Visit our forum for helpful tips and advice from other do-it-yourselfers! Click here.
Have an idea for our next newsletter? Send it our way!
Would you like to advertise on the On The House website or e-newsletter? Click here to tell us more!
To unsubscribe or change your subscription preferences, click here.
Keep the top of your house in top condition. Dr. Roof’s advice can keep you from needing costly housecalls.
On The House Express is brought to you in part by:
What is the Tankless Water Heater Tax Credit?
The US Government’s 2009 Tankless Water Heater Tax Credit is a $300 tax credit given to US citizens who purchase a Tankless Water Heater with an Energy Factor above .80. Originally established through the successful Energy Policy Act of 2005, this tax credit has been extended to 2009 through the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The U.S. Department of Energy offers more information about the legislation here.
This $300 tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the taxes that you pay for 2009. If you were going to pay $500, you will now pay $200, and if you were going to receive a refund of $100, you will now receive a refund of $400.
Which Heaters are Eligible?
All tankless water heaters with an Energy Factor above .80 are eligible for the 2009 Tax Credit. This includes Takagi Tankless Water Heaters, Bosch Tankless Water Heaters, and Paloma Tankless Water Heaters:
Takagi T-K Junior Tankless Water Heaters for 1 to 2 Bathrooms, Takagi T-K3 Tankless Water Heaters for 2 to 3 Bathrooms, Takagi T-K3-OS Tankless Outdoor Water Heaters for 2 to 3 Bathrooms, Takagi T-M1 Whole House Tankless Water Heaters for 4 or more Bathrooms, Bosch 1600H Tankless Water Heaters for 1 to 2 Bathrooms, Bosch 2400ES Tankless Water Heaters for 2 to 3 Bathrooms, Paloma 5.3 Series Tankless Water Heaters for 1 to 2 Bathrooms, and Paloma 7.4 Series Tankless Water Heaters for 3 to 4 Bathrooms
All of these heaters are available for both Natural Gas and Liquid Propane and can be purchased with FREE SHIPPING* from PexSupply.com.
How do I claim the Tankless Water Heater Tax Credit?
To receive your tax credit, you will need to claim your Tankless Water Heater, purchased between 1/01/09 and 12/31/09 on your 2009 federal income tax forms. The government will process your forms and either deduct the $300 from the amount that you must pay or add the $300 to your refund check.
You will receive this tax credit when you file your taxes. It is recommended that you consult a tax preparer or visit www.irs.gov for further details as PexSupply.com does not pay out the $300.
How is this different from a tax deduction?
A tax deduction reduces the gross amount on which your taxes will be calculated, potentially dropping you to a lower tax bracket and thus lowering the total amount of taxes that you will owe to the government. A tax credit is generally more valuable than a tax deduction because it directly reduces your taxes paid instead of reducing the tax rate and decreasing a percentage of taxes owed. The Tankless Water Heater Tax Credit is like telling the government that you already paid $300 in taxes, so you will not have to pay that amount again or will get it refunded to you.
More detailed guidelines for the Tankless Water Heater Tax Credit can be found here.
*Offer of free shipping available in the continental United States. For all other shipments, a $50 shipping discount will be applied to the order.
Redwood Goes Green, Naturally
When it comes to building materials, green choices are rarely black and white. What constitutes green building? Is it saving energy? Conserving water? Renewability?
Even builders get confused about green building materials. There are more than 50 green building programs in the United States today, each with its own criteria for measuring how green a building or a certain building material is.
Being green, at its heart, has always been about sustainability. It reflects a commitment to conserving resources, reducing your carbon footprint, and living, well, sustainably.
Fortunately, when it comes to enhancing your outdoor living area, it’s easy to be green without sacrificing quality or lifestyle. Choose redwood. It’s red at heart, and green all over.
Energy-efficient, renewable, good for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – redwood passes every measure of green that can be applied to building materials. Start with renewable. There are more than a million acres of lumber-producing redwood forests along California’s central and north coasts. These privately-owned and managed forests are separate from the more than 400,000 acres of redwood set aside in public preserves, where no harvesting takes place.
Private redwood forests are managed to some of the highest environmental standards in the world. About 90 percent of lumber-producing redwood forests are certified to be sustainably managed under the two largest independent certification programs in the world, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Those certification programs examine air and water quality, harvesting and regeneration practices, wildlife protections and other forest management issues.
In fact, all lumber-producing redwood forests are managed sustainably by law. They are all subject to California’s Forest Practice Rules, which an independent study found to be as strict or stricter than FSC and SFI requirements. Private redwood forests are constantly replanted, so there are more redwood trees growing today than at any time in the 500 years.
Redwood is also a remarkably energy-efficient building material. The energy to produce redwood comes from the sun. Whereas making concrete and plastic requires a lot of fossil-fuel energy, redwood is a product of solar energy. Furthermore, redwood lumber is essentially energy self-sufficient, and clean energy self-sufficient at that. Many redwood sawmills are powered by clean, biomass energy produced from wood chips, bark and sawdust. Mills even make additional electricity available to California’s power grid to lower the need to produce energy from carbon-emitting fossil-fuel sources.
Concerns over greenhouse gas emissions like carbon helped launch the green movement, and lowering carbon emissions remains one of the key goals of being green. Greenhouses gases have been linked to global warming, perhaps the biggest issue of our time, and carbon is the highest-profile of all the greenhouse gases.
The more you look at carbon emissions, the greener redwood becomes. Private redwood forests are perhaps the most efficient scrubbers of greenhouse gases in the world, and using redwood products can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While concrete and plastics emit greenhouse gases during their manufacture, redwood products actually store carbon.
All trees remove carbon from the air. As trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen through a process called photosynthesis. The carbon gets stored in the wood fibers in the tree’s roots, trunk and branches, and the oxygen is released back into the air. The faster a tree grows, the more carbon it removes from the air. Young redwood trees are especially fast growers, making them excellent carbon eaters.
When the tree is harvested and made into wood products like redwood decking, the carbon that was stored in the trunk gets stored in the decking and the forest is replanted so more carbon is removed from the air. In fact, the typical redwood deck stores more than a half-ton of carbon safely out of the atmosphere. So with a redwood deck, you can reduce your carbon footprint and leave your footprint on your carbon!
When it comes to green outdoor living, redwood is the natural, low maintenance choice.
For more information on green building, redwood decks and other projects, visit www.calredwood.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maintaining yoru resolutions
It is exactly the same as what is now happening to the banking and financial sectors.
Resource allocation occurs, if some branches are inefficient and not profitable, the home office will shut it down!!!
Well that is exactly what the body is doing when you are vegging out in front of the TV eating Doritos by the hand full. Your body starts to shut these systems down and you go catabolic, as to breaking down tissue rather than anabolic, which means you are building tissue. So now your whole metabolism starts that downward spiral.
Well get moving and start living. If you need more motivation find a local trainer in your area that is qualified and you feel comfortable with and then create some accountability.
Or check out the DVD at my website overthehillfitness.com for a plethora of great exercises and nutritional info at 1/10th the price of what a personal trainer will charge.
Live younger longer.
Sick-House Symptoms and Solutions
Many people are unaware that indoor air pollution can be just as bad as, or even worse than, outdoor air pollution to an individual's health.
EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally, more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels. It's estimated that most people spend as much as 90 percent of their time indoors...making home, school and the workplace potentially hazardous to one's health. Health risks probably are higher for infants, the elderly and persons with chronic diseases.
Further, laws designed to improve energy efficiency by cutting down on drafts don't improve indoor air quality. Tightly sealed homes constructed in the last couple of decades might have diminished the use of fossil fuels, but have wreaked havoc with Americans' respiratory systems. Homes that can't "breathe" can't dilute pollutants contained in building and decorating products.
Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air-quality problems. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources, and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. This allows concentrations to build up. High temperature and humidity levels also can increase concentrations of some pollutants.
All these pollutants have one thing in common; they contain chemicals that are part of a larger class of chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are organic (carbon-based) chemicals that evaporate readily at room temperature. VOCs typically are found in high indoor concentrations in dry-cleaned clothing; chloroform from chlorinated water; benzene from tobacco smoke (one of the leading indoor air pollutants); formaldehyde from fabrics, pressed wood products and insulation; styrene found in adhesives, foam, lubricants, plastics carpets and insulation; methylene chloride from paint strippers; and carbon tetrachloride from paint removers.
Other potential sources of indoor air pollution are central heating, cooling and dehumidification systems, household cleaning and maintenance products, outdoor sources such as pesticides and biological contaminants such as animal dander, mold and cockroaches.
While indoor air pollution affects people differently, in general, short-term exposure might cause immediate effects such as headaches, dizziness and allergies. Long-term exposures can result in respiratory disease, heart disease and cancer, all of which can be severely debilitating, even fatal.
Building-related illness is an identifiable disease or illness that can be traced to a specific pollutant or source within a building. In contrast, the term "sick building (sick home) syndrome" is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but where no specific illness or cause can be identified. Both syndromes are associated with acute or immediate health problems.
While this is not particularly good news, awareness is the first step in creating a more healthful indoor environment and improving your health. Your best defense against indoor air pollution is a strong offense. First, identify and control sources of pollution to reduce and prevent indoor air contamination. This can range from changing housecleaning products to airing out freshly dry-cleaned clothing to tossing out formaldehyde-containing furniture. Equally important is improving ventilation. Proper ventilation...the mixing of indoor air with outdoor air...can revitalize the air in your home and protect your health.
Since cigarette smoke is one of the single greatest contributors to indoor air pollution, smoking indoors is a no-no. Similarly, fireplaces and other fuel-burning appliances (water heaters, furnaces, stoves, etc.) should be properly adjusted and vented to the exterior. Doing so will both prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning and improve the efficiency of the appliance.
Adequately sized exhaust fans should be used wherever moisture and combustion are present in the bathroom, laundry and kitchen. A bath fan, for example, will help to dissipate chloroform gas, which is a byproduct of chlorinated water. It also will remove excessive moisture that can lead to mold which can produce yet more health hazards.
There are other indoor air pollutants that deserve your attention, such as asbestos, lead and radon. The first two were used pervasively in building products before being outlawed by the EPA in the late 1970s. The rule of thumb with asbestos and lead is that it is best left alone if it in good shape and not peeling or crumbling. Asbestos or lead should not be scraped or sanded and should be removed only by a professional abatement contractor with the proper equipment. Moreover, testing should be performed after the abatement process to ensure the air quality is safe.
Radon, on the other hand, is a naturally occurring gas that is derived from uranium in the ground. Radon can make its way into a home through cracks in foundation or basement walls. Small amounts of radon can be controlled by sealing cracks with a caulking or patching compound. Higher levels might require the installation of an exhaust system to disperse concentrated amounts into outdoor air.
Do-it-yourself test kits are available for many indoor air pollutants such as lead or radon. Other indoor pollutants such as asbestos require professional testing. In either case, if you haven't or someone in your family hasn't been feeling up to snuff, or if you suspect that your home contains more than its share of pollutants, we suggest that you have your home tested by a pro.
Overhead Storage Makes Space For Other Things
This last holiday season one Carey brother finally broke from tradition and purchased an artificial Christmas tree. Turns out to have been a good move. The tree stands 10 feet tall and comes in four sections. It has collapsible branches that are pre-wired with hundreds of twinkle lights. The prospect of never having to string another set of lights or add water to the reservoir, along with future annual savings, was all it took.
The new tree survived the holidays well. In contrast to previous cut trees, it looked as good as the day it was put up. It came apart the same way that it was assembled, and in a matter of minutes, was placed neatly on the garage floor. It was only at that moment the Carey brother in question began to panic. Where was this new addition to spend the other 11 months of the year?
The two-car garage already was cluttered to the point where it barely accommodated one vehicle. The artificial tree, only moments before a marvelous find, became the enemy, as it threatened a man's final frontier and most sacred of all places...the garage.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and it was time to win back the garage. Its walls were lined from floor to ceiling and wall to wall with boxes of all shapes and sizes. The mission was to make room for the tree and as many of the boxes as possible. The answer was to convert dead attic space above the finished garage into a storage area.
This was accomplished by cutting a hole in the garage ceiling and installing a pull-down attic staircase, along with several sheets of plywood flooring atop the ceiling joist. Since the underside of a pull-down attic staircase usually consists of plywood and is, therefore, not fireproof, the fireproof configuration needed to be preserved by installing a solid-core fire door at the ceiling.
Besides storing the tree, the space accommodated all the boxes, making room in the garage for a second car. Not all storage stories have such a happy ending, however. Often, a garage ceiling is either unfinished or consists of pre-manufactured roof trusses, which make it virtually impossible to use the area for storage. Recently we came across a new product that offers a storage solution for those who are space-challenged. HyLoft overhead storage (www.hyloftusa.com) converts otherwise useless overhead garage space into valuable storage real estate.
The system consists of one 4-foot by 4-foot wire-grid shelf unit that hangs from the ceiling of the garage. The lightweight grid sits atop two metal support bars that are fastened to four downrods. The downrods are in turn anchored to the underside of two ceiling joist. A previous homemade incarnation of this system consisted of 2 by 4s and plywood, which were, unfortunately, exceedingly heavy, thus limiting the weight of items to be stored. The four downrods on the HyLoft system can be adjusted from 16 inches to 28 inches from the ceiling. One aspect that makes this system especially appealing is it can be installed immediately above a garage door, providing there is a minimum of 17 inches clearance. Properly installed, the system will not interfere either with garage doors or openers.
One 4-foot by 4-foot overhead storage system will provide about 35 cubic feet of storage and is warranted to hold a maximum of 250 pounds, evenly distributed. To adequately disperse the stored load, not more than two HyLoft units should be installed on any two ceiling joist. The installation consists of locating the ceiling joist, measuring the bracket locations and anchoring the brackets to the ceiling joist with the screws provided. Complete the job by fastening the downrods and attaching the crossbar supports. You get instant storage in a location that might otherwise have gone unused.