Which generators are better for your home, and how to prepare your house for this winter!
TRACSAFE ANTI SLIP SEALER – GETTING READY FOR WINTER
- TracSafe Anti-Slip Sealer performs double-duty, as both a high performance clear coat that strengthens and protects surfaces, while also helping to protect the people who walk on it from slip and fall mishaps.
- Its high-performance, odorless water-based technology bonds firmly to all types of flooring materials, from concrete, masonry, stone and pavers, to tile, vinyl, linoleum and pre-painted surfaces.
- TracSafe Anti-Slip Sealer can be used indoors and out. Use TracSafe on garage and basement floors, utility areas and workshops, pool decks, patios and terraces.
- Easy installation: simply roll down two coats of the product a few hours apart using a 3/8” paint roller. Light foot traffic can be resumed in four to six hours (or when fully dry), with normal foot traffic allowed the following day after a 24-hour cure period.
- Low VOC pre-mixed formula features fast dry-time and easy water clean-up.
- TracSafe has excellent adhesion and is designed to last with outstanding resistance to sun, snow, water, salt, chemicals, snow shoveling, foot and vehicle traffic.
- Anti-slip ratings up to twice the OSHA standard, TracSafe provides aggressive anti-slip performance with all-weather durability.
What’s The Best Generator For Your Home?
How much generator power do you need?
There are three basic types of generators: whole house generators, portable generators and inverter generators.
- Inverter generators are ideal for camping, boating and other recreational activities. They operate quieter than other generators and provide power for lights, heaters, fans, radios, smart phones and more.
- Whole house generators (home standby generators) are the best generators for home use. They are designed to provide ample power for your appliances and HVAC systems.
- Portable generators are often used on job sites to power air compressors, nail guns, saws, hammer drills and other equipment. Most are loud, but there are quiet portable generators too.
Whole House Generators
Whole house generators, or home standby generators, keep your home’s systems and appliances powered up whenever you get separated from the power grid.
- Get automatic emergency backup power within seconds of an outage.
- Whole house generators provide blackout protection seven days a week, 24-hours a day and are permanently installed.
- You can operate the machine using an existing fuel supply such as natural gas or liquid propane.
- Whole house generators are flexible enough to power your entire home or just supply power to a few designated circuits.
- When choosing the best generator for home backup, consider models with special features that run the unit more quietly or conduct weekly, self-diagnostic tests.
Best Portable Generators
Popular on job sites, portable generators provide limited power for small, short-term uses. For greater efficiency and longer run time, choose an auto-idle to idle the engine down when it’s not in use.
Here are the approximate wattages of common tools:
- Chain Saw: 1000-1800
- Circular Saw: 1200-1600
- Drill (depends on size): 250-1200
- String Trimmer: 600-1100
- Hedge Clippers: 300-1000
- Leaf Blower: 1000-1400
- Planer: 300-900
- Sanders: 250-1500
- Router: 100-1500
- Shop Vacuum: 700-1400
- Paint Sprayer: 500-1000
- Miter Saw: 500-1000
For more exact wattage amounts, see your specific tool manual.
Tip: The best portable generators for home use will have a 12-volt outlet that makes it easier to charge smart phones and other wireless devices.
Known for their lower noise levels, quiet inverter generators are lightweight and easy to transport. They use an engine connected to an alternator to produce AC power and convert it to DC power. DC power can be stored, which makes an inverter one of the best types of generators for traveling in an RV, tailgating, camping or boating.
Here are the approximate wattages for items commonly powered by an inverter generator:
- Lights: 250
- Fan: 100
- Space Heater: 1500
- Hot Plate: 1200
- Crock Pot: 1200
- Television: 250
For more exact wattage amounts, see your specific appliance manual.
Tip: You can usually connect two inverter generators together for twice the power.
Generator Fuel Types
When choosing between types of generators, consider the types of fuel each generator will need. Fuel availability and storage are important factors when maintaining your generator. The generator’s fuel source should be affordable for you and on-hand whenever you need it.
Got Stinky Ants?
How to Get Rid of Stinky Odorous House Ants
Have you ever stepped on or otherwise crushed trailing ants, smelled a strange odor—a bit like rotten coconuts? If so, it is probable that those ants were odorous house ants, and you can understand how they got their name!
Odorous house ants can be found trailing through kitchens in homes all across the U.S. This ant is most likely to enter homes after heavy rains when it is attempting to escape flooding of its shallow nest.
Odorous house ants are tiny but fast. They usually travel in lines, but if they are disturbed or alarmed they will run around erratically, releasing their odor as they run. Some people have also equated their odor with a sort of a strange pine scent, though rotten coconuts are the most frequent association.
Small Ants in Your Home
But their foul odor is not the only unique thing about these tiny ants. They move their homes so often that if they were winged, they could have their own frequent flier program. During the summer, these ants will move their nests as often as every three weeks, and that’s not easy to do when you have thousands of ants and multiple colonies in each nest.
Some odorous house ants do have wings for a very short time. In the spring or early summer (depending on the geographic area), these ants will swarm to breed. After mating, the female may return to the colony to lay her eggs or may venture out to start a new one.
At only about 1/8 inch long, this dark brown or black ant is especially attracted to sweets, such as fruit juices and pastries, but it will also eat a variety of foods, including meats and pastries. And it can nest just about anywhere; under stones, logs, mulch, or debris; in the nests of birds or mammals; and inside homes, in walls, window frames, and insulation.
- Trim back trees and shrubs away from the house to remove this access point. Ants will climb plants and find cracks and crevices through which they can enter your home.
Keep foods tightly covered and stored. Wipe counters and surfaces clean, as ants can have a feast on tiny crumbs and grease.
- Do not leave pet food in bowls when pets are not eating—this provides an easy-access attractant for all kinds of ants—as well as other pests, such as mice, cockroaches, and flies.
What to Use
- Bait: Baits are usually the best option for eliminating ants that have gotten into the home. Ant baits can be purchased at most home and garden stores. Following all label directions, the bait should be placed where ants have been seen. Because ants can be finicky and prefer different types of foods at different times of the year, you may need to try different baits. But be patient. The ants will feed on the bait, and then carry it back to the nest to feed the colony. It is through this feeding that the insecticide will be transferred to, and kill, the queen and other colony members.
- Indoor sprays: Never spray trailing ants in your home. You will kill the workers that are there, but other ants will soon appear—having followed the scent trail laid down by the first set of ants.
- Perimeter treatment: Applying a properly labeled insecticide around the perimeter of the home and under siding can help keep ants from crawling in. The homeowner, following all label directions; can do this or you can hire a pest control professional.
- Nest treatment: If the ant nest can be found, it can be effective to treat the nest itself with a properly labeled insecticide. In some cases, however, the ant species will have multiple colonies, so treating a single nest will not relieve the problem. For this reason, it is important to identify the species before treatment.
Spray Foam Insulation Is Now a DIY Project!
Have your heating bills been through the roof? Are you also struggling to keep your house cool during the summer? If so, you might have insufficient insulation. When your home isn’t insulated correctly, there’s a chance of drafts getting into the house during the winter and escaping during the summer. To prevent such an incident from occurring, you’d need to invest in spray foam to create a more energy-efficient home.
Spray foam insulation kits are a great choice because they can insulate all sorts of spaces from wall cavities to floors. They’ll also come with everything you need to insulate an area – whether open cell or closed cell. When you purchase a spray foam insulation kit, it’ll usually come with spray nozzles, a gun dispenser, and a hose. Some of them may also come with safety gear.
If you’re new to purchasing a spray foam insulation kit and not where to start, our comprehensive guide will help. We’ll talk about the benefits of getting a spray foam insulation kit and its pros and cons. Then, we’ll give some tips on what you should look for when buying a spray foam insulation kit and provide you with five excellent spray foam insulation kit options.
Benefits of a Spray Foam Insulation Kit
Why should you be getting a spray foam insulation kit? To start, these kits help with reducing energy losses in a home by up to 50%. They also work better than standard insulation because it’s flexible and prevents air from leaking through. While it may be expensive to get everything set up in the beginning, you’ll be saving on energy expenses in the long run. Spray foam insulation helps seal up cracks and holes, so your utility systems won’t have to work so hard to compensate for lost air.
It also helps with deterring moisture. Water can easily seep through openings around pipes and vents – putting your home at risk for unwanted bacteria and rot. In other words, your home could be looking at some costly damage. By spray foaming your home, it’ll seal the tiniest crooks and crannies, so there are minimal chances of water seeping into your home.
If you’re not a fan of drafts, a spray foam insulation kit will help solve that. Spray foam insulation helps to create an airtight seal that’ll protect your home from the elements. It’ll prevent any temperature fluctuations in the building and will instead provide a consistently comfortable temperature. Unlike other insulations, spray foam also sticks to the surface, so you won’t have to worry about a hole that you may have missed.
Another great benefit of spray foam is that it helps minimize indoor allergens such as dust and pollen from entering your home. If you’ve got allergies, it’s especially helpful as there’s no way it’ll be able to come in through the walls. It’ll also prevent pests and rodents from coming into the home and is a non-toxic option that won’t release harmful contaminants into your space.
Spray foam insulation kits aren’t difficult to use. When you purchase a kit, you’ll get everything you need and just have to follow the instructions. Primarily you’ll be using a spray foam gun to spray the material on your desired area. After you’ve done the spraying, your insulation should be dried up and ready to go in about a day.
Spray foam insulation kits are also environmentally friendly since you’ll be consuming less energy in the long run. It’ll help reduce your carbon footprint, and you’ll be doing your part for the environment. It’s long-lasting since it’s only made of two materials and will never lose its shape. It won’t sag or shift over time even in various temperatures, and it’s also heat-resistant.
Another great quality of spray foam is that it’s incredibly dense and has strong adhesive qualities. With that, it’ll provide additional strength and structure to buildings while acting as a layer of protection against humidity and wind. Finally, spray foam also helps with reducing sound. If you’ve been awakened by noisy neighbors or road traffic, spray foam can help. The insulation absorbs sound waves and soundproofs your walls, so you’ll have a quieter home and more privacy.
Pros and Cons
- Reduces energy losses at home. It helps to seal up cracks and holes, so your utility systems don’t have to work as hard.
- Deters moisture and prevents drafts. Sealing the tiniest nooks and crannies that prevent water from seeping into your home.
- Easy to use. You’ll get the instructions and all of the items you need upon purchase of the kit.
- Environmentally friendly. You’re consuming less energy in the long run and reducing your carbon footprint.
- It helps with reducing sound. Spray foam can absorb sound waves and soundproof your walls.
- Be detailed with the installation. When using spray foam, you’ll want to spot-check the area a few times to make sure that you’ve filled every spot – especially if you’re using closed-cell foam.
Best Features to Look for
When purchasing a spray foam insulation kit, there are some things that you’d need to consider. The first thing to consider is the R-value. The higher the R of the spray foam, the better the insulating power. If the winters in your area are particularly cold or summers are warmer than usual, you’d want to opt for a higher R-value.
The next thing is to make sure that your spray foam is fire-resistant. Fires can happen, so you’ll want to make sure that your kit has a high fire rating. The next thing to think about is density. The higher the density of the spray foam, the better the insulation power, and the more soundproof and protected your home will be.
When purchasing your kit, you’d also want to consider if you’ll be installing the kit on your own or getting a professional to help. Some kits require professional assistance, while others can be installed on your own; you should read the recommendations before your purchase. If you’ve decided to do it on your own, make sure that the kit comes with all of the necessary hardware. Ideally, it should also come with safety equipment such as goggles and gloves.
Then, you’d also want to think about the color. Spray foam insulation does come in multiple colors from brown to white, so that’s something you’d need to consider for the interior of your home. The type of spray foam you purchase is also important as each one of them comes with a different density – depending on the purpose of your insulation, and the room you’d like to insulate.
As a brief overview, there are three types of insulation – high-density spray foam, medium-density spray foam, and low-density spray foam.
- High-density spray foams are thick, moist-proof, fire-retardant, and great for all sorts of environments.
- Medium-density spray foams, on the other hand, are relatively good as well and ideal for insulating and dampening noise.
- Low-density spray foams are lightweight and generally don’t offer the same kind of insulation as the other types of foam. It’s mostly used for rooms that don’t rapidly lose warmth or aren’t connected to what’s happening outside.
The last thing to consider is open-cell versus closed-cell insulation. Open-cell spray foam is ideal for interiors and is cheaper than closed-cell foam. It also helps with dampening sound and can be installed at a low cost. Overall, however, they’re more suited for interior walls as they’re not great for sustaining the house.
On the other hand, closed-cell spray foam is a flood-resistant material that’ll offer reliable protection for your home; it can also work in very low temperatures and helps to add strength to the wall. Closed-cell spray foam is also moisture-resistant, has a high bond strength, and lasts long. They’re great for adding strength to your home’s overall construction and are usually used for exterior walls and roofs.
Wildfire Smoke in Your Home?!
Indoor Air Filtration
When wildfire smoke gets inside your home it can make your indoor air unhealthy, but there are steps you can take to protect your health and improve the air quality in your home. Reducing indoor sources of pollution is a major step toward lowering the concentrations of particles indoors. For example, avoid burning candles, smoking tobacco products, using aerosol products, and avoid using a gas or wood-burning stove or fireplace. Another step is air filtration. Here are some effective options for filtering your home’s indoor air to reduce indoor air pollution.
There are two effective options for improving air filtration in the home: 1) upgrading the central air system filter, and 2) using high efficiency portable air cleaners. Before discussing filtration options, it is important to understand the basics of filter efficiency.
The most common industry standard for filter efficiency
is the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or “MERV rating.” The MERV scale for residential filters ranges from 1 through 20. The higher the MERV rating the more particles are captured as the air passes through the flter. Higher MERV (higher efficiency) filters are especially effective at capturing very small particles that can most affect health.
Central Air System Filter
The filter used in the central heating/cooling system
of the home can effectively reduce indoor particle concentrations when the system is operating or when only the fan is turned on. Most home systems use a low MERV (1-4) fiberglass filter that is 1” thick. Replacing this filter with a medium efficiency filter (MERV 5-8) can significantly improve the air quality in your home. Higher efficiency filters (MERV 9-12) will work even better, and a true high efficiency
Portable Air Cleaners
Portable air cleaners are self-contained air filtration appliances that can be used alone or with enhanced central air filtration to effectively remove particles. How well they reduce air particle concentrations depends on several factors such as the size of the air cleaner, the area to be cleaned, the filter efficiency, how frequently the
unit is turned on and the fan speed. Portable air cleaners fitted with high efficiency filters can reduce indoor particle concentrations by as much as 85 percent. Furthermore, portables can be operated continuously at a lower cost compared to the continuous operation of a central system.
Choosing a Portable Air Cleaner
There are a wide variety of air cleaners on the market, ranging in price from about $50 to $3,000. Air cleaners that cost less than about $200 often do not clean the air as well and may not be helpful for wildfire smoke.
Types of Air Cleaners
Most air cleaners fall under two basic categories:
Mechanical air cleaners operate by pulling air through a filter that traps particles.
Mechanical air cleaners are very reliable and do not produce ozone, an air pollutant that is a known health hazard. Filters in these devices need to be replaced according to the manufacturers’ recommendations, or when the filter is dirty and the air cleaner is not operating efficiently. Electronic air cleaners often use an electrical charge-to-charge particles and remove them from the air.
The three main types of electronic air cleaners
are electrostatic precipitators (ESPs), ionizers, and intentional ozone generators. ESPs have plates (collectors) that need to be cleaned when they get dirty. Ionizers work by making particles deposit on nearby materials.
Ozone generators produce large amounts of ozone, and should never be used in homes or other occupied spaces
Other types of electronic air cleaners use ultraviolet (UV) bulbs and surface coatings like titanium dioxide to improve the removal of pollutants. However, these devices can emit ozone and some that are designed to remove chemicals actually emit volatile organic chemicals into the air. This includes devices that are sold as “hydroxyl” generators.
Electronic air cleaners are not currently regulated, except in California. Caution should be used when selecting an electronic air cleaner, as they may generate ozone and/or other potentially harmful chemical compounds. Air cleaners certified as being ozone-safe can be found on California’s list of certified air cleaners at: https://www.arb.ca.gov/research/ indoor/air cleaners/certifed.htm.
Size Rating of Air Cleaner
When purchasing an air cleaner, check the square footage rating of the device to be sure that the air cleaner capacity is appropriate for the space it is intended to clean.
A useful way to estimate the proper size device is the Clean Air Delivery Rate, or CADR, which is the removal efficiency for a specific size particle and volume of air delivered by an air cleaner in one minute. A useful tool to determine the appropriate air cleaner size for the intended space can be found at http://www.ahamdir.com.
Efficiency and Noise
For best results, the portable air cleaner you purchase should have a filter rated as “high efficiency” (high MERV) or HEPA. The filters for these devices may be more expensive but will do a much better job of cleaning the air than devices with cheap, low efficiency filters.
Noise level is also an important consideration, as some air cleaners can be quite loud when operating at the maximum settings. If noise level is important to you, look for models with low noise ratings, or those that are rated by a reputable reviewer as quiet.
For more information on air cleaning devices:
- California Air Resources website:https:// www.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/aircleaners/ consumers.htm
- Learn about home air cleaners:https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/guide-air-cleaners-home
Special thank you to Peter Daich!
- Which Generator is Better for Your Home: https://www.homedepot.com/c/ab/types-of-generators-for-your-home/9ba683603be9fa5395fab9054dc2520
- How to Get Rid of Stinky House Ants: https://www.thespruce.com/getting-rid-of-stinky-house-ants-2656358
- Spray Insulation Information: https://www.homedit.com/spray-foam-insulation-kit/
- Indoor Air Filtration Facts: https://www3.epa.gov/airnow/smoke_fires/indoor-air-filtration-factsheet-508.pdf
~ Thank you~
A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming!
Thank you to our Technical Support:
- Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer
- Carol “Remodeling Babe” Carey – Executive Producer
- Sam Reed – Associate Producer
- Rico Figliolini – Digital Master
Thank you for tuning in to Generating Heat! And check in next week for more cool tips!
“Generating Heat” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired September 18, 2020.
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