June 20, 2021 AsktheBuilder Newsletter
Welcome, especially if this is your first issue. I love saying "Hello!" to you and every other new subscriber right up top here.
That said, you may be a very seasoned subscriber. Do you happen to recall the video I did that shows you how easy it is to drill a hole in just about any steel item you may have around your home?
Keep in mind that if you're drilling thin metal, clamp it down and wear thick leather gloves. CLICK or TAP HERE to see how easy it is to drill holes in solid steel.
FREE BIDS - Local Contractors
CLICK or TAP HERE to get FREE BIDS for any job inside or outside your home. You’ll get calls within an hour.
Where Are the Fans?
Lewis Greene emailed me asking, "Why do you rarely, if ever, see whole-house fans in new houses?" Here's one:
How would you answer Lewis?
Here's mine. Whole-house fans were just part of the technology and comfort step ladder. They were very popular after the great WW II and could be found in the attic of many houses. As time progresses, new technology and products trump older ones. That's happened to whole-house fans.
In the 1960s, central air conditioning started to become affordable to the masses. I distinctly remember the outdoor compressor unit being installed in my childhood home.
Prior to that, sleeping on sweltering summer nights in our brick-oven of a house, was almost torture. After the AC was installed, I thought I had died and went to Heaven.
Once people started to see how wonderful it was to have a central air conditioner lower both the dew point and the temperature in a home, they were all in like a game of Texas Holdem'.
Whole house fans work great in climates like New Hampshire and other parts of the world where you have dew points in the mid 50-F range. But if you're in New Orleans, Houston, Orlando, or steamy Miami, you'll kick that whole-house fan to the curb faster than you can say "Alexa, turn down the temperature."
Attention Architects & Draftsmen/women
I know I've mentioned several times that I draw plumbing isometric drawings for anyone that needs to secure a plumbing permit.
When I start to draw, the first thing I do is look at the plan and imagine I'm the plumber. I need to see how I'm going to get the pipes to all the rooms they need to be in.
Multi-story houses pose problems and I'm seeing a disturbing lack of foresight on the part of the person who's creating the floor plans. These people are not looking out for the plumber, much less the HVAC installer who has bigger ducts, nor are they thinking about how in the world you're going to get a 3 or 4-inch pipe across a ceiling and down a nearby wall.
Keep in mind it's always best if you can keep vertical plumbing stacks inside interior walls. Putting one in an exterior wall would always be my last choice for a host of reasons.
Rarely was this an issue in old homes. I rehabbed many an old home in my youth and the architects of old understood that you need to have interior walls that are aligned with bathrooms above.
If you're getting ready to build a new home, I urge you to get your plumber and HVAC man involved early in the planning process. You'll never regret doing this.
Magic Roof Paper
Close your eyes. Oh, wait, if you do that you can't read.
Imagine a paper product made with Teflon components that reflects the sun's heat and even sucks heat out of the interior of a home.
The author of an article about this claims it's so great it can make it so you don't have to use AC in your home. Here was the headline of the article. Realize an editor may have created the headline:
New Sustainable Roofing Material Can Naturally Keep Buildings Cool Without A/C
Does this sound too good to be true? It does to me.
My tiny gray cells came up with this partial list of questions:
How does this material stand up to hail and the sun's destructive UV radiation?
What would a roof covered in paper look like? Similar to the houses covered with blue tarps after Hurricane Katrina?
What happens to the heat? Look at this photo of what my roof temperature gets to on a summer's day:
Think LONG and HARD about that last question of mine.
What is happening to the heat the paper vacuums from the inside of your home?
The point I'm trying to make is be really careful of products that make incredible claims. Don't become a lab rat. Have someone else you know install it at their home and see if it really works.
That's enough for Father's Day. I intend to do some outdoor radio today and kayak for sure. I may be tempted to ram wake-boarding boats that play their music TOO LOUD.
Do It Right, Not Over!
P.S. Answer me honestly. Do you know how to SQUARE a foundation, a wall, a patio, etc. WITHOUT using any crazy math, including algebra? I know how and share the secret HERE.