drdiy

Replacing Seals on Aluminum Windows / Leaking Pressure Relief Valve / Will Ivy Damage Exterior Brick?

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2013 at 11:36 am

Q:

I have a house with aluminum “thermal” windows. The seals on several of the windows have broken as well as a door-wall. I would like to replace them but it seems as if no one is making aluminum thermal windows. I can’t believe that even in a matching color vinyl would look right. Do you know of a company who still makes aluminum windows?

A:

No one makes them for a good reason. They were terrible. The aluminum was a conductor of cold and “sucked” heat from your house. At the time they were considered efficient. But today we know a lot more. There are several quality window companies that are also excellent, few of which are Eagle, Marvin, Anderson and Pella. There are other quality windows (which are a lot less expensive) including some manufacturers right in our area. My favorite is Wallside.

You don’t have to replace your windows. The aluminum sash can remain and new multiple seals replaced. But do you want to go to all that expense for older windows that aren’t efficient? Are the windows working properly? Are you happy with the look and style? If so, just have the multi-pane seals replaced. But if your “window to the world” is giving you a gloomy picture, this should clear things up.

Q:

You performed a home inspection for us and I remembered you said not to fall in love with the hot water heater. Well I am glad I didn’t because this morning there was a constant flow of water coming out of the copper pipe. I turned off the valve that you so kindly tagged for us at our inspection stating “hot water tank shut off”, and that stopped the flow. Is this a serious problem and time to replace the hot water tank or can it be repaired?

A:

That leaking pipe is from the temperature and pressure relief valve. The temperature may be too hot. Turn the water back on but to a lower setting. Hold a meat thermometer under a faucet after the hot water has been on for a while. The temperature should be 120-degrees. Do not spend any money to have it fixed. It just doesn’t pay. 

Q:

My house has a lot of ivy on the exterior walls. Will this do any damage?

A:

I went right to the best source to get the answer to this question- The Brick Institute of America. Over time, it’s possible that the tentacles and tendrils of some climbing ivy can, and have, dislodged mortar. This can happen if the walls were not properly constructed with good quality bricks, mortar that was tooled into joints, and good workmanship practices with all joints being completely filled.

It’s also true that ivy on the face of brick masonry may tend to keep moisture entrapped and in contact with the masonry. Ivy, and other plant growth can also become a harbor for nesting insects, birds and other animal life. But keep in mind also that ivy insulates the wall from the hot rays of the sun on the south and west sides, making the house a little cooler.

The view of the Brick Institute of America is that all these facts must be considered when evaluating the beauty and/or desirability of ivy growing on brick masonry walls. Presuming that the wall is known to be well built with quality materials, it can be expected to last at least 75 to 100 years, or usually more. The growth of ivy on the wall, assuming it is not removed by force, or with chemicals, shortens the life of a well-constructed wall by eight to ten years or a maximum of ten percent.

Therefore, you need to evaluate the following:

  • Was the wall well built?
  • What is the value, both esthetically and ecologically, of ivy on the wall?

Then you decide if the ivy on you wall has to go. After all, being “off the wall” is something I’m known for.

Please invite your family and friends to join my weekly blog too!

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