A Better Allen Wrench

- . One day, my wife and I were putting something together that needed a lot of allen wrench turning, and I started telling her about how I should buy a set of allen wrenches that have socket wrench ends on ’em, like the set pictured below ..More

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Hot Water Faster

-   Part of the reason I get hot water so much faster is that the hot water doesn’t need to fill up all of the main ‘branch’ lines to get to my kitchen faucet.  By installing this 3/8″ water line, I’ve cut the wait time from 45 seconds down to 10 seconds.   I’ve cut the total run down to about 25′ by running the line straight to my faucet.  The other reason this works is because a 3/8″ tube has about 25% of the volume as a 3/4″ tube. .  The hot water line that feeds my kitchen sink consists of 17′ of 3/4″ tubing, then another 25′ of 1/2″ tubing. All I did was install a dedicated 3/8″ water supply line from the water piping coming off the top of my water heater to the kitchen sink faucet ..More

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Unintended Consequences of Adding Insulation

-  The older units produced a draft that pulled air from the house up the flue, providing a source of ventilation. Another common ventilation change that isn’t so obvious happens when old furnaces are replaced with new high efficiency furnaces. . Replace the old furnace… take away the source of ventilation. Any of the changes made to a house that can cause depressurization can also change the ventilation rate ..More

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Stone Siding Installation Defects

- When masonry veneer has a vertical transition to something like wood trim, windows, or other siding materials, it should have a 3/8″ gap left between the two different materials. .  This gap needs to have a foam backer rod pushed behind it, and then filled with sealant to help prevent water intrusion.  This is rarely done ..More

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Holmes Inspections: Any Reality?

-  I think the main messages are good: hire an excellent home inspector and don’t skimp out on your remodel project. I’m not trying to be too critical of the show, but the repairs performed on this house were completely over-the-top and unrealistic. .  You’ll save money in the long run by spending a little more up front.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very cool concept for a show – take a problem with a house that is cost prohibitive to repair and fix it any way you want with time and money being no object.  This is a fun show to watch as long as you remember that it’s just TV.   It would have been nice to do it this way from the start, sure… but I can’t imagine any sane person spending their own money gutting a kitchen just to make the floor warmer ..More

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