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Home Repair and Maintenance


The energy consultant is recommending Schuco windows and sliding glass doors due to their energy efficiency. With the triple pane krypton filled glass package they are like R-10. I don’t want to replace all 21 windows for $19,000, but am looking at possibly replacing the 4 sliding glass doors for about $8,300. My wife and I were up at BJ’s last night and saw a display for BJ’s home improvement. I they had Schuco windows. So I filled out a card, and hope to hear from them and see what kind of price they give me. A little competition is a good thing. I want to make sure I am not paying too much for the doors.

I bought a couple cans of Great Stuff at Home Depot using the gift card my wife got me for Valentines day! I want to run a bead under the bottom edge of our house’s siding, but was worried about weather it is too cold outside. I read the can, and it only said that Great Stuff may not work as well in extreme cold. How cold is extreme cold? I went the Great Stuff website, and read the FAQ, but it only said to have the cans at room temperature. Okay… Still not satisfied, I called the Great Stuff hot line (1-800-800-FOAM). I talked to a lady named Kathy who told me that it needs to be 40 degrees outside for a couple hours before I can reliably use the Great Stuff. I guess I will have to wait as it is only about 27 degrees outside right now which is near the expected high for the day. And there is no 40 degree weather anywhere in the extended forecast either.

Great Stuff is awesome, and easy to use. Just spray the stuff into a space, and the foam expands to fill the space. When it cures, it turns into almost a styrofoam type substance. It is great for filling holes around cables or pipes, to block air infiltration/exfiltration. I have already gone through about 5 cans of the stuff sealing my house. I love it!

I was considering buying a Great Stuff Pro foam gun. I saw a 13 inch model online for about $25. The Great Stuff Pro foam comes in 24 ounce cans instead of 16 ounce cans that you buy at the local hardware strore which also seem to need to be ordered online and costs about $11. So the gun and the foam would be about $40. For $40 I can buy about 8 16oz cans of the Great Stuff locally. I don’t think I will need that much, so I will probably not buy the gun. The gun is pretty cool looking though. I think it would make application easier. It also supposedly will keep the foam usuable for up to 30 days, as opposed to the regular cans which are a one time use thing.

Aube TH115-A-240D Programmable ThermostatProgrammable thermostats are generally pretty easy to find. Home Depot sells them. But the ones that Home Depot sells wont work in our house. Our house is 100% electric. The heat is all 240 volt baseboard electric heat. The ones that Home Depot sells are 24 volt. But I did a search and found a model made by a company named Aube. We have 7 thermostats scattered around the house. A couple of them are in rooms that are easily closed off. I am planning on replacing all of the thermostats as the ones we have are 30 years old and very very ugly! But I may not replace them all with programmable thermostats. For the moment, I have ordered one of the units which I will connect up, and make sure it works with our system. The thermostats we have are double line break (they can turned off), 4 wire, and 18 amp. The one I ordered in 15 amp (3600 watt at 240 volts), but I believe that the combination of baseboard heaters connected to each thermostat are under 3000 watts each. The model I ordered is a “TH115-A-240D”.

I spent a lot of time this weekend, but I finished insulating the knee wall that separates my great room form a crawl space area. I carefully place R-13 fiberglass insulation between the studs trying to keep it as puffed up a possible. I then covered the wall with sheets of rigid foam board rated at R-5. The boards were attached by running a bead of silicone caulk along the studs, and then nailing the foam boards in place using 1 1/2 inch roofing nails.
We had snow on the roof of our house, and you can see where the crawl space is relative to the grat room as the snow was melting faster over the great room, and you could even see where the truses were located. The snow was barely melted over the crawl space.
Next I want to either weatherstrip the doors between the crawl space and the great room, or to have it done. The doors are the hollow kind like for a closet. But they are shorter, maybe about 5 1/2 tall. Weather stripping the sides and top would be easy, but the bottom where it passes over burber type carpt with more difficult. My Energy Smart audit report listed a cost of $150 to seal the doors. And the consultant guy suggested that it would be zero air flow. I could do the sides and top myself, but I am not sure how to do the bottom. I would be annoyed of the charge me $150 to seal the door, and do the sides, and top, then tell the bottom can’t be sealed. I am also thinking that after the door is sealed, I will glue to of the rigid foam board over the inside of the doors to give them insulation.
We will have the contractor guys add an attic access over the great room, and add some insulation up there. I think that will help save energy in the long run.

I am going to insulate my knee wall myself. The NY Energy Smart audit suggested insulating the knee wall saying it would save about $75 a year. The consultant listed a cost of $840 to do it. I can do it myself for much less. They recommend insulating it to R16. I went to Home Depot and found R13 and R19, but no R16 batting. Hmmm. But after some research I found that what I want to do is place R13 batting in between the studs. Caulk the vapor barrier to the studs, and staple every 10 inches or so. After I cover the wall, I will cover all of the batting with rigid foam insulation caulking it in place. I think I can do it all at a cost of under $100. I saw the rolls of R-13 batting for about $11 at Home Depot, and I think I only need 4 or 5 of them. I didn’t look at the rigid foam, but will check tomorrow. Maybe I will stop at Lowes at lunch time. According to the audit report, I have about 210 square feet to do. The audit report says ‘3.5″ Fiberglass,1″ XPS Siding, R-16′. So I am assuming I am reading it right.

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