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Home Repair and Maintenance


I continued air sealing last night. I already had the mouldings off of one sliding glass door, and ripped the mouldings off of another. I used Great Stuff, and silicone caulk to seal them. The one door had a bunch of fiberglass shove into the gap above the door. I pulled it out, and sprayed Great Stuff (for windows and door) in there. Fiberglass may insulate, but but doesn’t seal. Great Stuff does both. Tonight or tomorrow night I will trim the foam down flush with the wall, and replace the mouldings. There is a little bit of dry wall stuff to do first.

My programmable thermostats are scheduled to be delivered today. So hopefully I will get a chance tro install them. The first one didn’t take very long. I would like to at least get two of them installed tonight. I have a class to teach, but hopefully will have time afterward.

We live in a post and beam house. Much of the wood was stain dark brown, about the color of dark chocolate. Very ugly, and just sucks up the light. I have sanded some of the beams using belt sanders, and have more to do. This weekend, I ripped off the mouldings from a few of our windows. The moulding were wide pine boards stained the dark brown. I used caulk and great stuff to air seal around the windows. I then replaced the moulding with new pine boards. The new boards are 4″ (actually 3.5″) wide, and I am leaving them natural. I think they look much better. They lighten up the house. I definately felt cod air leaking in around the windows in spots. About my sliding glass door was the worst. There were little chunks our yellow foam pressed in there. I pulled these out, and sprayed great stuff in there to seal and insulate. I am making progress on cutting down the infiltration/exfiltration of air in our house. People have warned me about making our house too tight. Ummm, my house was built in 1977, and leaks like a sieve. The blower door test said the house leaked over 3000 CFM (cubic feet per minute). That is a lot of air! After I get a lot of this air sealing done, I can have them come back and do the blower door test, to see the amount of improvement.

My programmable thermostat came yesterday via UPS, and I couldn’t wait to hook it up. The thermostat is an Aube TH115, but it is almost identical to the Honeywell LineVoltPRO 8000 (Aube is a Honeywell company). The thermostat is for 240 volt line voltage and 15 amps. That is some serious current, not to be taken lightly! My old thermostat gave no indication of whether it was on or not. So I turned it off for a bit to let the baseboard heater cool some. Then I went to the breaker box and shut off the two 240 volt breakers labelled “heat”. I went back upstairs, and turned the thermostat all the way up, and went to feel the baseboard heater to see if it felt warmer. It did seem to be getting warmer. So I went back to the breaker box, and shut off all of the unlabelled 240 volt breakers as well. I went back up, and the heater didn’t seem to be getting warmer. I pulled the old thermostat off, and touched my probe to the contacts to see if there was any voltage. Nothing. Great! I carefully disconnected the wires still alert in case by chance they might still be live. I pays to be cautious when dealing with electricity! I noted which wires were connected to the top, and which were connected to the bottom connectors. After getting the thermostat off, I noted which were the load wires, and which were the live wires. There were wires already on my new thermostat, so I just needed to connect them to the solid wires using the provided twist caps (solderless connectors). I went and turned the breakers on a couple at a time to see which gave it power. After flipping the last two breakers, I had a display on the thermostat. I shut the breakers off again, and then screwed the thermostat into the electrical box. I mounted the face plate, and then turned on the two breakers one at a time, and identified which breaker controlled the heat to that room. I labelled the breaker.
Following the instructions that came with the thermosat, I tweaked the programming to more closely match our work schedules, and I changed the temperatures for comfort from 70 to 65, and for economy from 64 to 60. I may tweaked the comfort level up a bit, but will play with it, and get used to how it works.
After installing the thermostat, I noticed how affected it was by my computer monitor that was almost directly below it. So I spent some time last night moving a book case, and the computer desk around so that now the thermostat is not affected by the rising heat from my CRT computer monitor.
Since this thermostat works with our system, I ordered 4 more progammable thermostats, and 2 non-programmable thermostats so I can replace the rest of the old mechanical thermostats in our house.

The programmable thermostat I ordered a couple weeks ago is coming today via UPS. So tonight I will hook it up, and make sure it works with our baseboard heaters. If it works, then I will order a half dozen more thermostats. I am excited to see how it works.
I ripped the trim off of one of our living room windows. There looked like there was a little bit of some type of foam around the window. I sprayed some Great Stuff in there, to more completely seal around the window. I replaced the trim with some pine boards for a more contemporary look. I will work on doing the reast of the windows around the house. There are a variety of trims, and I think the more consistant, more contemporary style will look nicer. The style of trim I am doing is like what I had seen in a book on timberframe houses, and will fit well in our post and beam house.
I ordered a video on air sealing a house. I probably know most of the things they will show in the video, but it may have one or two things that I haven’t learned, or show a way to do it better than what I know.

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