Poorly Insulated Eaves at Old Houses

- A minimal amount of insulation at the eaves results in energy loss, which is unfortunate, but not a major concern.  The time that this lack of insulation at the eaves starts to become a bigger concern is when the home has ice dams.   Usually.  Insufficient insulation at the eaves is a common contributor to ice dams, and there’s no simple solution for this. ..More

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Two-second tip: how to drill a hole in your wall without making a mess

- You make a couple of quick folds, paste the paper on the wall, then drill your hole.  Done and done.  All of the drywall dust or whatever you’re drilling in to will fall on to the paper. ..More

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Plumbing Vents Covered with Frost

- When there’s a long period of sub-zero temperatures in Minnesota, plumbing vents often stop working.  I’ve seen this at a lot of home inspections this winter.  The problem is that plumbing vents can get completely blocked shut with frost when it’s very cold outside for a long period of time.  I wrote about why houses need plumbing vents last month, which should help to explain why this stuff matters. ..More

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There’s No Perfect Temperature For Your Water Heater

- As I mentioned in my story about the recent inspection with dangerously hot water, a tempering valve won’t guarantee safe water temperatures, but it will get you a lot closer. ..More

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LED Light Bulbs – Pros and Pros

-  To properly dim an LED bulb, the bulb itself needs to be dimmable and an LED dimmer switch needs to be used.  After installing an LED dimmer switch, I was able to get these LED bulbs to dim about as low as my incandescent bulbs.  The one interesting thing is that at the full dim level, these lights seem to change color – they look a little green-ish.  I had to wait until night-time to take a photo of this, but I think you’ll agree – the light output at the lowest level is quite similar to the incandescent bulbs. Another complaint that people have with LEDs is that they don’t dim properly, or they won’t dim low enough; not so with these bulbs. ..More

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