Overflow Removal

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but if you’ve been shopping for vanities recently you may have noticed most manufacturers are making bathroom sinks without the overflow drain. Why the change? They have removed the overflow holes because it creates the opportunity for unwanted bacteria in the bathroom. Per manufacturers, “Most overflows are designed so that they cannot be cleaned and, over time, will develop mold and mildew that usually will require the homeowner to change out their basin.” Is that true? Let’s destroy one and find out. What does that look like to you?

Ants under Pavers

Ants are a huge problem where we live. Fire ants bite and the black ones ruin your foundations. The old tale apparently is the reason gutters are not installed in the south is so that water purposely sits beside the foundation after it rains in order to flood out the ants. Makes sense to me. Ants will burrow holes under your foundation and in this case your Pavors and will cause them to sink. What we did and what you can do is pull the Pavors pack more sand in the holes created and mix in a little Portland cement. That way next time they try to make a home it will be much more difficult. Of course spraying heavily year round helps these issues out to. 

Carrier Greenspeed VR 5-ton Heat Pump VS. Frigidaire 5-ton Heat Pump

By now most of our units have been upgraded to the newer heat-pump technology which is saving our residents hundreds already. This post is a review of Carriers 5 ton variable speed heat-pump. If you don't already know, a heat-pump unit operating in the summer, will pull out hot air from the interior and displace it outdoors. Usually A/C units are either on or off. Not anymore! They've basically added a gas pedal to this thing. So instead of on/off the variable speed motor reduces or maximizes air flow based on need. So your unit could be running at 10%, 30%, 80%, or full blown 100%. I psychologically hear you saying through the interwebz, why do I care? Geez man you're such a nerd! Whateva!...Because you'll have more in the Bank... (After payoff of course) Unfortunately we cannot connect our ecobee, but that's OK because we still have control from smartphone access and you can still program zones with additional hardware. If you are in a situation where you are trying to save bank and choosing between adding or changes in insulation type within your structure vs. upgrading HVAC equipment. In my opinion you'll get more bang for your buck on upgrading the equipment. Stay tuned while we watch the savings pile up and will report more results at a later date! Shout Out to Parker Heating & Cooling for always having our backs! Test results below.

2600sq ft house with loft.
Year over year comparison electric household total (HVAC roughy 40%-50% of bill)
2003 standard 5 ton Frigidaire Heat Pump vs 2017 5 ton Carrier Greenspeed VR Heat Pump

                        2016                                2017                                 Total Savings
July                 2945kWh    $365.19        1833kWh    $234.96        $130.23
August            2800kWh    $344.65      2232kWh    $284.56        $60.09
September      2611kWh      $323.90      1627kWh     $210.72          $113.18

Wood Flooring on Wood Sub Floor

Wood Flooring is probably the best looking and longest lasting flooring you can install. Granted you have to take care of it, depending on the type of wood it can scratch easy, it requires special requirements and high heels are a big no no. Mainly for adults only. It's pretty easy to install. Basically you pile the wood in the location it is to be installed and let it sit for 5 or so days. This is because you want the moisture in the wood to match the moisture level in the room it is to be installed. Without letting it sit, it could warp after the install. Once the days have passed check the wood and the subfloor moisture level with a moisture meter. Moisture for both should be around 5% or lower although we have installed around 10% before with no issues the lower the better. Various percentages are all over the internet but let say don't install over 10% just to be safe. Once levels are in check in your controlled environment lay down the moisture barrier, then underlayment pad and start laying the wood. Once all nailed together and to the floor you can begin your trim work!

Mondo Bondo

Don't care what anyone says. Bondo fixes everything... Take this trim work for example. We wanted to take a door off because sometimes you just want to see everything. 👗  All you do is unscrew the door. Take out your trusty bondo car body filler, mix up the goop and slab it on. Wait about 5 minutes and sand her down, prime and paint. BOOM, no door was ever installed there and all you have left is fancy trim work without having to rip anything out. 👍 😏

GE Geospring Pro Heatpump

Its time to test another technology out. This one is good. Real good. It's a heat pump water heater. Basically what this thing does is it efficiently pulls heat from your garage and displaces it into the water. This process is much less of a strain on energy usage than the heating elements. It's byproduct of this process is...get this...cold air and dehumidification! What? You mean I have an a/c in my garage now and no Florida humidity. MAN CAVE! Only other by product is condensation so you would need to make an exit for that. So my probably wrong calculations are below, but if you were to upgrade to this guy you would pay almost double out of pocket but estimations on payback is roughly 3-5 years. If it lasts that long it will be worth the investment, plus the perks of a cool garage at all times. You can place in hybrid which works both heat pump and elements based on usage, heat pump only, element only, and vacation mode. Awesome. Here's another idea, we have some properties that have water heaters inside a closet. If you were to place one of these in those locations you would have two appliances working to make you stay cool and they would play off each other. They also make a duct kit in which you can redirect cool air through a wall to an adjacent room. Talk about major saving!

These calculations based off standard gulf power rates and energy guide sticker on water heaters. Most likely completely off as am averaging $30 saving a month.

===Standard 80 gallon w/ no technologic cutoff===
Base Charge          $.62 per day X 365 Days =                                                  $226.30
Demand Charge    $.04.585 per kWh X 5045 estimated yearly kwh =           $231.31325
Total Per Year                                                                                                        $457.61

===Geo Spring Pro Heat Pump 80 gallon===
Base Charge          $.62 per day X 365 Days =                                                 $226.30
Demand Charge    $.04.585 per kWh X 1347 estimated yearly kwh =            $61.75995
Total Per Year                                                                                                       $288.06

Custom Molding Tip

Here's a tip if you just so happen to be making custom molding where you will have eye view of the top. This molding was pre stained on one side. To get the look we are seeking a cut needed to be made exposing the natural colors of the wood. We don't want that nor do we want to take the time to match the stain. What you can do in this situation is fill it in with a sharpie. Once nail holes (Nails and glue needed in this situation to support weight) are filled and from the angle you'd have visuals you'd never even know. Quick Tip!

Irrigation Pump Loosing Prime?

Check Valve Replacement. So there is a spring in this valve that only lets water flow one way and prevents water from moving in the other direction when no water flow occurs. Eventually this valve wears out and needs to be replaced. Usually when your irrigation system turns on but you have no water at the sprinkler heads 80% of the time this valve is the problem with well water systems. The pump is loosing its prime. You can unscrew the valve and screw a new one on but I like to cut everything apart and rebuild it all just in case there are pin hole leaks elsewhere and you should trust your own builds more so then anyone else. You can see the nastiness inside the old Valve. The nastiness build up will occur again, but a long time from now. Easy right?

Drywall Joint Repair

There are many factors that can cause drywall joints to crack. Interior Moisture (ie, No HVAC air flow), Exterior Moisture (ie, breach or failure of materials from outside), Foundation settlement or Foundation failure (If this is the issue you can forget about the sheetrock and focus elsewhere). Here's our method on repairing such issues. Cut the old tape and compound out and make sure you leave enough indention so that when you add the new tape, compound and then sand it all turns out flat. There are 3 types of drywall tape at the moment that I'm aware of. The regular paper tape, which is strong and cheap but it absorbs moisture and doesn't bond well. The second which we are using in this instructional is fiberglass mesh tape. It is not affected by moisture and becomes fully embedded into the compound. The third is known as Fibefuse tape. It basically combines the previous two. It is paper thin but is also is moisture resistant and gets fully embedded into compound. Without adding tape to this type of repair you are doing nothing to prevent the crack from reappearing. After applying tape, apply joint compound, wait 24 hours and sand with sheetrock sandpaper as flat as possible. Apply a second and third coat if necessary and keep following the previous steps until all is completely flat. Yes this is a 2-3 day job due to drying time. Don't rush this or your results will not look professional. Once flat to touch apply paint, let dry and shine a light and see if you can spot any imperfections. If none exist it will look like there was never even an issue. Cheers!

Ecobee Update (Break Even!)

Using approximations it took 1 year and 3 months for the savings of the Ecobee 3 to pay for itself in our test environment. Purchase price was $300 because of additional sensor (3 total). Our test environment is a detached one story house with building size of 2501-3000 sq. ft.. 3 bedrooms and age between 16-20 years. Depending on your structure and heating and cooling specs expect anywhere between 1-3 years for the device to pay for itself, not including rebates and other perks from energy and insurance companies. Seriously if you are still using that old stuff upgrade now to save yourself some moolah!

Corrugated Metal

Here in NWFL and much of the south humidity can take its toll on materials. Take this drywall for example. This is roughly 30 years of patch work and leaving a garage door open when it should be closed over night. Eventually the drywall will sag and mud will chip away due to moisture and temperature changes of the days and seasons. You can patch, then re patch again, but eventually it starts looking really bad. The reason for the drywall is for firewall and prevention of fire spread should something happen in the garage. I'd say double up your drywall for the wall between the garage and main house or use fire rated drywall for that and use what you want for the garage ceiling and walls. Here's an alternative for your garage ceiling. We used Corrugated metal. The cost was cheaper, the install went quicker and I think it looks better. For trim we used a roof eave trim. Personally I think this does the same job if not better for fire prevention, but there is always some inspector out there that thinks otherwise for EVERYTHING. When you buy or build your home on your property, it's yours and that's where that whole 2nd Amendment / Hell off my property Mr. Inspector or anyone that disagrees comes into play. Have Fun! :)

Water Heater Replacement

So these things breakdown anywhere between 3 and 30 years. Faulty engineering, bad materials, take your pick are the causes. This one which we forgot to take a pic of broke down after only 10 years. So we replaced with our favorite brand - Bradford White. Here's how you do it. First, you cut the breaker to make sure power is turned off. Second, cut the water off to the house or the line going into the water heater if there is a shutoff valve. Drain the tank by connecting a water hose to the bottom valve. Once water is drained cut the pipe with a pipe cutter, in this case copper. Here comes the easy part, go to the big orange store and get yourself some Shark-bite brand water heater lines. "Back-in-the-day" you would have to sweat pipe which include getting sand paper, flux, torch and solder. With these Shark-bite parts you literally push them on and that is it. Once piping is complete hook up power making sure it is off. Once connected turn the water back on and let the water heater fill up, then turn the power on. If you can move and lift a water heater you can replace them! We used 2 Shark-bite water lines and sweat the overflow valve only because we had spare parts laying around. Enjoy!

H&C Colortop

So this concrete stain is a first use for us. Used this product for trim on concrete edge. Suprisingly good finish and you can tell it will last longer than any standard concrete paint. There is a solvent based and water based version of the same product. The solvent will last longer but you can only get certain colors. If you want any color like this here mocha you'll have to go with the water based solution. Looks like it will last 5 years. Tried scrathing into it and it didn't budge. Overall great product, zero complaints!