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

January 2002

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Automating Your Home

These days it's hard to imagine a kitchen without a microwave or a family room without a VCR. Whatever the age or size of a home, technology has become an integral part of a comfortable, enjoyable and convenient household. But your house can be smarter still. New technologies can push a home's IQ off the charts, making it possible for you to control lighting, temperature, entertainment and security automatically - even from remote locations.

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.

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.

The Multi-talented Multimeter

To troubleshoot household, appliance or automotive wiring, you can buy all sorts of devices: receptacle analyzers, continuity testers, circuit finders and voltage testers. Or you can buy a multimeter. These multi-talented little devices are widely available for as little as $20 in both analog (swinging needle) and digital form. Even if you prefer your clocks to have hands, get the digital version of the multimeter. It is more accurate and more rugged. There are about as many uses for a multimeter as there are devices in a home.

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