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13 Answers

Sun Bandit solar water heater

Hello. I was reading the article by Martin Holladay entitled "Solar Thermal is Really, Really Dead" and enjoyed the discussions going back and forth on the topic of solar water heating methods. I am planning on building a small 600sq' SIP cabin in the area of Nelson BC (climate zone 6) next year and I found this product listed as being one of the most efficient for heating domestic hot water on the Canada Energy Guide site. It says it can also be used for space heating via a radiant floor system or perhaps radiators.

Asked By Scott Wilson | Oct 21 16
2 Answers

EarthPaint Products

Is there a reason that none of the various products sold by EarthPaint are not consider "green" by Green Building Advisor?

A review of their materials: no petroleum products, low- or no-VOCs, etc.

What am I missing? Thanks.

Asked By Andy Kerr | Oct 23 16
7 Answers

Concrete floor caulking is failing... why and how to fix?

My polished concrete floors are about a year old. Now I see that the caulking the contractor laid in the seams is starting to crack and split (see photo). The splitting appears to be occurring more often in the part of the floor that gets sunshine.

Anyone know why this is failing so soon? Was the wrong material and/or technique used? What is the fix? Thanks.

Port Townsend WA

Asked By Steve Hengeveld | Oct 21 16
1 Answer

Zola window screen mounts... anyone found a fix?

While my Zola windows seem to be performing well (at the one year mark), the window screen mounts can only be described as "unusable". In fact they can damage the window seals and window surrounds when used as supplied by the manufacturer. So I'm looking for a workaround!

Is there a homeowner or window contractor out there with that's found a way to mount Zola screens without damaging the windows (see the issues list below)?

Thanks in advance for any leads or parts sources!

Port Townsend WA

Zola screen mounts have several design flaws:

Asked By Steve Hengeveld | Oct 21 16
2 Answers

2016 heat-pump water heater rebates - Opinions on best heaters?

There is a $750 Massachusetts rebate on air source water heaters. There are a lot too choose from. Any opinion on which one would be the best choice for a small 2 bathroom?

Thanks for any input.


Asked By Seth Capista | Oct 18 16
6 Answers

Are can lights really that bad?

I've seen the articles extolling the evilness of can lights and I can't argue the old ones are really bad. But, would an airtight LED leak very much air? With an attic above you could pile a little extra cellulose above it to compensate for the 2-4" you lose for the light. Most of the articles use the old lights as an example but don't quantify how bad a modern airtight one would be.

Asked By Brad H | Oct 14 16
1 Answer

Prosoco Cat 5 vs. peel-and-stick tape

For exterior OSB joints. Is it better to use the Prosoco Joint Filler caulk/compound or just use peel & stick tape? Which will last longer?

Prosoco is supposedly breathable so it allows moisture to dry. Any feedback in the field?

Asked By Peter L | Oct 16 16
17 Answers

Options for replacing 2-cycle gas weedwhacker / string trimmer?

I recently replaced my gas-powered push lawnmower with a manual reel mower (Fiskars Staysharp Max Reel Mower, 18-Inch) for maintaining the grass on our small (7,500 sq ft) lot.

Asked By Robert Hallenbeck | Jun 26 16
2 Answers

Wanted: vapor barrier coating for existing basement floor

I've read a lot recently (mostly here) on vapor barriers, vapor retarders, and vapor diffusion, and eventually my eyes glazed over.
One take-away was that vapor barriers DO matter for basement floors.
My brother is buying an old brick house in zone 5. The concrete floor has been patched in a few places, but is in good condition. The seller has a dehumidifier running, and admits that it smells musty sometimes- like after a rain- if the dehumidifier isn't running.

Asked By Ben Rush | Oct 13 16
11 Answers

Who has a favorite heat-pump water heater?

We are now underway with our "pretty good" house here in southern Oregon and I am committed to the hybrid heat pump water heater concept for our 2100 sq ft, three generation house. With four adults and a grandchild in the house, I felt that an 80 gallon unit would be desirable. We plan to locate the HPWH in a centrally located laundry room which is just under 700 cubic feet and have plumbed a floor drain into that room for condensate or tank failure (hope NOT). I had been inclined to go with the GE GeoSpring but I have heard a rumor that GE is going to discontinue manufacture.

Asked By Alan Hart-McArthur | Oct 13 16
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