1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

December 2, 2008

:337 ShowerStart

Filed under: :337 ShowerStart — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:22 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.

1:5:10:337 EcoTip: If you or someone in your family is in the habit of turning on the shower and letting it run to heat up while doing something else, the ShowerStart technology may be the thing for your family. With ShowerSmart, the shower head adapter cuts back the flow of water to a trickle as soon as the shower’s temperature reaches 95 degrees F. This keeps hot water from running down the drain until you are ready to enter the shower. At that point you flip the shower head switch and the water flow resumes. This helps eliminated the water and energy waste when excess water is allowed to run while waiting for it to heat up to a comfortable temperature.

showerstart

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 Additional Information:

ShowerStart is available with built in shower heads, or you can use the ShowerStart adapter (shown above) to adapt your favorite low flow head.

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November 25, 2008

:330 Testing Purifiers

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.

1:5:10:330 EcoTip: Reverse osmosis water purifiers can be checked to see if the R/O membrane is working properly. This is done by testing the conductivity of the water. Special meters are designed for this purpose, but any electrical conductivity tester can be used. You can also send a sample of your purified water to a laboratory for testing.

tester

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

To use an electrical multi-meter for testing the water to see if the R/O membrane working – set the meter on the conductivity test setting. The probes need to be kept the same distance apart every time you test. Since tap water contains salts and minerals it will conduct electricity. Use a sample of tap water to check your meter reading. The closer the R/O water’s conductivity reading is to that of tap water, the less the purifier is removing.

If you check your R/O water with the meter when the purifier is new – you will have a baseline to compare. You may also want to test the meter with distilled water – which should have no conductivity.

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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 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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September 22, 2008

:266 Finding Moisture Pockets

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

1:5:10:266 EcoTip: Thermal imaging using an infrared camera can help identify materials that are wet after flooding or water intrusion. Depending on the nature of the damage – many materials that look dry may in fact be wet. Capillary action and movement of water vapor can cause secondary damage that goes well beyond where the action water flowed. A thermal imaging scan can quickly help identify areas for investigation with a moisture meter. This can help identify pockets of moisture that might otherwise be missed. 

 

Thermal Image of a wet wall courtesy of Restoration Consultants at www.moistureview.com

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :037, :256, :276, :258, :259, :260, :261, :262, :263, :264, :265

This is the eleventh in a series of EcoTips about working around buildings when participating in disaster recovery such as occurred with hurricane Katrina and is going on now with Ike. This information is timely since 2008 is the most active hurricane season since 2005 and many buildings are being damaged.

 

John Banta with Fluke thermal imaging camera from www.moistureview.com

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September 15, 2008

:259 Water Damage Help

Filed under: :259 Water Damage Help — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:37 am

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

1:5:10:259 EcoTip: Recovering from flood and water damage generally requires experienced help. Unfortunately when disasters occur there are often offers for help that range from well meaning, but uninformed to some that are downright shady. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification offers advice and certification for companies that provide these services.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :256, :257, :258

This is the fourth in a series of EcoTips about protecting oneself when remodeling and working around buildings when participating in disaster recovery such as occurred with hurricane Katrina and is going on now with Ike. This information is timely since 2008 is the most active hurricane season since 2005 and many buildings are being damaged.

From the IICRC web-site:

To make sure you hire certified, trained professionals, the “Industry Guardians” at the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) invite you to visit http://www.certifiedcleaners.org/ or call 1-800-835-4624 to locate qualified experts to handle your cleaning needs.

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. 

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August 5, 2008

:218 Automatic Water Shut-Off

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

1:5:10:218 EcoTip: An automatic water shut-off valve can help reduce or prevent costly water damage.

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 Additional Information:

There are several automatic water shut-off systems available. Both of the units shown below allow you to press a button to shut off the water to your home when you are away.

The FlowLogic automatic water shut-off system monitors water use and shuts off the water when an unusual use occurs. The preset is for 30 minutes of unexpected flow when the home is occupied and 30 seconds of flow when the unit is set to vacation mode.

 

The WaterCop automatic water shut-off system uses remote sensors placed in various locations likely to get wet if a pipe bursts to shut off the water flow.

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