I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there is absolutely no better home improvement resource than watching someone else document their own trials, tribulations, and triumphs. In this case, it’s HouseInProgress.net. I’ve pointed to JM and A’s (first initials only!) fine work before, but two things popped out of their archives at me recently which made me grateful to be a frequent reader.
The first is their excellent review of air conditioning systems, in which they point out that you can sometimes install a high-tech high velocity system, which is both lower-impact and provides excellent circulation, for less than it would take to do a comparable forced air system. (In fact, all their “review” articles have been outstanding. Check out the “structured wiring” discussion.)
The other was their article about running coax cable through the walls yourself for a low impact (no cables tacked up on the outside of the house!) installation. Cool, practical, and painstakingly illustrated. I’m not sure it’s always possible to find an unused electrical outlet to avoid punching another hole in the wall, though, especially in older homes.