are you thinking of insulating your home this year, go green, home maintenance repairs, hvac

Are You Thinking of Insulating Your Home This Year?

You have seen me discuss air sealing and saving energy from time to time here on Hometalk and on a few radio shows and local TV stations. Here is a few reasons why you really need to understand why you need a pro if your not really sure what your doing.
Not all photos were taken by me but by other friends that do air sealing and insulation work.
If you do not know how to properly insulate your home or are thinking about it ask and I or others here on HT can provide you with expert advice on how to do it right and safe.

a new mold project my crew and i will be working on the next six weeks, cleaning tips, home maintenance repairs, how to, wall decor

A new mold project my crew and I will be working on the next six weeks.

This is an example of just how bad mold can get in a very short period of time. Entire flooring system, sub-floors, main floor, tile must come out on entire lower level of home. This is a real important issue. The poor client is not covered by insurance as most people are not.
Check your home owners insurance to see if you can add a rider just to cover yourself.
I will post progress photos as we move along the next six weeks.

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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new hot water heater install information, home maintenance repairs, hvac, plumbing, ponds water features

New Hot Water Heater Install Information

Many DIY folks install their own hot water heaters. This is a great way to save on some big bucks when compared to having a pro do it. With several new code requirements installing these devices can become a bit tricky as there has been a new added part to the heater that people do not really understand.
Because of the risks of flame roll out from the front of the hot water heaters that you most likely have installed in your home, the manufactures along with several code bodies have required some special safety improvements that you may not be aware of.
Gone are the hot water heaters that had access to the flame and pilot light, that many of us laid on our belly's to see and light. New ignition systems have eliminated that difficult task. So the area in which the flame often rolled out has been removed. All that remains is a sealed off window so you can see what is going on.
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this is a photo of the recent boiler combi unit i installed, heating cooling, plumbing, NTI Combi boiler Top of the line Takes up a lot of wall space to install properly Boiler heat exchanger is only as around as a five gallon bucket and deep as about one half the height of that same bucket 110 lbs total

This is a photo of the recent boiler Combi unit I installed.

This boiler makes both heat for two zones of baseboard and 0ne zone of radiant heat for the house. And makes the domestic hot water for two and one half baths. Cost? $8 grand. Took two days to remove old cast iron boiler and hot water heater, mount on wall, pipe and bleed out the air. Client loves it. Cannot hear it run, is 98% efficient and is warranted for 10 years. Only draw back is they must install a water softener system as the hard water will calcify to quick in the heater area and lower its ability to heat the water in an efficient manner.

critter damage and repairs, home maintenance repairs, how to, pest control, Once cleaned up we contstructed foam boxes to cover every high hat light to allow insulation to be placed directly onto the boxes instead of allowing them to be buried unsafely with the blown in fiberglass I used

Critter Damage and Repairs

A recent client of mine contacted my office because of some health issues they were having in their home. They requested a mold evaluation be performed to see if the health issues were related in any way to any possible mold. They had contacted another competitor of mine who after some time told them they could not find any real issues anywhere and suggested that the health issues are not mold related.
I got called in to perform a 2nd opinion, and I too determined that the living area of the home had no real issues as far as health related. Once checking out the house, I requested that they show me the access to any attic area that they may have. The photos that are posted are only a few of the many I took.
The house had been suffering for many years from a squirrel infestation. The owner stated that they had trapped them on occasion over the many past years and that they had to keep on going into the attic to sweep up the garbage that they were generating as a result of them damaging the insulation.
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basement renovation tips video, basement ideas, home improvement

Great Video If You're Thinking of Doing Your Basement

As a energy audit professional I often see homes with moisture and mold issues. This video that I just saw can explain to those who do not understand why their basement floors or house slabs are always damp or tend to become wet. Of course during any home renovation project you cannot always repair to meet these recommendations, But understanding how moisture and heat works in conjunction to each other will help you and your contractor formulate a better plan so your home improvement is not only healthy, but will last for many years.

another townhouse prep project we just completed what seemed like an easy job, bathroom ideas, home improvement, home maintenance repairs, kitchen design, plumbing, Left side kitchen

Another townhouse prep project we just completed.

What seemed like an easy job, turned out to be a nightmare. As some of the photos show. Turns out the main water shut off does the entire building so it took two days just to get water off so we could put valves on the water lines. Then when we got into the crawl space to do it. found the sewer pipe to be broken with mold every where. Then add to the mold and rot we found under the kitchen cabinet when we removed it. Sure glad this project is complete.

air sealing importance how to, basement ideas, home maintenance repairs, hvac, This is the insulation in place prior to removal

Why Air Sealing is so Important

No doubt you have seen posts from me about the importance of proper air sealing. I have posted a few photos in the past of examples of this very issue. When we are evaluating a home for energy improvements we use what is called the A. B. C method of improvements. The A. being the attic, B. basement and C. The center of the home.

is your house cold drafty expensive to heat, heating cooling, home maintenance repairs, Rear overhang in process of removal of soffit

Is your house cold, drafty, expensive to heat?

This is us in the process of doing another home. Seeing were in the heating mode, I thought this may shed some light on why it happens. This house is a split level with several overhangs that extend the walls beyond the foundation. After doing a energy audit and interviewing the owner who complained of cold feet in the rooms where these overhangs were located. We opened up them and found that the builder on this 45 year old home used foil backed insulation that was 3" thick. The insulation was filled with mouse droppings, saturated damp with moisture due to attempts by the owner running humidifiers in the house with no results and insulation filled with dust collection from air leaks coming from the outside of the home.
We removed all of the soffits and removed all the damaged insulation. When looking up into the floor cavities we could see daylight out the other side of the house over 20 feet away. Light fixtures that were put into the ceiling leaked tremendous amounts of air when we did our air testing. All of this air was the result of leakage from the overhangs.
Once cleaned out we sprayed about 2.5 inches of closed cell insulation blocking the air flow from entering into the wall cavity. Followed by Eco Batt insulation that has a R rating of 30. The combined R value is R-48 for the overhangs.
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Woodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.com
Woodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.com