1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

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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December 25, 2008

:360 Condensation 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.

1:5:10:360 EcoTip: Condensation on cold surfaces can be eliminated by reducing the humidity. Reducing the humidity lowers the dew point temperature. By lowering the dew point temperature below the temperature of the coldest surface condensation can be eliminated.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :359

Humidity can be lowered by reducing the amount of moisture that is going into the air. Ventilating cooking, laundry and bathroom moisture to the outside can help. If moisture is entering the building from the outside – for example through a concrete slab or from outdoor elevated humidity, then dehumidification may be needed in the winter.

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September 4, 2008

:248 Dust Curtain

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:248 EcoTip: A dust curtain is another name for a containment barrier that can be used during remodeling and construction to help isolate dust and debris to the work area so that it is less likely to travel throughout the rest of a home. A dust curtain is simply a sheet of polyethylene plastic that is sealed at doorways to prevent the construction dusts from passing. Ideally you will enter and exit the construction area directly from the outside to help avoid tracking dust and debris through the home. Dust curtains work best with air flow controls – which is the topic for tomorrow.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :0247

Taping polyethylene plastic directly to painted and other sensitive surfaces with duct tape can damage them when the tape is removed. Affixing the plastic with quick release tape (the special blue or green tapes) typically doesn’t have the strength to hold up by itself. To keep the plastic in place – afix 2″ or 3″ quick release tape to the wall around the door then use duct tape to adhere the plastic to the quick release tape. This will provide a stronger attachment for the dust curtain without causing the same degree of damage. You can frequently send the plastic to a recycling center when your done.

If there is a door present you can use the quick release tape to seal the seams and skip the plastic.

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September 3, 2008

:247 Remodeling Dust

Filed under: :247 Remodeling Dust — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 7:27 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:247 EcoTip: During remodeling and construction activities dust and debris can travel throughout the rest of a home making quite a mess. These dusts can also have adverse health impacts – especially for people with allergies, asthma and other respiratory difficulties. Regardless of health – its still a mess and takes a lot of time to clean up. Over the next several days my 1:5:10:365 EcoTips will show you ways to help reduce and control this dust.

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 Additional Information:

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August 28, 2008

:241 Outdoor Flea Control

Filed under: :241 Outdoor Flea Control — Tags: , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:19 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:242 EcoTip: About a week ago I suggested using flea traps for indoor flea infestations (:233). It is important to also break the outdoor cycle. This can be done by treating any outdoor area pets frequent with Steinernema nematodes. Steinernema carpocapsae are best suited for cooler climates, whereas Steinernema feltiae work better in warm climates. 

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :233

According to ARBICO-organicsbeneficial nematodes:

  • Nematodes will eliminate all types of pests that have a subterranean soil stage.
  • Nematodes are exempt from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations because they are not harmful to humans or animals.
  •  Nematodes seek and enter hosts in the soil.
  • Nematodes release bacteria which paralyze and kill the host.
  • Nematodes reproduce and feed upon the host while undergoing several life cycles.
  • Second stage juveniles develop waxy cuticles and leave the cadaver in search of a new host.

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June 8, 2008

:160 Vinegar Weed Control

Filed under: :160 Vinegar Weed Control — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:59 am

1:5:10:160 EcoTip: Today’s tip comes from the Butterfly Garden at the Norfolk, Virginia Botanical Gardens. They use vinegar as an herbicide. This non-toxic form of weed control is suitable for organic gardens (especially if you use organic vinegar from your health food store) and  doesn’t harm the butterflies or the environment, but controls most types of weeds.

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 Additional Information:

Spray the weeds foliage with the undiluted vinegar while they are young – especially before they go to seed. Vinegar is approximately 5% acetic acid. Be careful not to spray plants that you don’t want damaged. If you accidentally get some on the leaves of other plants, you can rinse them with water.

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April 16, 2008

:107 Insect Exclusion

Filed under: :107 Excluding Insects — Tags: , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 1:01 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:107 EcoTip: Stucco weep screeds frequently leave gaps between the foundation and the screed. This can permit insect entry.

A properly installed weep screed will allow moisture to drain but exclude insects.

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Additional Information

Suggested Review – :106

The weep screed should be sealed to the foundation so that the only openings are the weep holes that permit water to drain. These weep holes are designed to help exclude insect. What needs to be sealed is the gap that may be present between the weed screed and the foundation or stem wall of your home. I’ve seen these openings be large enough to insert ones fingers (scary thought). The sealant should be a silicone elastic caulk material that can expand and contract as conditions change. It should be checked every year to be sure it remains in good condition. This is usually best accomplished by using a mirror to give you a better observation angle.

When applying the sealant, it may be helpful to apply painters tape to cover and protect the weep holes from becoming clogged with sealant. Once the sealant has been applied the tape is removed to uncover the holes.

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April 6, 2008

:097 Snail Bait

Filed under: :097 NonToxic Snail Bait — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 7:39 am

Suggested Review – :095, :096

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:097 Tip: Many snail baits are extremely toxic to pets, children and the environment. A safer alternative is iron phoshate in pellet form.

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Additional Information

 Sluggo slug & snail bait claims to be the only control product for these pests that is not based on the toxin metaldehyde.

The iron phosphate and slug and snail attractant in this product breaks down into an organic gardening approved plant fertilizer. The label also says it can be used around edible plants right up to the day of harvest. The product label can be viewed at http://www.montereylawngarden.com/products/organic/

 

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March 10, 2008

:070 Clip 1/3

Filed under: :070 Clip 1/3 — Tags: , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am
4020_2.jpg Credit: OSU Extension

Suggested Review – :068, :069

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:070 Tip: When cutting your lawn, never clip more than 1/3 the length of the grass at one time. If you let it get too long, clip it at no more than the 1/3 length, let the cut dry a short while then clip it again. Clipping no more than 1/3 will help promote a lush thick lawn that helps eliminate chemicals for weed control.

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Additional Information

Ohio State University has on-line information on cutting your lawn at: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/4000/4020.html

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