My helpful home tips

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narcoleptish
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby narcoleptish » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:01 am

fennel wrote:
narcoleptish wrote:I have one of those dryer vent diverters that vents the warm air into the basement during the winter, outside in the warm weather. I don't know why more people don't use them, a load of clothes is a huge amount of heated air.
Probably not a good idea with a gas-run dryer.


Thanks Fennel, I should have mentioned that it is not recommended for gas dryers. I've never bothered to learn why a gas furnace or water heater needs a more regulated (seemingly) exhaust system than a gas dryer, and why a gas range needs none at all? It's all the same gas..

You do have to be careful about the moisture, especially if you do a lot of laundry. I've never noticed a problem.

snoqueen
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Re: My helpful winter home tips

Postby snoqueen » Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:56 pm

I've been noticing a few posts (Measurable snow thread) about snow and ice accumulation on one's roof. I struggled with this (roof raking, salt, etc.) for a few years until I discovered heat tape.


I wasn't sure I wanted to wade into this one, but here goes. There are several reasons heat tape is a poor solution to ice dams, and lots of better solutions. Here's a link to a fairly long discussion full of worthwhile detail:

http://bct.eco.umass.edu/publications/b ... -ice-dams/

I selected this link specificially because it is not from a manufacturer or installer of roof products, insulation etc.

Quick outline of their reasoning:
Ice dams usually develop along roof eaves, above the plate line of exterior walls....There are two reasons for increased heat loss at this point: Rafters on most homes sit directly on top of exterior walls leaving a shallow space for insulation....And secondly, builders are not particularly fussy when it comes to air-sealing this point to prevent the movement of warm indoor air up to the underside of the roof surface....

The damage caused by ice dams can be controlled in 2 ways: Maintain the entire roof surface at ambient outdoor temperatures or build a roof so that it can’t leak into sensitive building materials if an ice dam forms....

And what about those heat tapes? In my entire life, I have never seen a zig-zag arrangement of electrically-heated cable work to fix an ice dam problem. The cable is heated by electric power, so you throw good energy after bad energy.... Over time heat tape embrittles shingles, creates a fire risk, are expensive to install and use, and leak water through loose fasteners. In fact take a good look at roofs that are equipped with heat tape. The electric cable creates an ice dam just above it....

...focus on the cause. Ice dams are created by the heat lost from the house....Ventilate, insulate well and block as many air leaks as practical.


They go into detail regarding blocking air leaks, better roofing materials, etc. if you want to follow up. Every roof and every house is different, so if your place repeatedly has leak problems due to ice you might ask someone with experience to help.

city2countrygal
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby city2countrygal » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:06 am

Thank you for the link and the info snoqueen. I am going to research it and we are going to permantely fix the problem when we have the roof redone.

I'm suggesting heat tape as a temporary solution for one or two seasons until the owners are able to invest in a full redo, pending insurance coverage for ice dams. That kind of work is pricey!

After mopping my floors and using towels, rugs, blankets, whatever, to clean up water running in my living room from ice damning and into my basement, this will be the second year I have the heat tape up with no such water issues. And it also beats roof raking. Who wants to roof rake after you have already shoveled or plowed your driveway?

narcoleptish
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby narcoleptish » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:46 am

city2countrygal wrote: Who wants to roof rake after you have already shoveled or plowed your driveway?


What's worse is clearing the sidewalk and driveway and THen remembering that the roof raking is going to cover up some of those areas again. Yes, I've done that.

When I do get around to re-roofing my house I'm going to use Ice & Water Shield at least half way up the roof instead of just the recommended/required first 3 feet.

Henry Vilas
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:40 am

narcoleptish wrote:When I do get around to re-roofing my house I'm going to use Ice & Water Shield at least half way up the roof instead of just the recommended/required first 3 feet.

I had my roof reshingled a couple years ago and had six feet of ice and water shielf installed. It seems to have prevented ice damming, which was a problem in the past.

bdog
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby bdog » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:46 am


fennel
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby fennel » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:22 pm

More helpful home tips, please. Narcoleptish should get a special dispensation from the Goddess of Common Sense for seeding this thread.

Where does a practical person find replacement doors for an older house, for example? Just solid wood doors, not that "solid core" schmutz. ReStore and craigslist get you only so far.

Drywall tips? I've become a fan of plaster-like compounds for the first coat.

snoqueen
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby snoqueen » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:35 pm

I wish I could tell you where the people I bought my present house from got these nice solid oak replacement interior doors. Some are odd sized so I think they were all custom made. Does Brunsell still do this type of work? They did some custom millwork for my former house, but that was a decade ago.

http://brunsell.com/

fennel
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby fennel » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:18 pm

Thanks, Sno. We had Brunsell build some cabinets for our microscopic bathroom a few years back — only because our constraints gave us no alternative. Tiny bathrooms just don't exist in BoxStoreIsStan, apparently.

Bone-simple, but beautifully executed. It was a good choice, and we had no complications installing them (one late Saturday night) largely due to the foresight of their design person.

In this case, I was hoping for an alternative that doesn't require custom work. We are working with standard sizes, for once.

bdog
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby bdog » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:02 am

Disposable razors. They say you can make them last much longer by drying them off after each use. Been doing that but it doesn't seem to make a difference.

This morning I found the blue jean sharpening method

Will report back.

narcoleptish
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby narcoleptish » Sat Dec 19, 2015 2:01 pm

I've been back and forth between disposable and electric so many times. Currently back to electric and have no secrets for keeping disposables sharp. I hate shaving just a little bit less than I hate beards.

Have you ever pulled an old medicine cabinet out of the wall and found piles of old fashioned disposable blades? Old cabinets often had that slit in the back that apparently was for safe disposal of the blades.

narcoleptish
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby narcoleptish » Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:08 pm

Lots of ads running now for new windows and how much money you can save on energy costs. They leave out the fact that new windows cost a lot of money and quality ones cost even more. Those small energy savings will take a long time to pay for those windows.

A better strategy is to look at attic insulation. Lost heat through your roof causes a vacuum that sucks cold air into the house, usually through the windows and with a strong enough vacuum even new windows will leak.

For these reasons I always tell people that the main reason to get new windows should be because you really want nice new easily functioning windows, not because your contractor says you need them.

I'm also very against vinyl windows (as well as vinyl siding, fencing, sheds, furniture and pants). I know many people have had good luck with them but I've just seen too many instances where they've warped, shifted or fogged up between panes within a decade, to the point where they're no better than the 80 year old ones they replaced. Our weather swings are very hard on plastic.


***

Oh yeah, this is a good one.
If you shut off your water at the meter for any reason and especially if work is then done that will drain the pipes at all, when you go to turn it back on do it very gradually. Turn the knob or lever slowly until you hear water just beginning to flow and then just leave it like that until the flowing stops and things are back up to pressure. When you open the valve quickly the force of the water often vibrates the pipes and knocks built-up rust/dirt off of the insides and it all ends up clogging your aerators, showerheads and the screens where your washing machine hoses connect. I've seen aerators so clogged that water completely stops.

Do this yourself and request that your plumber do it also, because many of them don't.

Clogged aerators are almost always the cause of low water pressure and crappy water stream structure (I made that term up). They unscrew with a pliers or often just by hand and are easy to clean with a razor blade or little wire brush. Some are ridiculously complicated little assemblies but often most of the problem will be obvious. Built-up dirt on the inside and lime caked on the screen.

Another odd water pressure thing I've had happen: If your water valve has been off for awhile and you turn it back on and suddenly your water heater is leaking... you or your plumber probably didn't do anything wrong. A older water heater can have a tiny crack in the tank but will not leak because it's filled in with debris and the water pressure is enough to hold it there creating a seal (and in some extremely rare instances, a walrus) and with the pressure released for long enough this debris works loose and the crack opens up. Turn the pressure back on and you've got a leak. It sucks but it happens.

Henry Vilas
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:13 pm

Great tips, narcoleptish. Thanks.

fennel
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby fennel » Sat Dec 19, 2015 5:04 pm

We filled a pint jar with the razor blades that were behind our medicine cabinet. (circa 1956)

I've read the typical time to recover the investment for new windows is 25 years. By then, they probably will have failed.

gargantua
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Re: My helpful home tips

Postby gargantua » Sat Dec 19, 2015 5:10 pm

Mad City Windows will give you a $25 gift card for Arby's but only if you ACT NOW! So that makes it totally worth it.

God, I hate their ads.


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