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

September 2002

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Uninvited Guests Eating You Out of House and Home?

Carpenter ants and termites are wood-destroying insects that cost us billions of dollars every year. More than 90 percent of the homes in the United States are wood framed. But even homes built of masonry and steel serve up delicious wood treats to these pests. Left unchecked, they systematically destroy our homes and valuable wood objects in them. Termites pose a considerable economic threat to wood structures. As a nation, we spend two-thirds of our annual pest-control budget on termites.

How To Read Your Appliances

Since 1980, all appliances sold in the United States have been required by the Federal Trade Commission to carry an Energy Guide label. The original intent of this label was to inform consumers of just how energy efficient -or inefficient - their white goods (refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, etc.), heating and cooling equipment, and water heaters are in use.

The Ins and Outs of Reverse Mortgages

If you or a loved one own a home but are strapped for cash, i.e., house-rich but cash-poor, a reverse mortgage may be just what the doctor ordered. Until fairly recently, there were only two ways to get cash from your home - you could sell your home and move, or you could borrow against your home and make monthly loan repayments. Now there is a third alternative called a reverse mortgage, and it is another way to draw cash from your home - without selling it or making regular loan repayments.

Building a Better Basement Floor

Building a Better Basement Floor One of the most popular and economical ways to expand a home's living space has always been to finish an unfinished basement statistics show that nearly 900,000 homeowners do it every year. And a project of that type almost always starts with a professional laying down a lot of pressure-treated lumber over the concrete slab in order to attach a floor system. This method can be expensive and often does not solve the problems of cold and dampness associated with basement rooms.

A Refined Floor Plan

In the previous installment, we documented the needs of a family of four through an activity analysis. The analysis resulted in a list of the family's activities that required space, approximate size of each space in square feet, preferred orientation of the space (activity) relative to the position of the sun at the time of the activity, and degree of privacy appropriate to the activity. We then cut out oval bubbles proportional in size to the area of each activity space.

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