I want to upgrade my television. I have a "square" TV and think that the widescreen TV's of similar size look smaller. What size TV do I want in order to feel like I actually upgraded?
You may need a calculator when switching from a 4x3 to 16x9 (widescreen) television and wanting to find the ideal size For a 4x3 TV, multiply the diagonal measurement by 0.8 to get the width. So, a 46" diagonal 4x3 set is 36.8" wide. For the height, multiply by 0.6, telling us our 46" set is 27.6" tall. Your 16x9 TV sizes are determined by multiplying the diagonal by 0.87 for width and 0.49 for the height. A new 46" widescreen TV is 40"W x 22.54"H. In this example, the 16x9 has 124.7 square inches less screen area and is 5" shorter. You gain some width, but your height drops a lot and your screen size is about 10% less. To determine the ideal height for your new TV, divide your old 4x3 set's height by 0.49. Using this previous example, dividing 27.6 by .49 equals 56.32. It will take a 56" widescreen TV to retain a similar height as your old TV. When it doubt, go even bigger, as we have never heard someone say "I wish I had gotten a smaller TV".
I have an old intercom system from NuTone. Can I upgrade?
Yes. There are some new systems that can be retrofitted onto the old NuTone or M&S wiring and have modern aesthetics in designer colors, improved sound quality and expanded features such as music playback.
My bedroom is stuffy at night and my utility bills are high. What are my options?
Consider retrofitting ceiling fans in the bedroom. Warm air can be circulated around the room during the winter. In the summer, a downward draft provides "wind chill effect" and evens out the overall room temperature...and/or...Change out your existing thermostats for fully programmable thermostats. This allows precise heating or cooling settings for different parts of the day and may provide savings of 5-10%.
I am frustrated with having to use four remotes to control my TV & equipment. Is there something simpler?
Replace all your remotes with a backlit, ergonomic remote. Want to watch a DVD? Simply press "Watch DVD" and let the remote do the rest. A color touch screen is completely customized with the functions you use most and your favorite channel logos.
A central vacuum system was preplumbed in my home when I bought it. What kind of vacuum system and attachments can be installed?
It is very important to match the size of your main vacuum unit to the size of your home and the number of outlets installed. We also carry a full line of cleaning kits and specialty attachments to make cleaning a joy (OK, we are kidding, but it will be easier!). If your motor will be in the garage, a utility outlet there will allow you to vacuum your car or RV.
I want to update the lighting in my home. I was considering LED, but now heard about cold cathode. What is that?
Until recently, cold cathode lighting had limited usage, such as in computer cases and recessed lighting. But now conventionally sized bulbs are available at a reasonable cost. Unlike fluorescent bulbs, in which a cathode is heated to produce light, a cold cathode operates near the ambient room temperature (hence the name "cold"). Their list of advantages is long: low energy consumption, a very long life (50,000 hours), lamp life is not affected by how often it is turned on or off (unlike fluorescent bulbs), they are less expensive than LED and they are dimmable. We can even install new recessed-can lighting with cold cathode bulbs. The initial cost may be greater, but the savings over time add up significantly.
I was told I may need to "upgrade my electrical panel". What does that mean?
It is sometimes necessary to consider upgrading the service panel that distributes the electricity in your home. Some reasons are simple: if you plan to add air conditioning or a hot tub. These devices draw a large amount of electricity and your panel may not be able to handle it. If you have lights that flicker, or breakers that trip for no apparent reason, then you should have a qualified electrician inspect your panel for problems or determine if an upgrade is needed. For increased reliability and safety, old fuse-based panels should be upgraded to a modern panel with breakers that can be reset.
See our HVAC 101 page for more Q&A about heating, cooling and air quality.
Have a question or problem not addressed here? Feel free to call us at 208-623-6331 or e-mail us through our Contact Us page. We will contact you with a solution, or post your question and the response on this page.