Category Archives: Green Remodeling

How Energy Efficient is Your Home

By | Energy, Environmental Awareness, Green Remodeling, Historic District Homes, Home Evaluations, HVAC | No Comments

For the past 110 years, we have been in a rush to make sure the hurdle of the new housing stock is built safer, stronger, and more energy efficient than the last code cycle because people dying in tragic collapses and fires is not a good thing, nor is wasting our limited natural resources on poor quality construction techniques. The insurance industry started the trend by suggesting building codes to address huge losses. The codes were adopted by building industry and all of the sub-trades and updated every few years like clockwork over the years. The same cyclic process done…

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9 Volt Battery Safety Alert

By | Green Remodeling, Safe Practices, Understanding your home | 2 Comments

I saw a heartfelt plea from a gentleman on the internet that had a 9 volt battery cause a serious house fire. Part of his concern is that he felt very responsible because he was ignorant of the danger and asked that I pass this information along. I’m doing my duty to pass on the warning. The story is that when he changed out his smoke detector batteries once a year at daylight savings, just like the fire department recommends, he put the old ones in a bag and left them in the garage on a shelf. Later he inadvertently…

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What Does R-Value Mean?

By | Aged Home Upgrades, Energy, Green Remodeling, Historic District Homes, Indoor Air Quality, Insulation, Understanding your home | No Comments

I have been confused for years about just what the term R-value means. You would think that if you have 16″ of insulation it should correlate to an R-Value. That is all well and good, as long as you are talking about the exact same insulation. What an R-Value is, as it turns out, has lots of variables. R-Value is the commonly used term to describe the thermal resistance ability of insulation. As you recall heat travels through 3 means: Radiation = Heat travels through the air Example: heat from the sun warms you through radiated heat. (It is important…

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Where is My Heat Going?

By | Green Remodeling, Home Evaluations, HVAC, Insulation, Understanding your home, Weatherization | 2 Comments

For years now I have noticed an interesting phenomenon that I am not sure anyone else notices. It has to do with recognizing roof patterns in the winter. This is clear evidence that heat is escaping through your roof. Head down the block and check out your roof and compare it to your neighbors place. Of course there are a myriad of issues that could be contributing to the results you find, but this is a telling sign. If your roof is the bare one when others have snow or frost, despite having a similar pitch, you could be losing…

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Radon and your home

By | Green Remodeling, Indoor Air Quality, Understanding your home | No Comments

Who knew your house could hurt your lungs? Here in Idaho we live in a relatively moderate Radon level region that seems to get more intense the further north you live. It turns out Radon is even emitted from slabs of granite along with almost all other products of the earth like concrete itself, but we must put it all into perspective. The majority of information about Radon’s health effects come from men working underground – miners Radon (Rn) is a gas that is emitted from the earth. It is the natural byproduct of deteriorating uranium and it gets into…

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Duct Cleaning

By | Green Remodeling, HVAC, Indoor Air Quality, Understanding your home | 2 Comments

OK you have been in the home for 10 years and you are looking for something to do that will improve your home. You are wondering what would be a good bang for the buck. Or say you have unexplained health issues and you just can’t put a finger on it but you think your home may be the culprit. It is worth thinking about having your duct work checked. Although the EPA thinks it may be an over rated service, there are several instances even they recommend the process be done by a qualified vendor. Duct cleaning is probably…

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Refrigerator Failure

By | Appliances, Electrical, Green Remodeling, Understanding your home | No Comments

At Levco we normally repair other peoples problems and rarely have time or give much thought to care for our own problems. Here is a situation that happened to me recently that probably happens often to others. My wife noticed that the refrigerator side seemed a bit warm and the freezer side was definitely not freezing.  I suppose a thermometer would have been a more scientific method of determining a problem, but I digress. The first thing I hear is ” I turned the refrigerator up because it isn’t cold enough to freeze everything” This caught my attention because of…

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Hot Water Circulation Pumps

By | Bathrooms, Green Remodeling, Plumbing, Understanding your home | No Comments

The concept of water conservation is not a new one, and industry has sprouted recently that addresses this in many ways. One is with hot water recirculation pumps to conserve water that is usually wasted while waiting for the hot to arrive say to your shower. Industry insiders tout 11 thousand to 15 thousand gallons savings per year in a typical home. For a perspective shot, I used 3,700 gallons per month in January, February, July, & August of 2010 (4 people 3 BR 2.5 BA). Here is an informative article about where our water comes from, along with some…

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Filters and Your Home

By | Green Remodeling, HVAC, Understanding your home | No Comments

Indoor air quality is one of the four pillars of our green philosophy. Besides working with products that don’t off gas things like formaldehyde, filters are high on the list of things we have control over that keeps our indoor air quality in good shape. Residential air filters are graded on a MERV Scale (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) to determine how much the filter media will let pass through. Filters that pull dust and particles from the air are measured in .3 microns to 10 microns. For perspective a human hair is 100 microns. The MERV scale goes from 1-16…

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