1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

August 22, 2008

:235 Fried Dust

Filed under: :235 Fried Dust — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:05 am

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

1:5:10:235 EcoTip: Fried dust is a term used to describe the burned chemical odor that occurs when dirty furnace systems are operated. The dust that lands on the heat exchanger inside the furnace will vaporize when it gets hot. This released volatile organic compounds that can be quite a noxious odor. An efficient furnace filter and a sealed duct system can help prevent dust from settling on the heat exchanger to eliminate this problem.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :042, :043, :110

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March 12, 2008

:072 Dryer Duct Length

fantech.jpg

credit: Fantech

Suggested Review – :071

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

1:5:10:072 Tip: Check the length and number of angles for your clothes dryer’s ductwork. Ducts that are too long or have too many angles will slow drying and waste energy.

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Additional Information

The International Mechanical Code article 504.6 stipulates the requirements for Domestic clothes dryer ducts. In brief, the maximum length of duct permitted is 25 ft. This maximum length should be reduced by 2.5 ft for each 45-degree bend and 5 ft. for each 90-degree bend. The duct should be a minimum nominal size of 4 inches in diameter and shall have a smooth interior finish.

When a short dryer duct length is not possible, the “Advanced Dryer Booster Fan” by Fantech can assist in over coming the resistance by ensuring that moist air exhausts quickly. This reduces drying time and energy costs. The manufacture says their fan is suitable for duct runs of up to 60 linear feet of rigid duct with up to six elbows. 

www.fantech.net.

http://www.fantech.net/dryer_boosting.htm

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March 11, 2008

:071 Clean Dryer Duct

dryer.jpg

credit: http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/5022.html

Suggested Review – none

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

1:5:10:071 Tip: Clothes dryer ducts and lint screens should be cleaned on a regular basis to help prevent accumulation. This is important for fire prevention and results in more energy efficient drying (of course solar dryers* work even better).
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Additional InformationThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 1998, clothes dryers were associated with 15,600 fires, which resulted in 20 deaths and 370 injuries. Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. Lint can block the flow of air, cause excessive heat build-up, and result in a fire in some dryers.

Information about cleaning dryer ducting is available at:

http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/5022.html

* solar dryer: clothes line

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February 24, 2008

:055 Donate – Don’t Toss

Filed under: :055 Donate Don't Toss — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Suggested Review – none

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

1:5:10:055 Tip: Before you throw any clothing out – Think about recycling it. Someone else may have a use. If you can sell it at a garage sale, swap meet, or on-line, and make a few bucks – that’s still a form of recycling! Even ragged clothes that can’t be worn anymore have a recycling use. So if you can’t sell them –  give them away by donating to one of the many charities that have collection boxes around town.

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Additional Information

As I was researching this tip, I came across a comment by someone that said not to donate scrap clothing to Goodwill or other charities because they have to pay to have them hauled away. This may be true for some charities but my research led me to the American Baler website where they state: “Today Goodwill Industries also funds its programs through the resale of surplus textiles. Donated clothing and linens that do not sell in Goodwill retail stores are sold to brokers or buyers who typically recycle or resell the items in Third World countries. “… “Some items are resold as clothes and household goods; many are reprocessed into rugs and rags.” They typically get paid about 6 to 11 cents a pound. 

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February 22, 2008

:053 Non-Toxic Termite Control 2

termite11.jpg

Suggested Review – :051

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

1:5:10:053 Tip: Dry wood termites build their nests inside the wood in buildings. They have traditionally been killed by tenting the building and fumigating with pesticides. Non-toxic methods of dry wood termite control include electrocution, freezing, baking and microwaving. All of these techniques require special equipment. 

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Additional Information

To find non-toxic termite control methods in your area look for companies that use one of these alternatives.

The “electro-gun” is used to electrocute termites in their tunnels. Etex Limited, PO. Box 33160, Las Vegas, NV 89133 (702) 332-3966. Will direct consumers to the nearest KO using their Electro-Gun for controlling drywood termites and wood boring beetles.

“Isothermics” is a system of killing termites by raising the temperature of the building to a level higher than the insect can tolerate. Isothermics, PO Box 6981, Orange, CA 92613 (714)974-0951. Licenses and distributes heat tents.

Tallon pest control companies kill termites by freezing them with liquid nitrogen.

Tallon (800) 300-2653.

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February 21, 2008

:052 Non-toxic Termite Control

figure_2.jpg

credit: Ohio State University Termite Tube on foundation

Suggested Review – :048, :049

Today & Tomorrow’s 1:5:10:365 Tips for becoming a better steward for our home and planet deals with non-toxic termite control.

1:5:10:052 Tip: Subterranean termites live in the soil and travel through tubes that create pathways to the wood they eat. Traditional pest control involves poisoning the soil under a building to prevent termite colonies from forming. Some of the pesticides used for this purpose have persisted for years. There are a number of safer treatments now available for termite control. Bait stations can be set which confine the poisons so they are carried back to the termite nest, but I prefer the non-toxic approach.  figure6.jpg

credit: virginia cooporative extension subterranean termite damage

Keeping the soil free of cellulose debris can go a long way to preventing termite colonies from forming, Physical barriers can stop them from forming their tubes, and nematodes provide a biological control.

Tomorrow I will talk about non-toxic dry wood termite control.

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Additional Information

beneficial-nematodes.jpg 

credit: ARBICO beneficial nematodes

“Nematodes are microscopic, non-segmented roundworms that occur naturally in soil throughout the world. Inside the nematode’s gut is the real weapon — symbiotic bacteria that when released inside an insect kill it within 24 to 48 hours.” http://www.arbico-organics.com/organic-pest-control-beneficial-nematodes-info.html

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February 19, 2008

:050 Soil Mats

insulated_crawl_space_1_2.gif www.eere.energy.gov 

Suggested Review – :040, :041, :047, :048, :049

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

1:5:10:050 Tip: Placing a layer of polyethelene plastic on the surface of the soil can reduce crawlspace moisture levels ten fold. The barrier only helps with water vapor.

If you ever have standing water in your crawlspace you need tomorrows 1:5:10:365 tip.

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Additional Information

Adding a soil membrane can go a long way toward keeping moisture from damaging a home. The following video of an installation is from Matt Leech at www.crawlspaceinfo.com

Crawlspaces can be dangerous places. During my career I have inspected over 1000 crawlspaces. Many had conditions that were extremely dangerous. Keeping your crawlspace clean and dry with the soil isolated from the building can go a long way towards making crawlspaces safer.

Here’s a photo from Matt of a completed installation.

If you don’t know how to safely enter and inspect a crawlspace, you should leave it to professionals.

Tomorrow’s post will discuss sump pumps – a necessity if your crawlspace is taking on water.

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February 18, 2008

:049 Wet Crawlspaces

Suggested Review – :040, :041, :047, :048

1:5:10:049 Tip: Wet crawlspaces are more likely to have pest and fungal infestations. The water may also undermine the foundation causing it to slip. All of these can lead to costly repairs under your home. It is best to catch these types of problems early.

Tomorrow I will have information on correcting damp crawlspaces.

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Additional Information

Crawlspaces can be dangerous places. During my career I have inspected over 1000 crawlspaces. Many had conditions that were extremely dangerous.

If you don’t know how to safely enter and inspect a crawlspace, you should leave it to professionals.

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February 17, 2008

:048 Crawlspace Check

Filed under: :048 Crawlspace Check — Tags: , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

New York State Dept of Env Conservation

Suggested Review – :040, :041, :047

1:5:10:048 Tip: It is important that crawlspaces remain clean. Wood and other types of cellulose debris promote termites and other types of insect and fungal infestation that can degrade your home. Many of the treatments for these pests are quite toxic. It is far better to avoid infestations in the first place by keeping all debris out of the crawlspace. 

Tomorrow I will have more information on wet crawlspaces.

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Additional Information

Crawlspaces can be dangerous places. During my career I have inspected over 1000 crawlspaces. Many had conditions that were extremely dangerous.

If you don’t know how to safely enter and inspect a crawlspace, you should leave it to professionals.

 

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February 15, 2008

:046 Isolate the Garage

Suggested Review – :039, :040, :041, :045

Today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip has more information about sealing out unwanted infiltration.

1:5:10:046 Tip: Attached garages can contribute significant air pollutants to the home. Our garages are used to store vehicles, lawn mowers, and various types of chemicals that can outgas harmful pollutants. These gases can be carried into the home through inadequate door gaskets and air infiltration through electric outlets and sill plate seals. Attached garages are a very important place to use the sealing techniques we’ve covered over the last few days.

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Additional Information – none today. The additional information dealing with this is in :039, :040, :041, :045

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