Sunday, July 19, 2015

More cheapo home improvements, the kind you won't find in the glossy mags

Since glossy mags are all about advertising and selling lovely products, usually wildly expensive ones, they don't cover much if anything in the way of the sort of totally cheap, very satisfying diy I do everywhere I live.  Partly it's because I've always had a limited income, but mainly because it's so fun to do a thing you invented and have it work.  
Over in Art the Beautiful you'll see a kitchen cabinet door in its new life (ages ago in here I entertained suggestions for how to use two little doors I removed from the kitchen, and dogonart swept the pool with the rolling plant stand idea, which I still have and use. That left me with one door).  See here:  Tablet weaving technicalia

Anyway, this post is not about doors, and you may wonder why I'm banging on about them, then, but it's because I'm making a point in my confused and undirected way.  Which is that you don't have to spend a ton if you can think around it. And it's more fun.

Soooooo, finally to the point: my attic fan, which is set in the roof, was an aftermarket thing, when the HOA years ago replaced all our roofs completely, meaning down to the rafters, all open.  

And the board had a very good idea, a contract to let anyone buy an installed attic fan at a group price, easy to install while the roof was open, no need to pierce anything and compromise the tightness of the roof.  So we jumped at it and have been pleased we did.  Once the roofs were on, nobody else could do it, can't punch a hole in your communally owned roof, you know.

However, the contractors never claimed to be Einstein, nor to realize that it would be more useful to have a register in the ceiling below the fan to allow house air to blow out there, too, not just keep the interior of the roof cooled.  And they put in place a mansized panel, see below:

 18 x 22, nice to get through the opening and work, and they did put a molding, but there is no sign of any ventilation as you see.  

Soooooo, when I got the fan motor replaced by kind friend yesterday, I figured out a way of handling this situation, since without benefit of fan open to the house, the third floor is unusable in July.  I used to just lift out the panel and leave it open, but after I found a dead squirrel, and had fiber glass shreds falling on me, I rethought that notion, not wanting to invite s or fb into my studio.  

Research and conferring with my friends at Smith's Hardware in Princeton Shopping Center, they deserve the plug, showed that there is nothing manufactured on the market in the way of metal registers big enough for this opening.

So I came up with a picture frame I found in the studio among my frame debris, about the right size.  Bought some aluminum screening  from Smiths, cut it to fit, stapled it on, duct taped all the jaggy edges on the back, exactly like stretching a canvas, and installed it yesterday in place of the solid panel.  Installed sounds very posh for climbed up, slid it in and climbed down again.  The solid panel will go in again at the end of summer, because it's insulated and is good in the winter for that purpose. 

Bloated with pride over this triumph.  Cost of total venture: $8 for roll of screening which can be shared around. If I want to hide the fairly visible fan up there, I can add a layer of screening (Smith suggestion when I explained my plan).  Easy to do if I decide to.

But it's a workplace, not a living room, and I don't mind an industrial effect.


  1. I think "floated with pride" would be more accurate! Good job :)

  2. Better not let your idea get around or you'll be inundated with requests. Could, however, make a dandy size business if you so desire.

  3. fascinating ideas. love the "sail" curtain.

  4. You are a clever clogs but then we all knew that already anyway.


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