Pricey Ken: Is it OK to shut off warmth registers within the winter? If that’s the case, what number of? What about in the summertime after we air situation? Additionally, we had been suggested that it’s OK to dam the chilly air return within the basement. What’s your opinion on all of this? — Brenda
Reply: Watch out. If you happen to starve the furnace of its required air in winter, you threat overheating it and shortening its life. In summer season, the outcome is usually a freeze-up of the evaporator coils (those on prime of the furnace) — particularly in instances of excessive humidity.
My guideline is to shut off not more than 25 p.c of the vents in the home; that ought to nonetheless permit sufficient circulation by means of the system. And don’t overlook that warmth rises, so after you shut down some registers, you possibly can rebalance every thing by barely cracking open vents on the higher ranges and step by step opening them as you progress down.
As to the return air a part of your query, I would go away it alone. In any other case, the basement gained’t warmth adequately. Air that comes out of these downstairs ceiling retailers should journey all the way in which upstairs to make a return journey by means of the furnace.
Pricey Ken: Our water meter has a drip indicator, a bit of dial that spins regardless that we aren’t utilizing something and have checked all of the bathrooms and sinks. Any concepts? — Al
Reply: Although every thing could seem like off, I’d be suspicious of a number of of your bathrooms. They will have microscopic leaks by means of and round their flapper valves. Plus, the fill valve contained in the tanks has a washer that may put on out ever so slowly and begin to leak with none obvious sound, equivalent to hissing. Flip off every rest room valve, separately, and verify the water meter.
If you’ll want to do extra snooping, flip off the feed valve to the water heater. That may show you how to pin the difficulty right down to both the recent or chilly piping, so you possibly can verify sinks, showers and tubs extra definitively.
One different factor: Is your sprinkler system completely off? Typically that primary shutoff valve can let tiny quantities of water slip by means of which ultimately dribbles down the ground drain.
Lastly, don’t overlook our “stethoscope” take a look at. Contact the blade finish of your largest screwdriver to pipes and valves whereas holding the blunt finish towards your ear. (Or you can go surfing and purchase an actual stethoscope, adequate for our functions right here, for lower than $30). That may slender issues down for you. Begin with the incoming water meter and stress regulator and work your approach into the home from there.
Pricey Ken: What do you consider the programs to vary the colour or cowl up an previous tub? — Doug
Reply: They work fairly effectively. When you’ve got a bathtub with a dated shade — the pink, blue and aqua hues of the ‘50s come to thoughts — you may have two selections. You’ll be able to have an acrylic resin or epoxy sprayed on in any shade you need. This can value you lower than $1,000 and can final for, maybe, 5 to 10 years. For 2 or 3 times extra money, you possibly can have an exact-fitting, molded acrylic liner put in. These are far more everlasting and have longer warranties —possibly 20 years or so. Both methodology is preferable to the appreciable trouble and expense of tearing out the previous tub.
Pricey Ken: I’ve a brand new home (lower than a yr) with a moist crawl area. The water comes into the home from 5 empty heaps on the uphill facet. What ought to I ask the builder to do? — Daniel
Reply: They most likely have to include that water in some form of channel. That may range from a easy PVC pipe to catch the water above you and drain it round your home to a extra elaborate crushed-rock-filled ditch lined with plastic.
By permitting the water to snake its approach by your home at its leisure, you’re letting moisture soak into the newly backfilled soil after which into the crawl area. This drawback will solely worsen because the landscaping matures. It’s going to gradual the water much more and enlarge your drawback.
As for the soaked crawl area, roll up the plastic sheeting and let the soil evaporate. You’ll be able to speed up the drying course of with a field fan blowing out by means of the crawl area entry door. If none of my recommendations helps, probably the most drastic step could be set up of a fringe drain on the surface of your basis (at its backside) whose outfall runs right into a sump pump pit.
Lastly, you need to discuss with a lawyer to ensure these issues and their treatments will survive the builder’s guarantee.
Moon is a house inspector within the Pikes Peak area. His radio present airs at 9 a.m. Saturdays on KRDO, FM 105.5 and AM 1240. Go to aroundthehouse.com