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

November 2001

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The Best Selections in Siding

When you give someone directions to your home, you usually throw in a description, but you probably don't describe the windows or the security system. You describe the exterior walls — usually the most notable part of any home.Siding is in fact the biggest exterior component of almost any home, usually covering more square feet of surface area than the roof, windows and doors combined. It performs a variety of important functions, some physical and some aesthetic.

A Painting Glossary

Acrylic: A type of synthetic polymer used as the binder for high-performance, water-based paints and caulks. Alkyd: A synthetic resin used in oil-based paints. Alligatoring: A scaly pattern that appears on paint due to the inability of the paint to bond to a glossy coating beneath it. It can also be due to the application of a hard coating over a soft primer, or (with oil-based paint) because the wood was re-coated before the undercoat was dry. Binder: A component of paint that binds the pigment particles into a uniform, continuous paint film and makes the paint adhere to the surface.

A Fan With Filters

Ceiling fans move a lot of air, but they also move dust, smoke, pollen and other less-than-desired elements in the air. The Clairion 2 in 1 air cleaner/ceiling fan helps filter all those elements. The fan's blades hold snap-in filters that can trap airborne particles and odors. To make the collection process more efficient, the fan's hub emits ions that make it easier for dust and particles to attach themselves to the positively charged filters. The fans come in a variety of models and sizes. www.clairion.com

No-Fault Fire Protection

You may not have heard of arc fault circuit interrupter breakers, but you will. AFCI breakers are a new safety device designed to help prevent fires caused by damaged or worn electrical wiring. According to the National Fire Protection Association, problems in either a building's permanent wiring or cords feeding power to electrical equipment cause nearly 43,000 fires each year and kill some 370 people. The most common locations for these fires in a home are bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens and storage areas.

Busting Your Ice Dams

Anyone living in a cold climate has seen ice dams - those sparkling bands of ice that form along a roof's edge in the heart of winter. While they may look beautiful, they can be quite destructive. Ice dams develop when snow on the upper part of the roof melts. Water runs down the roof slope under the blanket of snow and re-freezes into a band of ice at the roof's edge, creating a dam. More melted water pools against the dam and eventually leaks into the building under roofing or through roof trim.

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