home renovation radiant heating, hvac

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Radiant Heating

We recently tackled the DIY install of our radiant in-floor heating system. If you're considering a radiant system for you're home, here are 5 things you might not know..

how to hide your ugly water heater, home maintenance repairs, how to, hvac, painting

How to Hide Your Ugly Water Heater

Compliments are always so nice, right? They can totally change everything. I mean you’re going along having the worst day ever and someone tells you that they think you are having a good hair day and suddenly the world is right again. “Who, me? My hair? *flips it around shoulders* Why…thank you! It is great hair, isn’t it?”

So, let me ask you something. Has anyone ever complimented your hot water heater?
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terracotta space heater, hvac

Terra Cotta Space Heater

Ok, I have to admit, this is pretty thrifty. This space heater is a clean and cheap energy alternative and also a pretty fun looking little piece. If you live in a place where one room tends to get colder than others, or you want to save a little cash money, or are like me and live in a space where you can't control your heat, this is great! This space heater is made from some simple terra cotta pots and hardware and can really heat up a space on the cheap.
We want to help you DIY, so some of the materials in this post are linked to sellers. Just so you know, Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

air conditioner maintenance, heating cooling, home maintenance repairs

Air Conditioner Maintenance

Summer is just around the bend so it is time to start planning AC maintenance. I neglected this task with my first house and it cost me a lot. The refrigerant line had a slow leak that would have been detected by a pressure test. Instead I ended up calling a professional after it stopped cooling. $300 to refill the refrigerant and my electric bill doubled for the month!
One other scenario I've seen several times is the condensation pipe will become blocked by fungus and flood the attic/basement (where the evaporator is located). All it takes is a couple minutes to clean it out with bleach to prevent this problem. This is especially important for folks in humid environments.
For DIY types most of the AC cleaning can be done with moderate difficulty, but it is good to get a professional (about $100) in at least once a year to check the line pressure and inspect the system.

easy cheap fix look for old air duct vent

Easy Cheap Fix/look for Old Air Duct Vent

We have a air vent in the floor right by the door going to the garage. It is 19 yrs old And looking rusty and gross. Now I know you can buy a new one, but why spend more money than you need to right?The biggest issue with this vent is placement. It gathers all the dirt, water, etc... as we have snow/sun seasons. It's the only air vent on our hardwood floors.My solution and cheap... spray paint.It turned out perfect. I wonder why I waited so long to fix it...

funky colourful draught excluder, crafts, doors

Funky Colourful Draught Excluder

Do you live in an old draughty house like mine. Then keep the cold air at bay with this fun colourful draught excluder. Think cross stitch is a faff ? This pattern uses supersized half stitches which makes it easy and speedy.

is your bathroom properly ventilated, home maintenance repairs, how to, hvac, This preset bath fan timer is a great solution for ensuring the bath fan runs for an adequate amount of time The 30 minute preset is typically used for showering

Is Your Bathroom Properly Ventilated?

We've seen it probably more than 100 times. In an attic, the bath fan discharges directly into a pile of insulation. You would be surprised that it's more common than many people realize! If you don't know the condition of yours, it's worth a quick investigation. So, what are the indicators of a properly ventilated bathroom? Here are a few tips.

1. Select the correct size bath fan. Many have a square footage chart included at time of purchase, but there are tables available online as well, such as this one from HVI:
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easy indoor fire bowl

Easy Indoor Fire Bowl

This is a simple indoor fire bowl you can make. It safely puts off a little heat and adds ambiance. You can see more of my crazy creations here

upcycled denim draught excluders door and window , crafts, doors, repurposing upcycling

Upcycled Denim Draught Excluders (door and Window)

Keep your home warm with these fun upcycled jeans draught excluders. The cheesy puns will also make you and your guests smile.
They are really easy to make, cost very little and are effective in keeping out the cold winter draughts.

10 ways technology has changed your house, electrical, fireplaces mantels, home maintenance repairs, hvac, Joe Lodge Flickr

10 Ways Technology Has Changed Your House

From Judith Flanders' The Making of Home (available at: www.JudithFlandersBooks.com) here are ten ways technology has changed your home:

how to reduce electric bill budget save money, electrical, how to, hvac, lighting

10 + DIY Ways We Reduced Our Electric Bill

Our electricity bill has been dropping for years. It's the result of a combination of little and big DIY things we've done around the house that has added up to real savings, despite increases from the utility company.

material of the week outlet sealers

Do This to Your Outlet to Save so Much Money This Month

Now that you’ve insulated your windows, we’ve got one more awesome insulation tip for you to keep you warm for the rest of what feels like a never-ending winter!Becky at Flipping the Flip shared this tutorial on how to insulate your outlet covers. It’s surprising how insulating these covers can make a huge impact on your heating bills! Get your socket sealers here and follow this simple tutorial.

free a c hack that could save you 75 100

Free A/C Hack That Could Save You $75-$100

When I bought this house a couple of years ago, I hired a home inspector as part of the loan process. He told me that the HVAC unit was in good shape, and still under warranty, but he recommended that I clean the AC filter right away. I thought it was pretty obvious because the filter in the door was clogged. When I took possession of the house, there was no filter in the door to the AC unit. I was planning on changing it anyway, so I thought no more of it. Until it got hot that first summer…I could hear something dripping in my hallway. I investigated, checking both bathrooms, and couldn’t find the source of the dripping. After a few hours, I realized that the air conditioning unit was struggling, and I was still hearing that dripping. My filter was pretty clean, but I realized the noise was coming from inside the closet. When I looked, I discovered condensation on the floor of the HVAC closet. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so I called the contact information on the unit. They couldn’t explain over the phone, so I had to pay for an after hours service call. By this time, it was getting late in the afternoon and the air conditioner wasn’t cooling the house.That service call ended up costing me over $180, but I found out some useful things, and I had the guy show me how to clean the filters. Turns out that there is a built-in filter that needs to be cleaned annually. Today I’m showing you how to take it out and clean all the parts so you don’t have to pay that outrageous service call!

hide the ugly vent for 6

Hide the Ugly Vent for $6 !!

I have lived with this ugly cold air return cover in my entry hallway since I moved into my home. Of course, I hate it! Who wouldn't? I have camouflaged it many ways over the years. The wood frame was installed a long time ago to hold the weight of the project. Now working with the frame is more of a challenge than hiding the vent cover!I had a few ideas for this project but most of them required time and energy. I wanted to keep it simple.I had purchased the cabinet at an online auction a few weeks ago. I nearly did not bring it home because it was so badly damaged, and the quality is deplorable. I wasn't sure loading it up was worth the $6 I had paid for it. But then I realized the doors were actually pretty, even though they are made of pressed styrofoam. So the cabinet and I came home. She sat in my carport waiting for me to decide what I could do with her doors. Except for the hardware, nothing else was worth trying to salvage. The legs were broken off on the back.Light bulb moment! If the size would work, these would look pretty darn good covering the vent in the hallway. Hallelujah! Not a perfect fit, but close enough!I already had the paint and glue, so $6 for the cabinet was really all that was spent specifically for this project. Gotta love that!!The rest of the story is in the pictures. I hope you like my end result. I love it! Well, at least for now! hee hee

keep your home warm by insulating your windows, home decor

Keep Your Home Warm by Insulating Your Windows

Keep your homes warm with this quick and inexpensive solution. In my home I have window that are original to the home. They are 30 years old and in dire need of replacement. My windows are incredibly drafty. I can literally feel the money I loose when its cold. Sadly after purchasing a brand new HVAC system it left very little funds to replace my windows at this time. New windows would cost around $7,000 – $8,000, annnnnd right now, that is just not in the budget. Fortunately, I discovered an extremely affordable to solution to resolve my drafty windows while strolling the aisles of my Home Depot.

fence picket a c unit cover, curb appeal, diy, fences, how to, repurposing upcycling, And the after look using free fence pickets

Fence Picket A/C Unit Cover

EDITED TO ADD: Thank you all for your concern of our unit not being able to breath. We have had our a/c man over to check it out and he says it has plenty of room to breath and he approves of the cover. :)
Do you have an ugly air conditioning unit sitting in your yard? Yes? We did too, but now we have an awesome cover up for it! We used some old wooden fence pickets to create a more eye pleasing surround for our ugly old unit. Please come on over to our blog and see how we put it together for very little money!

personal space heater, hvac

Personal Space Heater

This is a simple and inexpensive personal space heater that you can move and take with you. You can see more of my crazy creations here

sediment in a hot water heater, home maintenance repairs, plumbing, The tiny opening at about 2 o clock is all that remains the rest is build up of hard water and debris that has collected at the bottom of the tank

Sediment in a hot water heater.

Recently there has been posts about draining hot water heaters and the pros as well as the cons in doing this. Typical maintenance on a hot water heater is to flush the bottom drain at least once a year. In some towns where they flush their fire hydrants to keep the pipes clear it is suggested to follow their lead a few days after as any sediment that is disturbed ends up on the bottom of your heater.
What happens then is water displacement. The sandy partials that collect on the bottom of the tank displaces the water ever so slightly. This results in hot spots on the bottom of the tank. When this occurs the flames overheat the tank and begin to break down the steel. After many years this breakdown ends up becoming a tiny hole that is filled with this debris, oftentimes preventing the leak.
However if you decide to drain your heater after many years of not doing it, or all of a sudden you start using the heater more then normal, this sediment that has been plugging that tiny hole is flushed out, often resulting in a leak in a few days after.
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diy bucket a c, garages, home maintenance repairs, how to, hvac, tools

DIY Bucket A/C

Like us, you've probably had this project pinned for some time. Anyone who has ever worked in a hot garage, in summer, in Florida knows that even a tiny hint of cold air is welcome relief! I wanted to try the project but didn't want to go to the expense and effort of ordering the needed styrofoam bucket liner that the project required.
I was on the lookout for something that would eliminate the need for the liner. As luck would have it, I found this insulated vertical drink cooler that would be perfect for only $2 at a yard sale. I already had the needed plastic tubing, fan, and hole saw cutter so the expense for this project was minimal!

air seal your attic before insulating, home maintenance repairs, how to, Shoot this doesn t look too bad let s just spray some more cellulose in there well be good right Well maybe not so fast

Air Seal your attic before insulating

When one pops there head into the attic they may see something similar to the first picture & think that hey, I need some more insulation. I have lost count of how many people have simply seen something on TV or had an "energy audit" done where they recommended more insulation & I get called in later as they are still uncomfortable or having issues.
While I agree that the attic below definitely needs more insulation, there were a few things that need to be dealt with first. You see in order for insulation to work optimally it needs to be enclosed on all six sides which needless to say, doesn't fly when it comes to an attic. That is one reason why the R-Values are nearly doubled or tripled in the attic area when compared to walls. So what happens when you add air-leakage underneath – well it really cuts down on its performance.
While we had to remove the insulation in this area of the house,that is not always the case. If you don't have issues with mice, etc... you can simply move it out of the way & fix the problem areas. Some of the most common spots are;
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i made a draft guard for a door with recycled materials

I Made a Draft Guard for a Door With Recycled Materials

I desperately needed a draft guard for the door to our cold storage room. The room maintains temperatures between 40 and 45 degrees F, a huge extra fridge! A large gap under the door was letting a lot of chilly air into the apartment. As a renter, I didn't want to nail or glue anything to the door itself, so designed a draft stopper.

rain barrel air conditioner condensation solution, diy, hvac, repurposing upcycling

Using a Rain Barrel to Collect Condensate From Your Air Conditioner!

The a/c causes lots of condensation that just runs out onto the ground. From what I've read, condensate water from the a/c is 99% pure clear water, no chemicals, just a bit of dust! Why not catch it and use it? We did just that! Here's how we did it.
It took right at a full week to gather a barrel full of water. That's approximately 55 gallons of water that would have otherwise jut gone onto the ground. Now we use it to water all the little plants and the garden!

replacing amp cool weather operation of heart a ceiling fan, electrical, hvac, Switch Up in Cold Weather Position

Replacing & Cool Weather Operation of *Heart* a Ceiling Fan

The Story :: Most folks are unaware that a ceiling fan may be set in the winter to optimize your home's heating potential. By simply flicking the motor switch into reverse (usually up & blades spinning to the right aka clockwise), stagnant warm air is moved off of the ceiling and back down into the room. (See the vid below for a demo of this.)

The BackStory :: Having a pair of apartments that we rent, I occasionally get called to perform landlord-like duties. And one item that *had* been on my to do list was replacing the ceiling fan in this tenant's kitchen.
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how i converted an attic vent into a quick access hatch, hvac

How I Converted an Attic Vent Into a Quick Access Hatch

I'm getting ready to do a major kitchen remodel that going to require a bunch of attic work. Rather than crawling the dirty, head bashing distance from the garage scuttle, I came up with this easy hatch project.

do you know how proper temp for hot water heaters stop scalds, home maintenance repairs, hvac, ponds water features

DO You Know How Proper Temp for Hot Water Heaters? Stop Scalds

Scalding water can be a big issue for babies, kids and seniors. Make sure the thermostat on the hot water heater is set properly. Check on the senior citizens in your life too!