1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

April 17, 2008

:108 Clear Weep Screed

Filed under: :108 Clear weep screed — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:05 am

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

1:5:10:108 EcoTip: The weep screed needs to be clear to allow drainage of any water that unavoidably enters. There are many ways the weep screed can become clogged. I have seen some houses where the stucco was never cleared after it was installed. Plants growing too close to the house may grow up into the holes. Even the careless application of caulking material can block the holes.

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 Additional Information

Suggested Review – :105, :106, :107

 To clear the holes you will need a mirror and a piece of coat hanger or other thin stiff wire and a stiff putty knife. If the original plaster is covering the holes, you can usually run a putty knife along the bottom edge which will knock off the plaster. Any holes that are blocked can then be cleared by carefully using the wire to remove the blockage. Don’t ream it around inside the wall cavity or you may damage the open cell foam insulation that is present.

Once the weep screed is clear, do your best to maintain it that way by following tips :105, :106, :107

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March 7, 2008

:067 Pollen Free Plants

Filed under: :067 Pollen Free Plants — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

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Suggested Review – none

1:5:10:067 Tip: One reason that many people suffer from such severe pollen allergies is that most landscape plants are male and produce pollen. Of course some plants are worse than others. Author Thomas Leo Ogren discusses this and the solutions in his book Allergy Free Gardening.

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Additional Information:

This Australian brochure for people with allergies lists plants that don’t produce pollen AFNSW-gardens final.qxd

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March 6, 2008

:066 Carpet Protectors

Filed under: :066 Carpet Protectors — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Suggested Review – :065

1:5:10:066 Tip: Carpet Protectors may keep office chairs from causing damage as they roll across the flooring, but excess moisture from concrete slabs can become trapped under the plastic resulting in mold and deterioration.  

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March 5, 2008

:065 Slab Moisture

Filed under: :065 Slab Moisture — Tags: , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

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credit: Taylor Tools

Suggested Review – none

1:5:10:065 Tip: Moisture from concrete slabs can be trapped by floor coverings and lead to mold growth. Most flooring manufacturers place limits on the amount of moisture a slab can release. The rainy season is a good time to have a concrete slab tested for excess moisture.

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Additional Information

Slab moisture testing is performed by using a “Calcium Chloride Dome Test”

Instructions can be found at: http://www.taylortools.com/tftmktp.html

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March 4, 2008

:064 Non-stick cookware

Filed under: :064 Non-stick Cookware — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

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Suggested Review – none

1:5:10:064 Tip: Overheating non-stick cookware can lead to the release of toxic fumes. The fumes have killed pet birds and been implicated in causing a type of fume fever in people.

Health Canada says: “Nonstick coatings are a risk if they are heated to temperatures greater than 350°C or 650°F. This might happen if an empty pan is left on a burner. In this case, the coatings can give off irritating or poisonous fumes.”.

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Additional Information

Here’s what Dupont has to say about safe cooking practices.

http://www.teflon.com/Teflon/downloads/pdf/safety_tips.pdf

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March 3, 2008

:063 Photoelectric Smoke Detectors

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Suggested Review – none

1:5:10:063 Tip: There are two types of smoke detectors that are commonly used. Ionization smoke detectors contain a radioactive waste product from nuclear power generation. The radioactive material is shielded, but presents a disposal problem. Photoelectric smoke detectors don’t have radioactive material and studies have shown they are more reliable, especially in smokey fires.

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Additional Information

Here’s a good article in Mother Earth News that discusses the advantages and disadvantages.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Homes/1983-05-01/Photoelectric-Smoke-Detectors.aspx

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March 1, 2008

:061 LED Lighting

Filed under: :061 LED lighting — Tags: , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

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Suggested Review – none

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

1:5:10:061 Tip: LED (light emitting diode) lights use much less energy and last longer than compact fluorescents. They have the additonal advantage of not containing mercury. Unfortunately for now the light is not yet very pleasant. This is a technology that should be watched closely. If they can improve the light qualities, this may turn out to be far superior to compact fluorescents.

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Additional Information

Because they last so long before needing replacement, LED lighting may be the thing to use for difficult to replace lights.

The low heat output advantage of LED lighting has turned into a disadvantage for some. Some communities switched their stop lights to LEDs and found that in winter they stopped working at cold temperatures. In addition there wasn’t enough heat to keep the signals from icing up.

 LED lights are available from http://www.ccrane.com/lights/led-light-bulbs/index.aspx.

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February 28, 2008

:059 Stop Junk Mail

Filed under: :059 Stop Junk Mail — Tags: , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

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Suggested Review – none

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

1:5:10:059 Tip: Junk mail is responsible for a lot of paper waste. Even if you recycle – junk mail uses huge amounts of resources. If you want to reduce the amount of junk mail you recieve – check out www.stopjunkmail.com They have some great tips for cutting back on a wide variety of unwanted mailers. 

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February 27, 2008

:058 Evaluate Your Roof

Filed under: :058 Evaluate Your Roof — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

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Credit: Extreme Weather Hits Home

Suggested Review – none

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

1:5:10:058 Tip: When it comes time to re-roof consider upgrading your roof to a higher quality. It will last longer and be better able to withstand the challenges from extreme weather conditions.

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Additional Information

In my book Extreme Weather Hits Home, Protecting Your Buildings from Climate Change I talk about many of the steps that can be taken to make a roof more durable.

Some of these are illustrated in the above diagram.

1. Use solid sheathing not skip sheathing. If the shingles are damaged, the solid sheathing can provide temporary protection from water intrusion until repairs can be made.

2. Use H-clips (Hurricane clips) to join the exterior grade plywood panels together for greater strength while maintaining the correct spacing.

3. Use a self-stick membrane to seal the joints between sheathing. Only seal the joints. If you cover the entire sheet of plywood, moisture may become trapped leading to rot.

4. Use a high wind nailing pattern (six inches or closer).

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These and other tips for preventing damage and first aid measures for recovery from extreme weather conditions are covered in my new book.

Its available from your local book seller or on line. For more information go to www.extremeweatherhitshome.com

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February 26, 2008

:057 MTBE in Gas

Filed under: :057 MTBE in Gas — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

U.S. Production of Ethanol and MTBE, 1993-2002 Credit: US Dept of Energy

Suggested Review – none

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

1:5:10:057 Tip: MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) is a gasoline additive that has been turning up in various water supplies. Of course gasoline contamination of any kind is a problem, but MTBE is long lasting and water soluble so it is presenting a number of additional environmental issues. Fortunately ethanol (alcohol) is an additive that can perform the same oxygenation function as MTBE without the same consequences to the environment. Alcohol is used in concentrations of up to 10% in gasoline to improve the burning characteristics and cut down on pollution (over 10% requires specially modified vehicles). Alcohol also will remove condensation moisture from gasoline (its the same thing that you purchase in many gasoline additives for removing water from your tank).

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Additional Information

You can get more information about MTBE in gasoline and the problems it causes from the EPA at: http://www.epa.gov/mtbe/gas.htm

I have heard that all gasoline in Califoria and New York now contains alcohol and no MTBE, but I am still working to confirm that. Every Union 76 station I have visited has had a sticker saying the gasoline may contain up to 10% ethanol.

I suspect that other states are also labeling their pumps.

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