Thursday, March 25, 2010

Water Heater (Answer)

Hey Ross,

Since you have the option of going with Gas, I would suggest having it professionally hooked up to your gas line.

Natural Gas is the most efficient amongst all of the heating sources available in today’s market. With Heating Oil, running a close second and LP Gas running even a closer third.

Natural Gas is most efficient because it has a quicker recovery time. That means, the heating time is much shorter to heat the same amount of water versus electricity. And Natural gas is more efficient than heating oil.

Prices do vary based on your location.

As far as a recommended size, I suggest a minimum of a 40-gallon water heater. This should suffice for a family of three. Choose the high efficiency model and since you are going from electric to gas now, I recommend the high efficiency model that has a power venting system. This system will allow you to vent the gas vapors directly out side of the house, without making holes in your roof and using metal chimneys.


Thanks for your question.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Water Heater (Question)

Hey Al,

My water heater is starting to leak, and has finally made me look at the stores to purchase another one. With it leaking and not working as best as it can, I actually have the time to do research and make the best decision. So, the ultimate question is, should I buy a water heater that runs on electric or gas? I do have a gas line that goes into the house, so I am flexible on my options. I have a family of three, and we do a moderate amount of use of the dishwasher, showering and laundry.


I will post the answer tomorrow.

Please send questions to Please put "Hey Al" in the subject box.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Dishwasher (Answer)

Hey Holly,

Congratulations on your new home. This will be a kitchen of your dreams. The stainless steel tub dishwashers are not just for looks, but a higher quality unit with some substantial benefits. Although the stainless steel tub dishwashers are more expensive, these units have a longer life expectancy, they are usually whisper quiet compared to the plastic tub models.

With the stainless steel tub units, they are able to achieve the same heat, and even hotter, but using a much lower wattage element, therefore saving money on your electricity bill over a period of time. The higher heat will also sanitize your dishes even more.

Good luck with your new home.


Thanks for your question.

Please send questions to Please put "Hey Al" in the subject box.

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Dishwasher (Question)

Hey Al,

I am considering buying a stainless steel tub dishwasher for my house.
We are having a new house built, and we are picking out appliance and considering the purchase of a stainless steel tub dishwasher. Although they are more expensive than the standard plastic tub models, are they more efficient, just for looks, or just a waste of money?


I will post the answer tomorrow.

Please send questions to Please put "Hey Al" in the subject box.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Time for a check-up

This is a good time to give your house a spring check-up. With Old Man Winter gone, it is a good time to see what kind of damage he left behind. It is also time to prepare the house for the next season.
With the cooling season on the way, it is a good time to have the air conditioning serviced. If you are planning to have the ducts cleaned, now is the time to have it done.

With regard to cooling, let me remind you of the importance of good attic ventilation and proper insulation. This is important in keeping the cooling cost to a minimum.
If you are going to cool your house without air conditioning, here are some tips:

 Inspect window and door screens
 Make sure you have window covering for the south and west facing windows
 Clean and service fans

In warm weather open all windows when the sun sets, then close them at sunrise. Curtains or some type of window covering on the south and west facing windows will help keep the heat of the sun out.

Now is also the time to evaluate your house for maintenance and repairs. Hear is a list of things to check:

 Check the exterior cladding
 If wood cladding- check for warping, loose pieces, also peeling or blistering paint
 If brick cladding- check for cracks, mortar missing between bricks, and spalting bricks (faces popping off brick)
 Check foundation for moisture and movement
 Check landscaping around the foundation for proper grading (no low spots)
 Inspect porches and decks
 Check the condition of your chimney cap
 Clean your gutters
 Check the gutters and downspouts to see if they are attached securely, and in working order
 Inspect roof system and roof flashing

Inspecting the roof system is important. If your roof is in excess of fifteen years old and looks questionable to you, it may be wise to have it inspected by a professional.
Winter conditions can cause the shingles to claw (curl under on the bottom corners). This is also a sign of aging. Also another likely product of winter, is broken or missing shingles.
If your attic is not well vented and insulated, you will likely find the shingles curling up on the corners. This condition is important to monitor because it makes the shingles highly susceptible to wind damage.

Your local Home Inspector can provide you with a list of maintenance items that your home needs. Taking care of these maintenance items will save you money on more expensive repairs down the road.