(Q) We want to replace our rug either in the fall or next spring and I wanted to know if you needed the baseboards off or on? We want to paint the house before the rug goes in and we wanted to paint the baseboards and caulk them at the same time. This means that the baseboards will not be able to come off. Can the baseboards remain on to have rug installed?
It is best to have the baseboards off before installing the carpet. It would be ideal to do things in this order. Pick your carpet style and color and finalize that first, then pick your paint to coordinate with that. You can put on a coat or two of paint before the carpet comes and then paint the last coats on the baseboards and walls after your done. Although everyone is very careful handling the products, touching the wall lightly with the rough backing on carpet can slightly scuff the walls or baseboards so the final coats should be saved until after the carpet is in, just in case. The other factor is that your baseboards may be put on too high or too low if you do them before the carpet comes because the height can vary quite a bit depending on the products you chose, including the underlay.
I have a vented crawl space. The walls of the crawl space are insulated but the floor (not the floor of the crawl space but the ground level floor of the house) is not insulated. There are heat ducts and water piping running through the area. Should the floor joists be insulated and if yes what would be the recommended insulation type?
photo: CertainTeed Home Institute
This depends on where you live. In homes or buildings with frame construction over a basement or crawlspace, the floors are usually constructed with framing members called joists, which rest on the foundation sill and support the floor above. The outside ends of these joists, and the space between them, are covered with a band joist (also called rim joist or “header”). This band joist is usually the same size as the floor joists, and runs around the entire perimeter of the building. An uninsulated band joist can account for a significant portion of a building’s heat loss, as the only thing separating inside from outside is 5 cm (2 inches) of wood and the siding material covering it.
The heat loss through an uninsulated band joist increases when the basement is kept warmer, or contains heating or water heating equipment (as in your situation). Insulating a band joist is an easy way to improve a building’s energy efficiency. Unlike finished walls, the band joist is usually readily accessible from the basement if you have one (unless the basement has a finished ceiling). The amount of materials needed is minimal due to the relatively small area involved; there are no expensive or specialized tools required; and the skills required are very basic.
As a result, the cost of insulating a band joist is relatively low compared with the potential energy savings. Materials: Band joists are usually insulated with either fiberglass batts or rigid foam insulating board. If using fiberglass, use R-12 (minimum) on structures with two-by-four sill plates, and R-20 with 15 cm (six inch) wide sill plates. If the fiberglass has a facing or vapor retarder, be sure that the insulation is installed with the vapor retarder towards the heated space. If using rigid foam board insulation, 7.5 to 12.5 cm (three to five inches) of thickness should be sufficient, depending on the R-value per inch of the material.
Foam board insulation materials will generally range from R-3 to R-7 per inch, with the R-value indicated on either the packaging or the insulation board itself. Use enough to achieve a total R-value of 12 to 20.
Other than the insulation itself, the only materials needed are some type of fasteners to hold the insulation in place. If using fiberglass, the insulation can be fastened with wire fasteners called “tiger claws”. If using foam board, the insulation can be “friction fit” in place if it is measured and cut carefully. Although more expensive than fiberglass, rigid foam board can be a preferred choice due to its ease of installation.
Installation Tips: Before installing the insulation, be sure to check any air leakage at the foundation sill joint, and caulk or seal this joint as needed. On the two sides where the floor joists are perpendicular to the band joist, cut the insulation material to a snug fit, and gently push it into place between the floor joists. Be sure that it fits snugly against the band joist, without being compressed (compressing insulation reduces effectiveness). On the sides where the floor joists are parallel to the band joist, cut longer pieces of insulation (sections of 1.2 meters (four feet) or less are easiest to work with).
If using fiberglass, the insulation can be held in place with staples (if faced), “tiger claws,” thin wire, or fishing line crisscrossed around tacks or nails at one-foot intervals. If using rigid foam board, the insulation can be “friction fit” or glued directly to the band joist for additional holding power. Be sure to fit the insulation snugly around any pipes, wires, or other penetrations through the band joist. Any penetrations should be caulked or otherwise sealed prior to installing the insulation. If any water or heating pipes run along the band joist area, be sure that the insulation is fitted between the band joist and pipes, with the pipes on the warm side of the insulation.
If rigid foam board is used, caulking can be applied to the joint between the foam board and adjacent wood or concrete after the insulation is in place, to obtain the desired air seal. Cost/Savings Information: In most cases, the cost of insulating a band joist is minimal. The primary factors affecting the potential savings are the average temperature in the basement and typical winter outdoor temperatures. The greater the difference between warm basement temperatures and cold outdoor temperatures, the greater the heat loss through the band joist, and the greater the potential savings.
Why is duct cleaning a worthwhile investment? My house is over 54 years old. There is an air cleaner attached to my furnace but I still see lots of dust.
Air duct cleaning is a worth while investment because it is a direct investment into your health.
One of the main reasons to have your air ducts cleaned is that it will reduce the amount of dust in your home. You will not have to dust the furniture as often. It may eliminate any odors that may be coming from your ductwork. It may also reduce or eliminate any allergic reaction from contaminates in the duct work.
Air cleaners need to be cleaned monthly to work efficiently. No filter is 100% efficient. There is also the possibility the air cleaner is not working properly. Having your air ducts cleaned will also improve the efficiency of your furnace, and increase the quality of the air you are breathing.
If you want to save money on your energy costs, then the answer is probably “yes”. But let’s back up a bit and look at the bigger picture.
The primary idea of solar energy actually began more than a hundred years ago. However, back then the technology was obviously not as great and certainly not as essential as it is today. With various San Diego companies searching for new ways in order to use renewable energy resources, solar energy is now very important. Solar energy is recognized as the best renewable energy source since it is abundant and limitless.
However, to be able to take advantage of this energy, people need solar panels.
It has been very cost effective to use San Diego solar power to power and to heat up one’s home. Solar panels convert solar power into electricity and then feed electricity through your home. Although, it is true that solar panels are highly beneficial, there are many things that you have to understand about it.
Questions that Homeowners Need to Ask Before Buying Solar Panels
• What direction does your roof face?
• When are you going to use the most Electricity?
• What is the energy capability of the Solar Panel that will be installed in your home?
San Diego Gas and Electric increased rates?
Yes. A residential inland customer that is using 500 kw/hr of electricity can expect to see the rise five percent of electricity charge from 84 dollars to 89 dollars. Also a similar customer that consumes 1,500 kw/hr can expect 20% bill increase from 375 dollars a month to 452 dollars. Those who are taking advantage of San Diego solar energy can quickly start to see great benefits.
Is there a downside to having solar panels?
The only downside you may actually notice is the fact that solar power is only viable as long as the photon atom of the sun strikes the panel directly. Once the sun disappears, the photons will stop striking your solar panel and the power will drop instantly. Fortunately, there are solar panels with large battery arrays where solar power can always be stored.
How do you know how many Panels you’ll need?
The number of solar panels that you need to install will actually vary depending on your situation. However, the primary measurement that will tell you how many panels you need is tied to the electric power that your home needs. If you have a lot of appliances inside your home, you may require many panels. San Diego is famous for its micro climates. The climate where your home is located is another important factor.
Solar panels continue to gain popularity for all these reasons. If you’re considering solar panels and looking for a quote on solar installation, My Home Improvement recommends Jamar Power Systems and Sullivan Solar Power.
Is it true that the air blowing on the outside unit has to be hot all the time? Somebody told me that if not, the unit needs gas, is this true?
It depends on whether you are referring to the air coming out of the outside unit on the top, or the air coming out of the fan area. Typically, the condensing fan motor pulls air through the coil, and sends the air out of the unit through the top or the grill. In the summer the air coming out of the top of the condenser outside will be rather warm or some what hot.
If someone has told you that if the air is not hot it means you are low on gas (Freon). That’s not always the case. It really depends on the air being pulled into the coil. If it’s an unusual 85 degrees in San Diego, well then – yes the air coming out of the unit would be very warm, or slightly hot. Less so if it’s 80 degrees outside, and If it was 72 degrees outside the air coming out might be luke warm to slightly cool. The temperature of the air coming out depends on a number of things. So as you can see – do not believe 100% that if the air is not hot you are low on gas.