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Dip Tube on Water Heater

How can I obtain a copper dip tube for my water heater?

Steve,

Thanks for a great question – we appreciate you.

The dip tube is the tube that brings fresh, cold water in to the heater.

It is generally made of a plastic – although there was a time a few years ago when the plastic disintegrated and caused some issues.

Why are you thinking you want it made of copper? Some have heard of the horror stories of the cheap plastic tubes that ..read more

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Soot on Ceilings and Walls

Why are we getting what appears to be soot on the walls and ceilings?

Bob,

Thanks for the inquiry – we appreciate you.

That soot could be the nasty result of several factors – wood/pellet burners, an inefficient gas furnace and/or cheap candles. It’s a fairly common problem in tighter homes.

The charged particles are carried in the air and deposited in areas of higher heat loss – usually on the painted surfaces covering ceiling framing and upper wall framing.

Do you have a ducted ..read more

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Critters Not Welcome!

We hear what we think is critters in the ceiling. How important is it for us to remove them?

Beverly,

Thank you for the inquiry.

The cold weather has sent a lot of critters in to people’s homes to survive. Unfortunately, once they get inside they tend to contaminate the area and multiply. Critters in the attic can cause major damage to the wiring, plumbing, and structure and become become carriers for diseases.

It is considered wise to get them out as soon as possible! ..read more

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Effects of the Cold on Your Home

What does this bitter cold do to your home? 

Kathee,

Thanks for a great question – we appreciate you.

Can this bitter cold have adverse effects on your home? Yes….but…..

If you are keeping the home heated and you have a slab-on-grade home or basement, you are not likely to experience a lot of serious negative effects.

Natural, though unwanted, heat loss will generally protect your home.

The biggest culprit to creating damage is freezing components – freezing footings and foundations, water and sewer pipes, framing ..read more

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Warning! Frost Heave!

How can I resolve frost heave that cracks bricks?

Michael,

Thanks for the great comments and for the inquiry.

Frost heave is the result of water-saturated soils that freeze, expand and then lift whatever is on top of them.

The trick is to minimize water in the soil under the brick and to have well-drained soil that has enough voids to absorb some freezing water effects without a lot of dimensional movement.

If you could remove a portion of the concrete directly under the wall ..read more

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Ice on Exterior Doors

My exterior doors are sweating and icing over at the threshold.

Thank you for the inquiry – we appreciate you.

This extremely cold weather has “shown” us some of our home’s faults – in this case doors and door thresholds that conduct a lot of heat right through to the outside! When this occurs, moisture in the air inside condenses, then freezes on the cold surface.

Another consideration is that the door may not be insulated, which means that excessive humidity may not ..read more

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Testing for Radon and Installing Mitigation System

Our home tested high for Radon. Who can install a mitigation system for us?

John,

Thank you for a great question.

Hopefully you tested over a wide range of your basement and home space and over a couple time periods since some tests can be skewed.

A radon mitigation system should allow for sub-soil gases to flow directly through a sealed pipe out through the roof of the house.

PVC pipes will usually extend through walls in the heated portions of the home into the ..read more

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Hiring a Builder – What You Need to Know

Our daughter is purchasing land and hiring a builder. What should she be thinking about?

Diane,

Thank you for a great question.

There are sooo very many things we would suggest when purchasing land and hiring a contractor.

You can access from our web site a short sheet on “How to Hire a Contractor”.

The land purchase should involve a good Realtor and a good Title company to cover all the bases legally and assure clear title without unknown encumbrances such as liens, right-of-way issues, deed ..read more

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Mold Testing

Who can I talk with regarding mold testing in my home?

Paulette,

Thanks for the inquiry – we appreciate you!

Every home will have positive results for the presence of mold or mold spores at some level – that’s how pervasive it is.

The concern is when the concentrations become large or the spores begin to multiply – nearly always due to the presence of a wet or damp environment.

If you know of any type of leak creating this condition, the leak must be ..read more

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Freezing Pipes in Crawl Space

The pipes in my crawl space have frozen three times since I moved in.

Vanessa,

Thank you for your inquiry – we appreciate you.

Freezing pipes can be dangerous as they can wreck havoc when they burst and are not a “cheap” fix.

In a crawl space we would suggest – long term – that you encapsulate the crawl space. That involves some time and expense to do well.

A “quick” preventative to those freezing pipes in the crawl space would be installation of a ..read more

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