The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Technology at Our Back Door

When your house turns 50, you find yourself replacing a lot of bits and pieces. It becomes something of a weekly hobby. I'll know where to find just about anything in the big box store near us before long. If I get to be a real pro, I won't have to make multiple trips to that store for other bits and pieces to complete a single project (yeah, RIGHT).

Anyway, the back porch light gave up the ghost recently, along with the light switch that controls it. Well, actually we blamed it all on the light at first. We discovered the light switch's failure later. The light in place was an inexpensive model and it had withstood all the weather it could take.

When we took it down, we discovered there was no electrical box behind it, just the wires sticking out of a hole in the wall ... there's the sort of quality installation you have to admire! So, we watched a few instructional videos on YouTube, discovered there were such things as external electrical boxes (the one in the film is much fancier than ours ... then again, it was going on a much fancier house). The no-nonsense version like ours will set you back less than ten dollars, is easily installed, and improves over the previous shoddy installation by giving you a secure place to attach the next light fixture and have it hang straight. But, if you get a round external box (box?), make sure you get a light fixture with a circular mount ... or you'll be making another trip to the store muttering all sorts of awful things. Don't mount said electrical box until you have the light to go with it as the angle at which you mount the box will be dictated by the way the fixture itself mounts to the box. Trust me.

Did you know, you can get a cheap outside light for about $5? You can. We didn't. You can get expensive models for $80 and up. But sitting right in the middle of that is the new technology that caught our eye. It is a pretty simple looking fixture with one major difference. Where a light bulb would screw in are two small, square LED lights. The virtue of the LED lights is that they never need to be replaced. They will last for the life of the fixture (which, with luck, will be many years). The light produced has a bit of a bluish cast, but roughly half of our small back yard is illuminated when you throw the switch.

Speaking of throwing the switch ... when we did, and the light flickered in the same way the previous dying fixture did, we realized the switch was kaput as well ... and back to the big box hardware store we went. Replacing the switch, after a heart stopping one second delay for the LED lights to get the message, the fixture burned brightly and our ability to work with the tricky world of electricity was confirmed once again.

So far, all is well. The light works beautifully and bulbs are no longer a concern. It's nice to have some new technology hanging around the back door.

For more on the home improvement topic, see:

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