1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

November 20, 2008

:325 Chemicals in Water

Filed under: :325 Chemicals in Water — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:26 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.

1:5:10:325 EcoTip: Municipal drinking water must be tested for a number of different chemicals and contaminants. These test results are available upon request and many communities post the results on line. If your water comes from a well, or you have concerns about your water quality, you can have it tested for many of the common chemical contaminants.

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 Additional Information:

National Testing Laboratories offers water analysis for a variety of inorganic chemicals, metals and VOCs.

Here’s a link to the USEPA water quality standards: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/index.html

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November 19, 2008

:324 Pesticides in Water

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.

1:5:10:324 EcoTip: Agricultural runoff results in many types of pesticides and herbicides contaminating our water supplies. If you have concerns about your water quality, you can have it tested for many of the common pesticide and herbicide contaminants. For more information about pesticides in water check out the Pesticide Watch resource center

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 Additional Information:

National Testing Laboratories offers pesticide in water analysis for the following pesticides, herbicides and PCBs.

Alachlor, Atrazine, Chlordane, Aldrin, Dichloran, Dieldrin, Endrin, Heptachlor, Heptachlor epoxide, Hexachlorbenzene, Hexachlorocyclopentadiene,  Lindane, Methoxychlor, Pentachloronitrobenzene, Silvex (2,4,5-TP), Simazine, Toxaphene, Trifluralin, 2,4-D.

Here’s a link to the USEPA water quality standards: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/index.html

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November 18, 2008

:323 Bacteria in Water

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.

1:5:10:323 EcoTip: The presence of E. coli in water is an indicator that sewage or animal wastes may be contaminating your water supply. Testing for E. coli and coliform bacteria is a simple screening test that can tell you if your well or water supply is contaminated with waste material.

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 Additional Information:

National testing laboratories provides a test kit for the presence or absence of E. coli and coliform bacteria with results two days after the samples are received by the laboratory.

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November 17, 2008

:322 Radon in Water

Filed under: :322 Radon in Water — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:21 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.

1:5:10:322 EcoTip: Radon doesn’t always enter a home from the soil. Homes on wells or small community based water cooperatives should check their water for radon if elevated levels are identified in the home’s air. In some cases people have spent a few hundred to couple of thousand dollars to unsuccessfully fix their home’s radon problem – only to find out the source was their water – requiring a completely different fix. Municipal systems are required to monitor radiation levels – so they shouldn’t be an issue.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :128, 129, 130

A variety of methods are available for removing radon from water. One method involves aerating the water and venting the radon gas to the outside before the water is brought into the home. Another method uses activated carbon to “scrub’ the radon from the water. Since the half life of radon is a little less than 4 days, two whole house carbon filters are used and alternated at 4 day intervals. This prevents the radon level from building up too high. 

If you suspect radon in water you can have it tested by contacting National Testing Laboratories.

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November 16, 2008

:321 Winter Fan Blade Direction

Filed under: :321 Winter Fan Blade Direction — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:10 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.

1:5:10:321EcoTip: If you use your home ceiling fan in winter – the direction of the fan blades should be reversed from the way it is operated in summer. This can help reduce your winter heating bill by helping to circulate the warm air so it doesn’t just sit up at the ceiling. You also don’t want the fan blowing down on you which increases the evaporative cooling on the skin and can make you feel colder. During the winter, operate your ceiling fan so that it is sucking air upward at a slow speed. To check to see if it is rotating in the correct direction – stand directly beneath the fan while it operates on high. If you feel a breeze, the blades are spinning in the wrong direction for winter.

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 Additional Information:

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November 15, 2008

:320 Can Lights & Ice Dams

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.

1:5:10:320 EcoTip: Can lights in the attic can provide enough heat to melt snow on the roof and result in ice dams. To prevent this install ICAT rated can lights. ICAT stands for Insulation Contact, Air Tight. Not only will they help prevent heat from the can light from getting into the attic but will help same energy as well.

infiltration-2

Courtesy of MoistureView.com

The infrared thermal image above shows cold infiltration around this old uninsulated can light in a kitchen ceiling. ICAT can lights are permitted to have the insulation contacting them. The one in the thermal image wastes energy because code does not permit the insulation to come into contact with it due to the fire hazard. Where the cold comes in – the heat goes out which can lead to the ice daming condition.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :044

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November 14, 2008

:319 Eave Ventilation

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.

1:5:10:319 EcoTip: Insulation in eaves needs to be present to save energy loss and prevent ice dams from forming in areas with snow. If not properly installed the insulation can block the eave vents and prevent proper ventilation of the attic. The following illustration shows one way of insulating while allowing attic ventilation through the eave vents and helping to prevent ice dams from forming.

 185-eave-vent1

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :317, :318

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November 13, 2008

:318 Predict Ice Dams

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.

1:5:10:318 EcoTip: Thermal imaging can be used to predict locations on the roof where ice dams are likely to form. The thermal imaging camera is used to locate hot spots. These represent the areas where snow will melt. If the melted snow has to run down an area of roof where the water will refreeze, then the formation of an ice dam becomes more likely.

184-missing-insulation-ir11

Courtesy of MoistureView.com

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :313, :317

The large blue area in the thermal image above represents a cold area with missing insulation where the attic eave vent is located. The heat from the house will escape upwards warming the underside of the roof. If snow is present the extra warmth may cause it to melt and run down the roof onto the cold overhang. If conditions are right the water will refreeze and form a dam that prevents subsequent water flowing downward from draining off the roof. This water can then migrate into the home. This thermal image can be used to predict that water from any ice dam that forms from this missing insulation is more likely to drain down into the wall cavity causing damage.

Tomorrow’s 1:5:10:365 EcoTip will show how this eave area could be insulated and ventilated at the same time.

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November 12, 2008

:317 Prevent Ice Dams

Filed under: :317 Prevent Ice Dams — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:50 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.

1:5:10:317 EcoTip: Ice dams occur when roof snow melts over warm areas of a roof then refreezes as it runs down into colder areas. The frozen blockage creates a dam that prevents the water from draining from the roof. The water that becomes trapped can then migrate up under the roof shingles and drain into the house causing water damage. This can be especially expensive when the water drains into the wall cavities and isn’t discovered and dried quickly.

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 Additional Information:

Tomorrow’s 1:5:10:365 EcoTip shows you how to predict areas where ice dams are likely to occur.

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November 11, 2008

316: Scald Prevention

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.

1:5:10:316 EcoTip: Install a scald prevention system. This allows your hot water heater to operate at a high enough temperature to prevent Legionella pneumophilia from growing in your hot water system, but automatically mixes cold water to a preset temperature for safety. A scald prevention valve at each hot water fixture then acts as an extra safety device to shut-off the water flow as a fail- safe should the temper valve stop working.

anti_scald_domesticTemper valve

 

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :146

Anti-scald devices are now required by U.S. law in all new plumbing installations. An anti-scald device shuts the water off when the temperature exceeds 120°F (49°C) but it doesn’t temper the water temperature. This means that in the U.S. the water heater is frequently used to keep the temperature low. 

Lower temperatures save energy and help prevent scalds but they may also lead to the growth of Legionella pneumophilia  in the hot water heater. These conflicting issues are discussed in :146.

According to the Washington based National Coalition to prevent childhood injury tapwater scald injuries are the second most common cause of serious burn injuries and are responsible for over 100 deaths a year in the United States (mostly children under 5 and elders over 65)

According to the Austrailian green plumbing firm Highlander Plumbing the following regulations apply in Austrailia (but the information is valid anywhere):

AS 1056.1
With reference to clause 3.2.2 the thermostat for a storage water heater shall be set at not less than 60°C. This clause then explains that a minimum setting of 60°C is specified on the advice of the Department of Health, NSW, that bacteria Legionella pneumophillia do not survive in temperatures above 55°C.

AS 3500.4
With reference to Clause 1.10.2, Part B, all new hot water installations shall deliver hot water not exceeding 50°C in residential buildings, at the outlet of all sanitary fixtures used primarily for personal hygiene purposes.

Here are the facts:…

  • at 50°C, a deep scald takes 5 minutes in an adult or child;
  • at 54°C, a deep scald takes 35 second in an adult and 10 seconds for a child;
  • at 60°C, a deep scald takes 6 second for an adult and 1 second for a child;
  • at 65°C, 2 seconds for an adult and 0.5 seconds for a child;
  • at 70°C, in a typical factory setting – 1 second for an adult.

Tempered water is compulsory on all new residential developments in NSW. You cannot simply turn the heater down or you will breed Legionella. The tank must stay hot, but the water coming out must be tempered down.

*A tempering valve has on average a 5yr lifespan and cannot be serviced. We recommend replacement after 5 yrs. This valve is a safety valve and cannot be serviced. If the valve fails to operate it is to be replaced.

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