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10 votes

Is it safe to harvest rainwater that fell on solar panels?

If you plan to use that collected water for drinking and cooking then you will need a proper filtration / treatment system... Ingesting diluted bird-droppings is not a good idea... So, a simple ...
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  • 20.6k
4 votes

How well does masonry blocks used in European home construction insulate compared to a well insulated American (wood) wall?

Insulation value of masonry walls vs wood-frame walls You should be able to find guidance. For example Scottish Guidance, UK Guidance In the UK, I believe regulations specify maximum U-values U-...
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3 votes
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How to reduce my electric bill

Without knowing more details, any advice is going to be very generic. Preventing Energy Loss Look into weather sealing, if you find windows or doors that are drafty Add attic insulation if you don't ...
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  • 2,120
2 votes
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What is considered Greener/Greenest laminate flooring option available?

In my last kitchen remodel, I used linoleum, mostly because it was a natural and "green" product. Note that vinyl flooring is often inappropriately called linoleum. You can read more online, but I ...
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  • 2,345
2 votes

How do you retrofit attic baffles in attics with very little room?

I currently have this existing problem. I had to engineer a solution that was acceptable. First, I removed the damaged, moldy insulation, and sprayed some mold killer while the ventilation was fully ...
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2 votes

How can I estimate the percentage of electricity (bill) is due to heating and cooling?

Your method works to a first approximation. One big assumption is that you had no (or little) costs to heat and cool during that smallest-bill month of May. The other big assumption is that all of ...
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  • 8,444
2 votes

Is it safe to harvest rainwater that fell on solar panels?

No, it isn't, but not because of the solar panels. If you have access to municipal water, there's no economically viable way to make rainwater potable. Roughly speaking, rainwater is about as dirty ...
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  • 1,665
1 vote

Is it safe to harvest rainwater that fell on solar panels?

I think you've overstated this. Many communities in rural areas live off rain water and enjoy good quality and clean water (without complaint). It's important to treat it (as your caveat makes clear) ...
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1 vote

Cupric chloride on pressure relief valve of gas water heater

Wipe it off with a wet rag, then see if it comes back. This could be the result of too much flux being applied before soldering and the excess not wiped off. If you cannot get it off with water, you ...
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  • 19.6k
1 vote
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Are the plants too close to the building?

If your house had wood siding or other siding that allowed the vines to grow under it, then I would say keep it away. Since you have brick veneer, that will not be an issue, It may attach itself to ...
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  • 31.1k
1 vote

How to reduce my electric bill

I'm sorry, but I can't give generic conservation advice. For the kind of money you're spending, it's crazy to take blind shots and pray. You need whole house power monitoring This is a system ...
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1 vote

How well does masonry blocks used in European home construction insulate compared to a well insulated American (wood) wall?

Although I don't have any research numbers to compare for you, I have discussed the building differences from Europe compared to the USA with others more experienced. Generally speaking, in northern ...
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1 vote

How do you retrofit attic baffles in attics with very little room?

Our 46-year-old tract house has a 3-in-12 pitch truss roof, loose Rockwool insulation, and no baffles at all, not even the cardboard. The 2 x 4 studs are 24-inches OC. The roof sheathing is minimal ...
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  • 19.6k
1 vote

How do you retrofit attic baffles in attics with very little room?

Two obvious but invasive ways are to: Take up the roof sheeting and work the baffles from above the rafters. Remove the ceiling drywall under the baffle area and install the baffles from below. With ...
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  • 61k
1 vote

'Green' alternative to TSP for cleaning walls for paint preparation

It's not easy but it provides a piece of mind. I've just been using 3M sponges with scrub-pads and Meyers Household Cleaner. I've peeled the wallpaper in three rooms and followed up with a good scrub....
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  • 33
1 vote

Does anyone have experience with insulating with waste-wool from shearing?

As for sheep's wool it is a great insulating product. I actually ran into 50 rolls at a local Habitat store that had them going for $4 a piece. So I bought them all. They were non-faced rolls and ...
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  • 46.2k
1 vote

What could be causing the copper green smells in my house when the furnace turns on?

If by Copper-Green you mean any of the copper-naphthalene wood preservatives out there used to prevent wood rot, and it was applied to the studding, etc. that supports this fireplace shell: These ...
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1 vote

Why don't American homes have blinds on the outside of their windows?

They're not to everyone's taste. They roll up into a large box above the window -- either inside or outside. And they are more expensive than blinds. Maybe Europeans like them for the noise and ...
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