Innovative solutions for creating healthy, efficient, eco-friendly homes

January 2002

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Mastery Over Mold

For homeowners, mold is a four-letter word. Mold is ugly. Mold can make you sick - really sick. It can damage your carpets, sofas, cabinets and other furnishings. Over time it can rot wood, drywall, ceiling tiles and other structural components of your house. But homeowners don't have to be held captive by the mold that grows in their basements, on their bathroom floors or behind their walls.You can learn how to identify it and get rid of it. Mold has received a lot of attention lately.

The Roofing Revolution

Few parts of your house are exposed to the elements as completely as the roof. The roof has to rise above anything the sky throws at it - rain, snow, hail, ultraviolet radiation. Its surface suffers the extremes of temperature, in many places reaching 120° F in the summer sun and falling well below zero in the winter. And after it contends with those challenges, we still expect the roof to shed water and keep the structure snug and dry. It's no wonder a new roof is often one of the first major maintenance projects that homes require.

If Power Fails, UPS Delivers

You don't have to live in California to worry about electrical power. All over the United States, power authorities are straining against high consumer demand. Brownout conditions or unannounced outages may become more frequent in many locales. Why are computers so susceptible to sudden power loss? Most of the components in a computer are solid-state and unaffected by power dropouts. But the hard-disk drive is the Achilles heel of your computer system.

Busting Your Shop Dust

Using modern power tools to cut, shape and sand wood, you can create useful and beautiful projects. You'll also create wood dust - probably lots of it. Ranging in size from the relatively large wood chips that might shoot out the back of a thickness planer to fine dust from sanding (with some particles smaller than one micron), this dust is more than a just a nuisance - it's downright dangerous. The dangers of wood dust in the shop come on two basic fronts: health hazards and fire risks.

From The Ground Up: A Just-Right Site

In the last issue, we discussed the ways in which human comfort is affected by four environmental variables: air temperature, relative humidity, radiation and air movement. For starters we looked at the large-scale (macro) climatic maps of these variables published by the National Climatic Data Center. I advised studying the maps while imagining your favorite outdoor activities, whether swimming, golfing, bird watching or ice fishing. Doing so will give you a general sense of where in the country you would be most comfortable.

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