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

January 2002

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Home Q&A - Rotating Ball Faucet

Question: The rotating ball faucet in our master bathroom has developed a stubborn leak. The faucet seems to be in fine shape otherwise; it matches the rest of our single-lever plumbing fixtures, and to be totally honest - I don't feel like replacing the entire faucet just yet. Can you tell me how to repair it so I can get a few more years out of it? Answer: The first thing to try with any leaking rotating ball faucet is to tighten the cap, which is just under the handle and usually has a band of ridges on it much like the ridges on the edge of a quarter.

Pool Owners Warming To Solar

The fastest-growing market for solar water systems is swimming pools. Last year, about 95 percent of the square footage of all solar collectors shipped to U.S. markets were for swimming pools. And there are good reasons why the number is that high. Solar heating systems for swimming pools can be very cost-effective. A recent analysis of such systems for pools in Florida found that homeowners generally recoup their investment in 1.5 to seven years. A system typically costs from $2,000 to $4,000 installed.

Preserving Without Peril

When I go into my local building supply store to buy lumber, the first thing I'm asked is whether I want "white wood" or "green-treated." Over the last few years, my home projects have been a deck, a privacy fence for the back yard and low retaining walls in my garden. For these projects, I want the wood to last a long time, so I've bought green-treated lumber. But in recent years, this widely used product - also known as pressure-treated, or PT, lumber - has come under fire. Many people are concerned about its health effects, especially on children. Is the threat real?

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.

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.

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