Show Notes: Foam Place Like Home
Ever considered naming your home? Didn’t know where to start? You do now!
As you’ve come to know from our show, most products can be used for more than their intended purpose. And spray foam is no different!
Want to know some of the CES’s great new products? We’ve curated a few of the best (and brightest)!
Humidity got your hair flat? Or too big? Need help getting the right levels and maintaining them? You won’t after these facts!
Missed our live show? That’s okay, we have a podcast of the show. It’s the same thing we aired on the radio, but ready for you whenever you’re ready! Check it out here.
Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired January 19, 2019
Should You Name Your Home?
Street numbers and names, in the grand historical scheme of civilization, are a relatively new phenomenon, and have only been in use for the past couple of centuries. Before homeowners identified their dwelling by number and street name, they often used a house name that represented one of the structure’s identifying factors.
Once reserved for grand estates and castles, house naming is a much more casual affair these days thanks to social media. House names can be like Twitter names or vanity license plates: Another place to define your identity and communicate your personality and humor.
If you’re a homeowner, a great name for your home might even help you sell it. From UK’s The Telegraph:
“The survey undertaken for the property website Globrix, found that one in 14 said they would be prepared to pay more for a home just because it had a name. Even those that were not prepared to pay more said their opinion of the property would improve, with 40 per cent saying they would be more interested in viewing a property with a name.”
Naming Your House
Ready to give your home a pedigree? Think about what kind of home you have. A word or suffix that describes your dwelling is a good place to start. (House, Home, Cottage, Lodge, Chateau, Regency, Villa, Arms, Wing, Corridor, Studio, Row, Bungalow, Barn, Loft, Hideaway, Oasis, Retreat, etc.)
Then, come up with a unique name to pair with it:
Are there any geographical features nearby? Think about your location and the views from your home. Willows, Ivy, Hillside, Meadow, Valley, Pacific, Gulf, Railway
Any historical significance to your building? Old Mill, Factory, School House, Church
What’s nearby? Think about the name of your neighborhood, street names, close landmarks or even rail stops. Haight, Westside, Flatiron, Euston, Division, Highlands
Any flora or fauna local to your region? State birds or just plant names you particularly like? Fox, Honeysuckle, Squirrel, Birch, Peartree, Cherrywood
Does your home or building have something unique about it? What do people comment on when they come over? Red Shutters, Ironwork, Picket Fence, Gates, Brick, Winding Drive, A Hundred Stairs
From these starting points, you might come up with names like The Old School House Loft, Honeysuckle House, Peartree Cottage, The Euston Arms, Church View Row, Hundred Stairs Studio, or a thousand others.
What Do You Do With Your Home’s Name?
Now that you have one, there are a few fun things you can do to show it off:
Give it a hashtag and document your life at home or your decorating or renovating journey.
Make it a location on social media for friends to check in.
Put it on a plaque near the front door.
Brilliant Uses for Spray Foam That Will Blow Your Mind
Dull the Noise
Water supply lines can create a racket when in use. To prevent the problem, you can use a small amount of spray insulation foam between pipes and framing to keep the pipe in place and reduce noise.
Whether you’re sending something fragile in the mail or keeping valuables safe during a move, secure packing is everything. To protect a delicate item, simply fill a spare shopping bag half-full with spray insulation foam and place in the bottom of a box, pressing the item gently into the bag as it hardens to cushion the item. Repeat for the top and you have a DIY custom packaging solution that can handle the rigors of delivery.
You can’t overlook the basics when dealing with a versatile product like spray foam. It’s still a go-to solution for insulating and filling gaps in walls, crevices and around windows and doors.
Carve Spray Foam
There is no shortage of creative uses for spray foam, and carving it is just one of many. You can create props, costume accessories, and decor with a little patience and ingenuity.
Shore up the Tub
If you have a bathtub that flexes under foot, simply fill it with water to weigh it down, and fill the space underneath with spray foam. Many standalone tubs have access panels that will allow you to reach these spaces. Otherwise, a small hole in facing drywall can do the trick and will require little patching to repair afterward.
Keep the Critters Out
Any crack can be an interstate highway inviting pests into your home. Handle any possible entries by filling cracks with copper mesh, use a screwdriver to push it in and fill remaining gaps with expanding foam.
Due to some framing practices, corners of exterior walls can be particularly susceptible to mold growth, because there are pockets of uninsulated space that allow cooler air to pool and condense.
Improve Your Sink
Insulate and soundproof an aluminum sink by spraying the underside with spray foam, paying particular attention to the gap between sinks. While this can be done while the sink is installed, ensure you are wearing safety equipment and prepare the area beneath the sink for drips.
Shore Up Concrete Problems
Spray foam really is a magical tool for household insulation. Although fiberglass has been commonly used for insulation, spray foam can actually outperform it. Plus, with so many ways you can use spray foam, this material certainly is handy. Now only if it could help us out with all of those concrete problems…
Oh wait, it actually can!
Demilec, a company located in Texas, has invented a type of insulation foam that can help all of the cracks and uneven pavement problems. Geolift can help to lift existing concrete surfaces and fix those problem areas around your house with much less labor. Geolift works for driveways, sidewalks, patios, garage floors, even pool decks. And yes, it is a foam, just like your beloved spray foam!
Firm Up a Wobbly Showerhead
Squirt a little expanding foam around a loose shower arm, and it’ll be solid as a rock. Let the foam set up until it’s stiff and carve off any excess around the shower arm. Slide the cover plate tight to the wall and you’ll never know there’s foam holding things together. This same trick firms up any other loose or wobbly pipe.
CES 2019 New Products
A music-blasting, Alexa-enabled toilet
If you thought adding a bidet to your current commode was the pinnacle of bathroom luxury, Kohler’s here to help you elevate your standards. The Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet is a $7,000 commode that goes all-in on the smart home concept. It bundles Amazon Alexa functionality, integrated Bluetooth speakers, ambient lighting and a hands-free open/close lid. It also has a remote if you don’t want to talk to your toilet in the middle of the night. If you’re wondering about the Numi 2.0’s primary functionality, it boasts heated seats, a warm air dryer, a stainless steel wand and adjustable water temperature.
Ding- Dong! Ring Door View Cam
This is Ring’s fifth doorbell offering, but what’s different about the Door View Cam is that it’s actually two separate pieces. Meaning that there’s a side that the visitors see and the other side, which connects through the removed peephole on the inside of the door. It should be obvious by now that you actually need a peephole in order to use the device, and you need to remove it in order to join the two sides together.
After removing the existing peephole in your door, connecting the two sides together takes just a few minutes. Ring includes all of the necessary hardware to complete the job. Installation doesn’t require drilling or any permanent modifications to the front door.
The doorbell side that visitors see resembles a tiny black or silver traffic light, with three round buttons, although only one is actually a button. On the top is the peephole aspect of the device. This feature still gives you the option of looking outward if you just want to take a look at who’s outside. The middle “button” is the camera, which offers high-definition resolution. The bottom button is actually what visitors push to ring the doorbell.
The camera offers high-resolution imaging, and like other Ring devices, comes with an app that sends you notifications about motion alerts. You can set up blackout areas that block out certain views so that you aren’t getting an alert every time your neighbor across the hall takes his seven cats for a walk (or if said neighbor is concerned about their own privacy and doesn’t want a camera pointed at their door).
The doorbell also features something called “Motion Stop,” meaning that if it determines the motion that’s recording is unimportant, it will stop recording to prolong battery life. You can also adjust motion sensitivity, so things like blowing trees outside your door don’t trigger a motion alert. One nifty feature is an impact sensor that detects a knock or if someone might be trying to forcefully open the door. It can be yours for $199.
Eve Light Strip
It’s usually Philips Hue that dominates the world of smart lighting, but at this year’s CES it was Eve Light Strip that shone brightest of all…literally.
The Apple HomeKit-compatible LED light strip is 2m long bendable strip of LED lights, and with 1800 lumens (compared to Philips Hue’s 1600), Eve claims the title of brightest HomeKit light strip to date.
Priced at $79 in the US (other region pricing coming soon), the light strip comes with adhesive on the back so you can attach to your various parts of home for extra flair, whether that’s under your couch, shelves, kitchen countertop, or behind your computer or television.
The Eve Light Strip works with the Apple Home app and Siri thanks to its HomeKit compatibility. You can easily change the colors with your iPhone, as there are pre-sets within the Home app, but like many smart lighting gadgets, the entire spectrum is available in the native app.
Ideal Indoor Humidity Levels & How To Control Them
We all know how important humidity can be to your skin, hair, and overall health, but did you also know that it’s vital to the health of your home? If humidity levels dip too low your furniture and house will deteriorate and certain germs will thrive. Let’s talk about what humidity levels you should keep in your home year round, and different techniques to do so.
Ideal in-home humidity levels should hover around 45%. Anything under 30% is too dry, over 50% is too high.
How to Gauge Indoor Humidity Levels
You mean you don’t have a sixth sense for humidity levels? Yeah, no, almost none of us do. But there are some simple ways you can determine if the humidity in your home is too low or high:
Fogging and condensation accumulating on windows, moisture, and mold occurring on walls and ceilings is an indication of too much humidity
Increased instances of static electricity, dried and cracking millwork and paint indicate low humidity levels
If you really want to get serious about humidity, you can get a device, called a hygrometer, to accurately read your home’s humidity levels. You can score a cheap one (digital or analog, whatever’s your style) for less than $10 online. Or if you really want to invest in your healthy home, a device like Awair — which measures temperature plus levels of humidity, carbon dioxide, toxic chemicals, and dust in your air. (You can plug a humidifier directly into the Awair Glow device and have it come on automatically when the humidity drops inside.)
What to Do If Humidity Levels Are Too Low
During the winter, especially, humidity levels drop because cold air holds less moisture than warm air. Homes that utilize forced air heating have an exacerbated problem because furnaces use combustion to create hot air. This burns out most of the water vapor that existed in the first place. To make matters worse, when humidity levels dip, the ambient air feels cooler than more humid environments. So we turn up the heat to compensate! A vicious cycle!
Low humidity causes static electricity, dry skin and hair, increased susceptibility to colds and respiratory illness, and can allow viruses and germs to thrive. Wood floors, furniture and millwork will split and crack, paint will chip, and electronics can be damaged because of low humidity levels.
Adding a humidifier to your home will remedy these problems; there are three standard types from which to choose:
Adding moisture to the air is as simple as placing a vessel of water on top of, or next to, a radiator or other air heating system. They make chic little containers just for this purpose! Leaving wet towels and clothes out to dry are other ways to introduce moisture into the air. This is a very low-tech, low power method, and the strength and humidity controls are limited. The available moisture is dependent on the size of the vessel used and must be frequently refilled.
The most common type of humidifier is a portable one, like the type you set down on the floor or another surface. There are two types: cool mist and warm mist, both of which use a reservoir to hold water. The cool mist uses a wick to absorb the water. A fan blows air through a moistened filter. As the air passes through the filter, it evaporates some of the water into the room. Warm mist humidifiers use a heating element that heats the water before dispersing it into the air. The pros of portable systems are that they are easy to use, a variety of styles and prices are available, and they can be moved as needed. However, similar to the evaporative method above, control and measure of relative humidity is limited, and the reservoir must be refilled about every 24 hours.
Whole House Humidifiers
The best and most controllable humidity system, you can add a whole house humidifier to your furnace to have vapor distributed directly into the heated air and circulated throughout the house your normal duct system. The whole house system is the most expensive option, and requires a cold water connection and space for the humidifier unit. With a whole house humidifier, you control humidity levels with a device called a humidistat (yeah, like a thermostat) — this method has the greatest humidification capacity and provides the most consistency overall.
What to Do If Humidity Levels Are Too High
It is possible for homes to have too much humidity (especially in certain regions) which will create its own set of problems. If your humidity levels are high, you might begin to notice condensation around your home, especially at your windows in winter: when warm, moist air inside comes in contact with cold air on the other side of the window, temperature drops and the air can no longer hold water vapor, resulting in condensation.
If a home does not have the proper mechanical and natural ventilation, excess water vapor from the air can travel through walls and ceilings, causing wet insulation, peeling paint, and mold on walls and rot in woodwork.
Try these steps to lower humidity in your home:
- If you have a humidifier, turn it down or off
- Use a dehumidifier – particularly in basements and during the summer
- Use exhaust fans while cooking and bathing, or open a window if there is fresh, drier air outside
- Reduce the amount of water introduced into the home by cooking with covered pots; taking cooler, shorter showers; venting clothes dryers directly to the outside; and reducing the number of plants in the home
- In tightly constructed homes, use an energy recovery ventilator