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

September 2003

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What's New With Hot Water

Boiling Over There's a rift in the home-heating industry that pits professionals on the water side against those on the air side. That is: hydronic vs. forced warm air. Some contractors prefer one type of heat to the other, but many have learned that to serve their customers well they must offer both types of heat. The term hydronic heat may sound like an obscure, futuristic form of heat production. Yet, it has been around for centuries and is widely regarded as the finest type of heat available for the home.

Let There Be Light

Have you ever thought about building an outdoor kitchen, adding a pool or hot tub, running decorative lights along your driveway or adding electricity to a detached garage? Many homeowners are afraid to work with electrical wiring and prefer to hire an electrician. While we certainly don't want to minimize the risks of working with electricity, this is one area where a knowledgeable homeowner can save a lot of money, if he or she is willing to learn the basics.

Where Wi-Fi Operates

Wi-Fi uses part of the radio spectrum - the 2.4-gigahertz (GHz) band reserved by the Federal Communications Commission for unlicensed use. This means that although the equipment you purchase has been approved by the FCC (and its regulatory counterparts if you're outside the United States), you don't need a license to operate it. Nor are you assured of exclusive use of the band. Wi-Fi uses a transmission technique called spread spectrum, which broadcasts over a swath of different frequencies at different times.

Onsite Septic

Some people don't like to read about septic tanks, their problems and available alternatives. Their septic motto might be, "out of sight, out of mind." But if and when the time comes that their system needs fixing or fails outright, you can bet they'd want to know what the experts have to say about maintenance and alternative treatment systems. Septic tanks and alternative systems may not be pleasant subjects, but they are necessary and important to prevent contamination of the environment.

Ins and Outs of Moisture

Water is essential to our survival, yet it can be detrimental to our homes. Water damage is common, costly and devastating to millions of homes across the country. The Institute for Business and Home Safety has put together a guidebook to help homeowners identify early warning signs of excess moisture in order to prevent major structural damage.

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