1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

September 9, 2010

Shore Bank closed by Fed

Filed under: :298 Eco Banking — John Banta @ 4:40 pm

This last week I received a notice that my account with Shore Bank has been affected by a take over by the Fed. My account remains intact and was FDIC insured – but it sure is frustrating. Anyway I now need to decide what new eco-investment I want to consider.

By way of full discolosure – I have never received any compensation for listing any of the products listed on this blog.

July 2, 2009

Fetal Damage from Low CO Levels

This is huge! A recently released UCLA study has shown that levels of  of carbon monoxide cause damage to fetal rats at much lower levels than was previously thought to be dangerous.  For more information – here is the link: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/ucla-study-uncovers-how-chronic-94824.aspx

January 28, 2009

2009 Ice Storms

Here we go again. over a million people are without power due to ice storms across the Midwest stretching down into Texas. Ice storms are a huge problem for buildings constructed in areas where they are not common.

One of the things that is happening is warmer temperatures in the outer atmosphere mean there is more moisture. When this moisture condenses it begins to fall as rain. If surface conditions are below freezing, the rain drops freeze and become ice. When upper atmosphere temperatures are cold the water falls as snow not rain. Snow is less damaging since it weighs about 1/10th as much as ice.

In addition to the power outages – we should anticipate an increase in building roof collapses. Steeper sloped roofs are better equipped to deal with this extreme weather where at least some of the ice will generally slide off. Flat roofs tend to accumulate the ice and are more likely to collapse from the load.

Some areas have been reported to already have about 6 inches of ice with another 6 inches potentially falling in the next 24 hours. Twelve inches of ice on a roof weighs about 60 pounds. That is a huge amount of weight for a roof since many roofs in areas that are not commonly exposed to the weight from ice and snow have been built to hold a minimum of twenty pounds. 

We should also anticipate problems with frozen plumbing and ice dams.

For more information about these topics type the following key words into the search engine for this site (right hand column) do one search at a time: ice dam, plumbing, thermal imaging, roof, can light, frozen.

iicrc-logo02-old

If you need help with damage – the  IICRC is the place to go for a referral to a specialist in these types of problems. The following is from their web-site:

The IICRC is a nationally accredited, non-profit certification body that works to protect consumers from deceptive and unreliable companies in the cleaning, restoration and inspection industry. IICRC-Certified Firms and Technicians must meet the highest industry standards to maintain their good standing.

IICRC offers water and flood damage tips at http://www.certifiedcleaners.org/ts_tips_advice.shtml you can use their directory search to help find a certified firm or call 1-800-835-4624.

John Banta is the author of Extreme Weather Hits Home: Protecting Our Buildings from Climate Change.

January 14, 2009

Airetrak Bathroom Fan Control

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

The bathroom ventilation fan may be able to be used to help provide fresh air to help reduce moisture and improve indoor air quality. Make sure the fresh air is coming from a clean outside source. The Airetrak bathroom fan control from Tamarack Technologies is one low cost way to adapt your existing bath fan for this use. When needed it allows full fan capacity for extra ventilation for example when showering. Then adjusts the fan speed downward for constant ventilation to meet fresh air needs.

 airetrak6220220web20small 

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 Additional Information: http://www.tamtech.com/store/universal-fan-control,Product.asp

The Airetrak line of bath fan controls allow builders and homeowners to meet ASHRAE 62.2 guidelines for indoor air quality, and also make the home Energy Star capable.

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December 31, 2008

Day 366

Today is December 31, 2008. Since this was a leap year that makes today day 366. Happy New Year! For the last year I have posted a 1:5:10:365 EcoTip. I’ve had a number of people ask what I intend to do once the year of posts was completed.

It is my intention to continue posting – but probably not every single day. For the last year I’ve been encouraging people to do one thing for 5 to 10 minutes a day to help improve our home and planet. Prior to beginning this project our family had already taken many of the actions that were discussed - but there is always more that can be done. For this next year I plan to refine and improve those things about our home that will make it a better more sustainable place. I will report on those projects as they progress.

Yesterday I tackled our hot water heater. I don’t know its exact age, because it was present in our home when we moved in about 5 years ago, but it is making a lot of noise, which tells me its full of sediment. I tried draining the sediment and found there was enough to clog the drain valve – so I ended up spending about half the day changing out the drain valve, pressure relief valve and checking the sacrificial anode (:209, :210, :212, :213). The anode is still in good shape – so I will recheck it again in about two years. By the time I finished all this, there wasn’t enough time to finish flushing out the sediment. That will be my project for today.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

John Banta

December 30, 2008

:365 Soy Seal Foam Insulation

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:365 EcoTip: Soy Seal polyurethane foam sealant contains approximately 12% soy based polyol and no CFCs. It is Greenguard Certified. The product is available in an insulating foam for gaps and cracks and another for windows and doors.

soyseal1 Source: http://www.soyseal.net/

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 Additional Information:

Suggested: :071,  :072

It is important to use the correct expanding foam for sealing. Using a gap and crack foam for windows and doors may cause damage to the openings by expanding too forcefully. 

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December 29, 2008

:364 Solar Clothes Dryer

Filed under: :364 Solar Clothes Dryer — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 5:10 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:364 EcoTip: EPA’s EnergyStar program doesn’t rate clothes dryers because they are all about the same. There is one important solar exception which unfortunately has been banned from a number of communities.

thteepost 

Source : http://www.clotheslineshop.com/

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

Consider using a clothes line whenever weather permits and use your clothes dryer only when necessary. During winter the temperature only needs to be a few degrees above freezing in order to dry clothes. A slight breeze also helps speed the drying.

Although all clothes dryers use about the same amount of energy to do the same thing, it is important to keep them operating properly. Clogged lint screens or improper installations can waste lots of energy. These issues have been covered in other posts.

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December 28, 2008

:363 Clothes Washers

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:363 EcoTip: The energy efficiency and water used by clothes washers can vary dramatically. In general side load washers are more economical than top load units. When rating clothes washers – EPA also considers how much water is removed by the spin cycle. The more water that remains behind – the more energy wasted in the dryer.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

EPA’s EnergyStar program has rated clothes washers for water consumption and energy efficiency. You can view a list of the top qualifying models at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=clotheswash.search_clotheswashers

Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

December 27, 2008

:362 Attic Ice

Filed under: :362 Attic Ice — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 5:08 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:362 EcoTip: Winter is a good time to check for attic ice. If it is not coming from leaks or ice dams then there must be excessive moisture coming into the attic from somewhere that is freezing on the cold underside of the roof. It may be that the attic ventilation is inadequate, but is also very likely that a moisture source is releasing moisture into the attic. Double check bathroom, laundry and kitchen vents to be sure they are dumping moisture laden air outside and not into the attic. The air infiltration sealing techniques discussed elsewhere in this blog may also help (search term infiltration).

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

I inspected one home that was having problems with ice forming in the attic then melting onto the ceiling and walls when the days began to warm. The problem had suddenly developed one year. It turned out that a plumber had pulled the vapor barrier off the soil in the crawlspace to work on the septic line, and had not replace the barrier. The excess moisture coming off the soil was able to infiltrate all the way up through the house into the attic and was  sufficient to cause the problem to develop. Replacing the plastic barrier on the soil solved the problem.

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December 26, 2008

:361 Dehumidifiers

Filed under: :361 Dehumidifiers — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 5:07 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:361 EcoTip: A dehumidifier can help manage moisture levels – but make sure you choose an energy saving unit that will work in the desired temperature range. Many consumer grade dehumidifiers waste lots of energy and don’t work well at temperatures less than 65 degrees F.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :360

A client of mine had a wet unconditioned basement. He installed a dehumidifier to help take care of the excess moisture, but found in spite of the unit running 24 hours a day – it wasn’t lowering the humidity and things were getting moldy. When I inspected his basement I found the temperature was around 50 degrees F and unit was frozen up and unable to remove the elevated levels of moisture that were present. Mold was growing on the things that were stored in the basement. I found that the unit he had purchased had an optimal operating temperature around 68 degrees and was not rated to operate at the colder basement temperatures. There are molds that can grow at temperatures all the way down to freezing (although slowly).

Additional information is available at the EPA’s EnergyStar website: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=dehumid.pr_basics_dehumidifiers

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