drdiy

Duct Cleaning / Shower Pan / Drafty Houses

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Q:

What is your opinion of having your ductwork cleaned? Is it really necessary?

A:

I once believed that duct cleaning was no longer necessary. I also once believed in the Easter bunny. (What a shock that was!).

I thought since most heating systems were no longer gravity-fed but had pressured duct systems, they didn’t need to have the ductwork cleaned. I gave that theory (which I made up) even more credence since the air going through the ductwork had to pass through a filter. It seemed logical, at least to me. That’s another reason to just say, “NO!”

But, awhile back, in an attempt to prove my point, I had my own ductwork cleaned. Much to my chagrin, I’d say I was eating crow, but I’d been eating and breathing an incredible amount of dirt, dust, hairs, furs, cooties, etc.

So, yes you should have your ductwork cleaned/vacuumed out professionally. You should also install a quality, electrostatic air filter. You know, those inexpensive, fiberglass filters, which most people use, are the least efficient.

Duct cleaning is another of those home repair/improvement fields, which are fraught with unethical companies. To do the job properly it takes about half a day and costs several hundred dollars. It’s worth doing. I recommend it being done after any major remodel. I also think it should be done to any older house’s ductwork. If you have cats and dogs you may want to have them cleaned every five years or so.

Q:

I’ve heard the term “shower pan”. I checked my stove drawer and the chef’s catalog, but couldn’t locate one. What’s up with that?

A:

You’re so cute. A shower pan is the waterproof liner beneath the tile, under the floor in your shower. When it leaks it could cost $800.00 to $1000 to replace.

Mist tile installers now use a rubberized membrane (maybe 30-mil thick) but in the good old days they used less expensive, three pound lead pans that only lasted 7 to 10 years, and four pound lead about 12 to 14 years. While 6 pound lead could last 30 years or longer.

Repairs are expensive since tile work, and replacement, is itself, expensive.

To determine if your shower pan is bad and a possible leak is not from any plumbing pipes, block the drain with a rag or stopper. Then using a bucket or hose, collect water from another faucet, fill the shower up to the step or ledge in the shower and let the water sit for 12 hours. If you find you have a leak, you probably need a new pan.

Q:

My windows in my older Tudor style house are cold and drafty. How can we avoid the draft?

A:

If you’re talking about Uncle Sam, you’re too late. If you’re talking about your windows, you’re just in time!

Everyone knows that houses lose heat through walls, windows, and attics and up the chimney. That’s a lot of ways to lose heat and throw away money. If you have an older house with those steel windows, poor quality aluminum windows, you could be losing 20-percent of your heat through them.

Without spending a lot of money on new aluminum, vinyl or wood windows, you can tape plastic sheets or insider storm windows to the frames. Sure it looks funky, but if you had the money you would probably replace those windows. So to help you save money for those new windows, in the meantime install those inexpensive insider storms. They’ll help with convection currents. That’s where just the cold air radiating off the glass causes air to fall and you feel a draft. They’ll also help with conduction. You know glass is a good conductor of heat. Putting on storm windows, double glazed windows, or even the insider storm windows provides somewhat of a dead air space, which is a good insulator.

Finally, you should have listened to me earlier when I told you to re-glaze those windows, and caulk and weather-strip them. Doing that, of course, would have reduced air infiltration and, or course, saved you money.

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