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First it was trains, planes and automobiles. Then lawnmowers, leaf blowers and barking dogs. Now it's loud music, big-screen televisions and home theaters.
If we were playing "Jeopardy," the question would be: "What noise is driving people nuts?"
Noise used to be a problem that primarily affected people living in apartments, condos or other attached housing—think creaking floors, thumps on walls, loud music and thundering exercise equipment. And while noise persists for the condo crowd, it's also screaming its way into more densely populated suburbs.
Ironically, a large amount of the unwanted noise in today's homes originates IN today's homes—the earsplitting sound of our children's music, or the earth-shaking rumbles produced by surround-sound systems.
Some state-of-the-art products can help with this problem, but first, a look at the classics:
--Drywall and/or insulation: Homeowners can add a layer of drywall or some insulation to the wall cavity. Both of these are easy and relatively inexpensive, but unfortunately, the difference is barely noticeable to the human ear.
--Party walls: A better way to reduce noise is with staggered studs or even a double-stud wall. This alternative is reserved for major remodels or new construction where new walls are to be built. It requires more material and labor, and you're going to lose several inches of floor space to the thicker wall.
--Resilient channels: Metal channels are attached to wall framing, and wallboard is then attached to the metal channels. The idea here is to "float" the wall, so sound is isolated. It's not a practical solution for existing construction, but it can deliver good results if everything is installed perfectly—small mistakes can ruin the added soundproofing.
These systems are still used, but they appear rather archaic when compared to new products that reduce sound that would otherwise penetrate windows, doors, ceilings, floors and walls.
Certain-Teed, for example, manufactures a light-density fiberglass insulation batt that is installed between studs. Georgia Pacific makes a low-density product that is installed between studs and drywall. Temple-Inland makes a sound-deadening fiberboard. And Owens Corning produces a fabric system to envelop rooms.
Quiet Solution has developed some of the simplest and most cost-effective products. For example, they make a wallboard called QuietRock that looks and is used like regular drywall, but includes a viscoelastic polymer—what they call their "special sauce." Simply stated, this treatment converts acoustic energy or "noise" to heat energy, which people can't hear.
Viscoelastic what? Sounds pretty intimidating, but Quiet Solution CEO Kevin Surace puts it simply.
"It's a revolutionary, high-tech, sound-damping product masquerading as just another building material," he says. "It's not fancy. It doesn't call attention to itself. It just works."
What makes this product so exciting is that it can be applied directly over existing wallboard without the need to tear down existing walls. For example, a standard sheet of 5/8-inch gypsum board added to a typical drywall-and-stud wall reduces sound coming through the wall by about 2 decibels—barely enough to be noticeable. But one sheet of QuietRock added to a typical wall reduces the sound coming through by about 20 decibels—a 75 percent reduction in sound.
If you're remodeling a bedroom or home theater, all you need to do is screw on a layer of QuietRock and use an acoustic sealant around the perimeter. In new construction, one sheet of 5/8-inch QuietRock has the same noise reduction effect of eight sheets of standard drywall.
For the really noise challenged, Quiet Solution also manufactures floor and ceiling systems and windows—good news for the condo crowd.
Re-Bath Makes the Most of Your Space (in one day)
Homeowners can see new life in one of the most-used rooms in the home – as well as the most scrutinized during resale – with a Re-Bath remodel. For a fraction of the cost of a full tear-out and rebuild, Re-Bath offers a valuable remodel of existing bathrooms that doesn’t require disturbing floors, walls and plumbing. Re-Bath can put a new tub over your existing one and install wall surrounds directly over existing tile and walls. In addition, the company can also achieve a bathtub to walk-in shower conversion or even a shower with a built-in seat.
“Remodeling doesn’t have to be a messy, expensive headache,” said David G. Sanders, president and CEO of Re-bath. “With our patented materials and factory-trained expert installers, we can preserve the tranquility of your home with a quiet, clean, quick and affordable remodel in just one day.”
Selection is the key to customizing each Re-Bath remodel. The company offers hundreds of combinations of designer colors, and patented styles, patterns, textures and accessories to make each conversion suit the homeowner’s tastes and needs. All selections are available for viewing online where you can design your own bathroom with an Interactive Design Feature that allows customers to choose from a selection of tub styles, wall and base colors and tiles. Re-Bath also offers free in-home consultations.
“We are pioneers in the field, offering unrivaled state-of-the-art materials and techniques,” Sanders added. “Our custom-manufactured products, revolutionary design and unmatched installation technology means that the choices are virtually limitless.”
Industry Pioneer & Innovator
With more than two million bathroom remodels since inception, Re-Bath features custom formed bathtub liners and wall surrounds, manufactured from its proprietary product, DuraBath SSP.
This custom manufacturing process, utilizing more than 1,000 bathtub molds, and patented installation technology, guarantees a perfect water-tight fit every time.
Re-Bath Bathtubs are custom manufactured to fit perfectly over old ugly bathtubs. Professional installation is completed in just a few hours and customer’s new baths are ready for use the next day. Each Re-Bath tub is manufactured with the company’s proprietary DuraBath SSP™, which will not fade, chip, peel, rust or mildew.
The stunning beauty of a Re-Bath Wall Surround System will transform bathrooms from dull to dramatic, plus it can help increase the value of a customer’s home. Each Wall Surround System is custom manufactured to cover existing bath and shower walls. There is no need for messy, time consuming and expensive demolition. Better yet, there are no out-of-date tile walls or difficult to clean grout lines.
Re-Bath Shower Bases are manufactured to fit perfectly in any size bay. So if you are a shower person, or just want the piece of mind and safety that comes with converting a bathtub to a walk-in shower, Re-Bath is your answer.
For more information about Re-Bath, call 1-800-BATHTUB or visit www.rebath.com.
Automatic Standby Generators - How Not To Get Left Out In The Cold (Or Heat) When The Power Goes Out
It's the force behind your heater, your lights, your TV and computer. It's your power supply, and if you take it for granted, you might be left in the dark.
When the lights go out, food also starts to spoil and heat and cold shut off—often in extreme temperatures, creating a health concern for children and the elderly. And what's worse, sump pumps in basements and crawl spaces won't operate when they are most needed to discharge storm water, which can lead to thousands of dollars of damage.
Being without power for few hours is a nuisance. Not having power for days, weeks or even longer can be both costly and dangerous.
The good news is that an automatic standby generator can return your home to full power within seconds. It works even when you're not home. In contrast to a portable generator, an automatic standby generator senses an outage and begins to produce power immediately. There are no extension cords to plug in, gas tanks to fill or switches to flip.
Even better news is that although automatic standby generators were reserved almost exclusively for hospitals, television and radio stations or the very wealthy, advances in technology have made automatic standby generators more affordable and available to mainstream America.
Automatic standby generators rank high on Remodeling Magazine's annual "Cost vs. Value Report," which measures the popularity and return on investment for home improvement projects. Depending on the number of essential circuits required, homes can be protected for about $2,000 plus installation with an 8-kilowatt unit.
HOW IT WORKS
Unlike a portable generator, which can be dangerous and difficult to operate, an automatic standby generator operates on your LP gas or natural gas supply. The generator monitors incoming voltage from the utility line and when power is interrupted, it senses a problem and transfers to standby power.
Within seconds, the generator supplies electricity to the essential circuits you've chosen. When utility voltage returns, the electrical load is transferred back to the utility line.
Sound pretty simple? It is. There are no levers to pull to activate power, no pull cords to yank to start a generator motor and no potentially harmful carbon monoxide fumes due to the fact that the unit is permanently installed outdoors in a safe and secure location. In fact, most automatic standby generators look like the compressor for a central air conditioning system. With a little creative landscaping, you'll never know it's there.
FINDING A FIT
If you think an automatic standby generator might be for you, the first step is to determine what systems in your home you need or want to have powered during an outage. Although you can back-up your entire home, it is typically more cost efficient to back-up essential circuits, which can include some lighting (kitchen, bathroom, basement), a sump pump, a refrigerator and/or freezer, a television, a computer, a microwave, a garage circuit (to operate an automatic door opener) and a security system.
You may also opt to include a home office, an electric water heater (or the electrical supply for ignition for a tankless or hybrid water heater), and a well or irrigation pump.
The next step is to determine the amount of power (in watts) that each of the desired systems requires. Wattage may be listed on the product—if it's listed in amps, multiply by 120. An electrical circuit is about 1650 Watts, a refrigerator 725, a furnace, 750, a water heater 4500-5500. To calculate lights, add the wattage of bulbs.
Then add those numbers to establish the total amount of power needed, which, in turn, will determine the size of the generator needed in kilowatts (kW)—each kilowatt is 1,000 watts. Most residential automatic standby generators range in size from 8kW to 16kW (though there are smaller and larger units) and retail from between $2,000 to $3,500 plus installation.
Leading brands have an "exercise" mode, which will automatically start the generator motor on a regular predetermined schedule—typically weekly—to make sure the device is operating properly. Failure will result in a warning light or alarm, which will allow for necessary maintenance or repairs. Beyond regular "exercising," the oil level should be checked regularly and other maintenance performed as suggested by the manufacturer.
For more information on automatic standby generators, visit www.guardiangenerators.com.