An Ounce of Prevention

Most of my day was spent filling gaps in the house siding where wasps had been going in and behind to build mud pods for egg-laying last year. Like JoAnna said in her previous post, once the wasps had established a "door" to their lair, one would often be on patrol and dive-bomb human and canine passers-by. So, before the weather warmed up too much, I went out with 5 tubes of caulk and some 1" squishy foam on a roll to jam into any crevices big enough for a wasp to gain entry - or for the hatching young to emerge. I think I got it covered pretty well on the two pedestrian sides of the house, but since the north and west sides weren't a problem, I'll hold off on them. There is much to do with spring approaching and we have big plans for the garden this year.

Last night, I finally installed the fancy programmable thermostat that I bought over a year ago. The reason I waited so long is not one of procrastination, but more just waiting for the perfect window of opportunity. The requirement for that window was that if I did something horribly wrong in the installation and blew up the heat pump unit, we wouldn't suffer from lack of HVAC for weeks waiting for a repairman. Now that we have a cold-weather/backup heat source (the propane heater), I was free to risk it all. The programmability of the new device will add the luxury of having the heat come on before we rise in the morning, but the real reason I wanted it is because of the temperature differential setting it features. Here's why I wanted the differential setting: On the hottest summer days, the thermostat would activate the compressor on the heat pump (which runs in reverse for air conditioning) every 15 minutes or so. It would run for about 5 minutes, and then shut off when the house was cooled to the set temp. Fifteen minutes later, the house would be one degree warmer and the unit would start again. I wanted to find a thermostat that would allow for the indoor temp to rise above the set temp by 1 or 2 degrees before running the compressor, and then let the room cool a bit below the set temp before shutting off. Hopefully, this new unit will help extend the life of the compressor since the hardest work for it is the initial start-up. The model I got is Robertshaw RS5220. So far, so good.

Trixie the dog has been driving us crazy every night lately, barking as if something is prowling around the property. She may just be barking at the other nearby dogs as they howl at the moon. Our only option to get a good night's sleep is to invite her in to sleep in the utility room. She has always been a perfect house guest, and she's so happy to come inside, but once we have chickens it would be best for them if she were outside on patrol for varmints.

I saw seven deer run from our neighbor-to-the-west's property across our place to the opposite corner. The electricity meter-reader guy was doing his rounds in his pick-up, and obviously the deer don't like him.

Today I learned: It is a good idea to routinely check plumbing connections, especially the ones you don't see often. The American Standard faucet in the master bath has a slow drip when open, but luckily I caught it before any damage was done. Back to The Home Depot with it.

Update:The problem with the faucet was mine (see post on 2/22/2011), so I retract my remark about American Standard.

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