Elena

In the US, the same brand can have inferior products in the same country.

For example, if I was to buy a faucet, say Brand X, at a plumbing supply company, it could be different than what I would buy at a home improvement store. The plumbing supply company buys the standard one while the home improvement place has such buying power that they will buy the same looking faucet with different specifications to keep the price down.

So it looks the same, but one would have metal parts for the valve and the other would use plastic. So people go get a price from the plumbing supply company and then see the "same" faucet at the home improvement store and are thinking that they are being overcharged by the plumbing company while they were really priced a different product.

Also, this happens not just with plumbing but most goods.

Elena

Have you ever wondered how the numbers on the top of a paint can from a home improvement store relate to the color of the paint? And how does the store account for the color viewed under different types of light?

When I was younger I worked at Home Depot.

The different colors of paint available are really just different mixtures of a few basic colors. It's impractical for the store to stock a bunch of buckets of thousands of different colors, so they mix the colors on site by combining a few basic colors in the proper proportions.

Basically you tell the guy at the desk what color you want, he punches it into the computer, the computer tells him what base to get (usually white in color), sticks it into the machine, and the machine dumps in the precise amount of each of the basic colors required to produce your desired color. The specifics of the data on that label vary depending on the store/paint manufacturer/etc., but they identify the color somehow. It might be an amount of each base color in the mix, I'm not familiar with that specific label.

The colors are all pre-programmed into the computer, it doesn't care about how the light looks under different types of light.

That's why when you're picking out a color for a room in your house, it's a good idea to take the paint chips home and actually look at them under the lighting conditions present in that space.

Elena

I love watching the remodeling shows on HGTV. But I always see people with homes way nicer than mine, with prices way outside of my budget which is probably why I enjoy watching.

But I could if I wanted.

Buying a house isn't so much about how much you make month to month.

More important is how much money you have sitting around at your disposal. There are many people that have money because of their parents or the property value rise in the place where they live. Example, if you bought a $180,000 house when you were 25, 25 miles west of Baltimore in 2004, you'd have a $450,000 house today, that if you sold, you'd have $300,000 to throw down on a $600,000 mini mansion even farther out.

The remaining mortgage wouldn't be too bad for a family making 90K per year.

While I can't help but think that is is just a show, most are filmed in Canada if I am not mistaken.

Housing prices went up above the ability of middle-class people to afford them here in the US, so banks and other institutions came up with mortgages below prime rate that had a high chance of failing.

But they didn't assume that risk themselves, rather they bundled those junk loans up in packages and sold them to clients, assuring them they were solid investments. They even sold "derivatives" of the junk loans, essentially bets that the loan would succeed or fail. They bought the "fail" bets, they sold the "succeed" bets to their clients.

When the loads did start failing, the people who bought the packages got screwed, the people who bough the house got screwed, the people who originated the subprime loans made out like bandits.

Houses are still being foreclosed on from that mess.

Elena

I really love LEDs and wanted to place them in the bathroom, which made sense when I started, but took some looking to get things figured out.

There are basically two types of LEDs you are going to find for residential lighting.

One type looks just like a regular light bulb, and you just open up whatever light fixture you have and replace the bulb with the LED equivalent.

The second kind is an LED with a replacement trim that are used in can lights, which are common in shower installations.

The retrofit kit (LED with trim) that I linked is not rated for "wet location", which is what you have in your shower. But, this one is... so just be sure of what you are buying.

Also be aware that some of these replacement bulbs are pretty large, so they may not fit in your fixtures (specifically these can replacements).

Finally, it is worth noting that many of the regular bulb form factor LEDs specifically state that they are not to be used in a totally enclosed fixture (as you likely have in your shower), so make sure you purchase one that can be used in that configuration.

I also noticed that most LED retrofit kits are in fact wet location rated, so it shouldn't be difficult to find a suitable one. Also, any residential can light installed in the last 20 years (that has been inspected) is likely already IC rated.