I am honored once again to have Christopher G. Hill, LEED AP to post again. He is a Virginia Supreme Court certified mediator, construction lawyer and owner of the Richmond, VA firm, The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill, PC. Chris authors...Read More »
When it comes to ones exterior HVAC unit, most people wonder, is there a way to hide it, reduce the amount of noise which is what we covered in our Spring & Summer HVAC FAQ. Once the leaves start &/or snow starts falling the questions change to should I...Read More »
As the weather starts turning colder many start wondering – should I replace my windows, get a storm door, install storm windows, or??? Shoot I live in an area governed by an HOA and they won’t allow them, are there other options? For others, I replaced my windows last...Read More »
When buying new doors & windows (for either new or remodeling) most manufacturers generally require a rough opening size 1/2″ larger than the actual unit size. This requirement is just in case things are not perfectly square or plumb. So how should one finish it off after the unit is...Read More »
I am air-sealing & insulating my attic trying to help prevent ice dams which included adding baffles in each bay. Well while looking outside I see that I only have one vented panel every 4′. Do I need to change out / use ventilated soffits outside only? Hmm, how about the...Read More »
It seems there are numerous questions regarding the outside HVAC unit – from how can I hide it, can I build a deck over it, to does shading it really help save me money? Well lets see if we can help answer some of these typical spring & summertime questions and look at...Read More »
The guy I have installing my vinyl siding just placed the foam over the old “Tyvek”, is that ok or should he have removed it first? The house has tar paper &/or XYZ on it, can I just go over it / will that cause moisture issues? I had a few...Read More »
I just drained my tank, how long will it take to heat up? How much hot water can I expect with my shower running? Will I have enough hot water with three teenage girls… These are just a few questions that revolve around just how well a water heater will actually...Read More »
What is the ideal temperature I should keep my freezer & refrigerator at; is it really 0º & 40º? Doesn’t “freezing” always mean things are frozen? I turn my thermostat up during the summer & down during the winter to save electricity, hmm can I raise the temperature of my freezer likewise to save? Recently...Read More »
I don’t have room to put a freezer there… can I leave it outside on my back porch, in an unheated garage, the basement, laundry room??? What happens if it isn’t in the house & temperatures soar or dip below zero, will I have any issues?
One of the first considerations is not only...Read More »
It seems like every winter the question pops up – why are my windows sweating / have so much condensation on them. It seems invariably that someone pops up with change out your single pane windows with double or triple paned windows… which in many cases turns into “sounds good but I...Read More »
One of the biggest questions out there is which direction should my fan be running and how can I tell. You look at the switch and realize it isn’t any help as they don’t even have an arrow saying which way the fan is blowing or even a simple pictograph...Read More »
So there you are walking through your favorite home improvement store and there is an insulation blanket or kit for water heaters. Hmm, does that really work? Maybe you pull your smartphone out & it brings you to a piece like this one from...Read More »
If you have been in the building industry any length of time, you know how confusing things can get with manufacturers stating you need to do X, which might be opposite of what the codes state, or figuring out which code applies. Recently, I got the following note regarding our...Read More »
You can say one nice thing about lawsuits, they tend to grab ones attention & ask questions that they probably had never even considered before. For example after being quoted in a recent article saying “In some cases decking is installed in...Read More »
This is the final piece on Daylight Savings Time & Smoke Detectors. In this one we ask the final question, just how long is the unit good for aka when should I replace it?
While many manufacturers state 10 years...Read More »
Yes, for a few reasons. The primary reason for a stand-alone system is to make sure the battery is still alive & the unit is working properly. For interconnected units which will set every unit off, this is to ensure that a mouse or other critter hasn’t done any damage....Read More »
I am not sure you have caught it yet on the news or around the water cooler, but this Sunday marks the start of Daylight Savings Time (DST.) You can almost be guaranteed a piece on a clock shop & a reminder to change out your smoke detectors batteries. Amazingly most forget...Read More »
Growing up one basically started the day with the newspaper. One guilty pleasure section for some guys (yeah I read one or two… occasionally) was Dear Abby, where one would write in about an issue they were having – personal, financial, how to handle whatever. They would then generally end...Read More »
If you follow our Monthly Maintenance Program, the first item we have listed is “Change out your HVAC filter.” This has brought up a few questions, namely:
- Do I need to change it out every month & if I don’t what will happen?
- I...Read More »
In short the answer is generally yes, they should be closed up during the winter months. If you follow our Monthly Maintenance Schedule, we recommend the month of October as a good time to do this.
There are a couple of reasons for...Read More »
Have you ever heard the saying, if you could just keep the water out of homes, they would last forever. Well there is one more character out there which can be just as insidious & even more crafty…
This map goes by many names but most refer to it as simply TIPS or...Read More »
Lately there have been some interesting discussions on exactly what is required for a Read More », especially as it relates to rough in tests & ducts located outside the conditioned envelope. Many of these problems seem to stem with not only a lack of knowledge of what the...
I couldn’t help but take this shot when I was in Chicago the other day as I loved the architectural detail & how it stood out from the other buildings. While some work was definitely going on inside which involved a large dumpster (renovation), some work was going on outside...Read More »
For the bulk of the year, energy costs are not a big concern to many and instead most calls relate to comfort, safety or health issues. We are now starting to get to an interesting time of year of when energy costs actually become more of a concern for many....Read More »
Let me start off with one quick key point to keep in mind, ventilation is not about energy savings; rather it is about the building occupant’s health, safety, & comfort. Yes, the choices one makes can play a factor on energy costs & savings but that should not be ones...Read More »
When it comes to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) there is a ton of good information out there & likewise there is a ton of bad information out there. While many of us might have thought that the corner was turned on the whole “my house needs to breathe” myth, it...Read More »
An Air Barrier is technically defined as an item that has been tested to only allow for a certain amount of air to pass or permeate through it. The official standard is that an item should have an air permeance level of less than 0.02 L/(s•m2) @ 75 Pa (0.004...Read More »
While no one can say those in the “Green” / Energy Efficiency fields march in lock step like the Borg, I couldn’t resist using that line from Star Trek. The reason, well it appears that a big part of the collective is moving towards using kBtu/SF for measuring usage....Read More »
The Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 (aka EPAct) established a $2000 tax credit for eligible contractors / builders for every new home sold that is certified to meet certain “energy efficiency” standards. While this was initially scheduled to expire at the end of 2007, the tax credit has been...Read More »
While “a watched pot never boils” has been proven to be incorrect, did you know there is an interesting phenomenon that makes that perception feel like reality? How about water can be at 32° F and still not be frozen? Well lets introduce you to two interesting terms; latent &...Read More »
Living in Arizona, I used to love traveling up to Flagstaff especially during the winter months. One of my favorite places was the Little America as not only did they have a huge roaring fire, an awesome buffet, great Christmas light display, but some of the largest icicles I have...Read More »
When reading over a contract or talking to almost any contractor there are three items you will generally hear or see; your project will be built to code, we will follow accepted industry standards, and it will of course pass inspection. Shoot,...Read More »
I love salesmen, the ultimate bringers of truth, justice, and the American way. Oops… I’m sorry about that & yes you can wipe the coffee off your monitor – I promise no more bad jokes. In all seriousness, while there are many well intentioned companies, individuals, and programs that...Read More »
We originally started this series on Radiant Heat with an article entitled “Don’t just jump on the bandwagon” & followed it up by a guest post from Todd Vendituoli on his installation of an under the slab system & the benefits of a Radiant Hydronic System. As...Read More »
Just mentioning the word mold or as it is known across the pond as “mould” is enough to send some people directly into panic mode. With the toxic mold scare from years ago many insurance companies (especially after losing millions) no longer cover mold damage or remediation as they...Read More »
The NFRC or National Fenestration Rating Council basically tests & labels glass products used on buildings like doors, windows, and skylights. The label will include who the manufacturer is, a brief description of the product, and the official ratings for one or more of performance characteristics for that product....Read More »
Ok, we know the toilet really isn’t sweating over the burial at sea of one aforementioned Barbie doll, performed with full military honors by none other than one little Timmy… so why is it sweating? The short answer is it’s not; it simply is the water in the air...Read More »
The pascal aka “Pa” is simply a unit used to measure pressure on a manometer. In this context, pressure (p) is the measurement of force acting on a unit area with respect to (WRT) another. One example is when we are testing an HVAC’s system ductwork; we pressurize the...Read More »
HERS or the Home Energy Rating System is the industries benchmarking tool for modeling a home’s energy use. The system is comprised of two parts; an index and a score. The index is linear with two static points; a “0” equates to a net-zero home (one that produces as much...Read More »
A Radiant Barrier (RB) is a product designed to only block radiant heat transfer from happening and is rated based on its reflectivity & emissivity values per ASTM C 1313. In order to qualify as a Radiant Barrier it must have a reflectivity rating of .9 or...Read More »
Heat is energy and refers only to the transfer of this energy between or through items and not the stored energy of the item (aka its temperature). While this difference might appear to be subtle, it is very important to understand the distinction between the two, & how this...Read More »
Stack or Chimney Effect describes the natural phenomena of how air moves into and out of a building, a chimney, a flue pipe, or other type of container. This is caused mainly by pressure & temperature differences – the bigger the difference, the bigger the effect is.
For most people...Read More »
ACH or ACH50 stands Air Changes per Hour. It is a standardized measurement using a calibrated blower door designed to see how leaky a home or building is. While the test & many of the terms are a popular means of expressing leakage, they can also be very misleading.
Just like any other scientific field, building science is constantly evolving as new information, testing, and materials are released. Unfortunately in some cases the acronym’s, amount &/or type of information provided is not only hard to understand, but can also be meaningless...Read More »
I still remember it like yesterday, my partner in crime was talking to a whole bunch of suits – “While we tried to eliminate most of the TLA’s, three letter acronym’s, there are still a few we can’t get around, so if you have a question about one, please feel...Read More »
As many of you know or have seen, we at SLS Construction are now offering Residential, Commercial, & Industrial Infrared Thermographic Inspections throughout Alabama. This has led to a few questions that we thought we would try to answer all in one place.
In layman’s terms, what is Infrared Thermography?
It...Read More »
As the property owner you have a question you should seriously consider, due to the increased costs of the EPA’s RRP rules, should I get my house or areas that are being worked on tested for lead, or should everyone just assume lead is present and proceed accordingly? In...Read More »
My neighbors tree fell on my shed, across my driveway, or on my fence – whose insurance covers the damage? Unfortunately, your insurance company is the one that gets the call for damage to your property and is responsible for the tree cleanup on your property, while you get stuck paying...Read More »
The goal of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is to help homeowners find the right professional partner to do their remodeling. Whether it is updating a kitchen to make it more efficient, turning an ordinary bathroom into a haven of rest and relaxation, or adding a room...Read More »
It seems like everywhere you turn – people are talking about building or remodeling green. Well what is it exactly?
The truth of the matter is that building “Green” is simply a marketing term used to denote that a house has been built or remodeled using earth friendly ideas & principles....Read More »
Should you attempt that next Home Improvement Project yourself, or would it be a better choice to hire a remodeling professional? This simple quiz originally was created by NARI and is not meant to scare you or push you into hiring a contractor, but to help you make an informed...Read More »