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

May 2002

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Water and Sewage

In the last issue, we discussed getting access (road or driveway) and electricity to a building site. In most states a plot of land is not considered buildable - you won't be allowed a building permit - unless it is served by a sewer line or the soil is acceptable for on-site sewage disposal. This brings us to the remaining site services: water and sewage. WATER If you buy bottled water, you've seen distilled water on the shelves as well. The process of distillation - evaporation followed by condensation - removes all impurities from water, making it pure and nearly tasteless.

What Lies Beneath

There's a time bomb in your basement, and you probably don't even know it. Down there with your furnace and tools are hazardous products for cleaning, painting, lubricating, disinfecting and scores of other uses. When used and stored properly, these household products are perfectly safe. But when it comes time to get rid of the quarter can of paint you've had for 10 years, the rat poison, the furniture polish or even mothballs that have been around longer than you can remember, these products can become downright dangerous.

Where There's Fire...

Pity the homeowner who tries to sort out the facts about unvented gas heaters. Unvented fireplaces have become popular over the past two decades because they are designed to be installed anywhere in a home without being vented outside. Homeowners find that flexibility and simplicity hard to pass up. Yet as their popularity has built, so has opposition. Critics say unvented heaters are potentially dangerous - a source of indoor carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and damaging moisture.

5 New Home Trends

From its framing to its appliances, the American home is being reinvented. Here are five trends to watch. The revenge of the building scientist may be at hand. Plying a complex trade, these experts on the inner workings of the American home have never had much luck in getting the public at large excited about what they do, but James and Delores Williams could help change that. The Atlanta couple will spend only about $300 a year to heat and cool their new house.

Maintaining Your Cool

Whether you™ve got a room air conditioner or a central air conditioner, you™ve got one of the luxuries of modern life, now almost taken for granted. But you don™t take it for granted when it doesn™t work. With the cooling season here, there are steps homeowners can take to help keep their AC up and running. Moreover, performing this simple maintenance can help lower your electricity bills. Your air conditioner is a mechanical system, like a car. It likewise needs regular maintenance.

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