would always gladly open the door manually for my wife. It was far easer than replacing the opener.

No more. It's taken two days, but my wife now has a new reliable opener on her garage door. Installing a garage door opener is not a quick thing. It will always require at least two additional trips to the hardware store. In my case I had to go back to get springs. I didn't know I needed new springs until I read the instructions that came with the new opener. I've got the opener installed and working, but now realize it takes two light bulbs limited to 60 watts each. My home inventory is well stocked with 75 watt and 100 watt bulbs, with no 60 watt or smaller bulb to be found. Another trip to the hardware store.

I'll put in a plug for garage door technology. The last time I bought an opener there were two choices, and the difference was chain drive or screw drive. This time I had a hard time deciding from nearly a dozen options. I ended up with a "Genie Powerlift Excelerator". It uses a screw drive. It has a variable speed motor that will start slow and then accelerate the door. No sudden jerk or sudden stop. I suspect the door will last longer using this technology. The main switch is also smarter, with seperate buttons for light and lift, as well as a lock position that locks the lift to any wireless remote control. It still only uses two wires from the switch to the motor though. Great things since I have wires in the wall from the old opener, and running a new wire would have been problematic. It came with the standard two remotes, and also a wireless keypad opener that can be installed outside and will allow opening the door after entering a pass code up to 8 digits long. Lastly it is incredible quiet. 5 out of 5 stars for the Genie Powerlift Excelerator from me.

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