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!

Painting with Portland

Here's a method that has been used maybe well over 200 years that most folks simply have forgotten and now spend thousands of dollars renewing a concrete surface. Way back before anyone alive today, people used to use limestone powder. They mixed it with water to create a paint and painted everything with it. This protected wood from sun, insects and decay. Those similar methods can be used today. For some reason people pouring concrete in Florida and slackers elsewhere don't use rebar and pore at 3 inch thickness or less and then everyone wonders why their concrete driveway lasts only 10 years on top of sand. Geee...I wonder. 50's - 60's alot of driveways didn't use rebar either but the concrete mixture was much stronger and it was poured at 4-5 inches or thicker. Although a higher percentage used rebar than today. Today if you want a newer looking driveway there are multiple methods you can take to accomplish this. 1: Spend 10k-20k busting out the old and pouring in new correctly. 2: Spend roughly 1k-6k painting it which will have to be done every 5 years anyways. or 3: DIY, pressure wash, repair cracks and paint it with portland cement which is the main ingredient of concrete. This cost $300 in material and a whole lot of labor. This will have to be done roughly every 3 years but you never have to seal it and doing this every 3 years your still not going to spend as much as other methods for the life of the concrete. Granted you can only do so much patching before it will all eventually need to be ripped out anyway. Here we had a corner that was broken off that needed to be built back up so we busted out the old, dug a 2 ft piling and re-poured with fiber enforced concrete. Since its part of the corner with vehicular traffic we didn't want it to break off again which was the reason for an overkill piling and a pour at 5 inches. Once repairs and cracks are complete then all you do is mix up the portland with a bonding agent (the white stuff), water and make your paint. Brush minimum 2 coats and boom new driveway for $100-$300 for 3-5 years.  The more coats you add the more even it will look and will actually improve the strength and decrease wear time slightly. Hell, sometimes one coat looks better than original. Have fun.....breaking your back :)

Roof Repair

We've done this post many times, but it's been a while, they've been deleted, it's done every year anyways and we've got new audience members so here it is again. One of our roof's get's damaged at least once a year due to windy storms. It's on the beach and it has 3 tab shingles so they always get ripped out. Replacing shingles is pretty easy. First bring an old ripped one to your local hardware store and match the color with ones similar, then all you do is get a roof crow bar and pull the nails out loosen old shingles and pull the ripped ones. Install new by cutting to size and then add roof cement under new and old shingles which binds them together. Without adding the cement the shingles will just flap in the wind a rip off again, which we somewhat expect anyway's because we're out here doing this job over and over :). Remember to bring a hat and some knee pads, Even with all that your going to have your work cut out on this job. Think desert with hot molten shingles blaring in your face and burning your hands. Fun Times. Eventually when it comes times for replacement we'll replace with dimensional shingles which are one full piece eliminating the 3 tab flap in wind. Problem solved. Oh yeah.. DIY About $40, Hire it out...$300-$600. Ready to get your hands bloody?

Tub Drain

There's a tool for everything, but do you really need that tool if you're going to use it once or twice in your lifetime? If you're like me you must have that tool...like all of them! However, that's not going to stop us from trying that "whatever's around me I'm going to use" method. Take this tub drain for instance. Usually these things get stuck from sitting there for decades and it takes quite a bit of force to loosen one up. Here are multiple ways that usually work. 1) Big screwdriver and a wrench. Place the wrench in the cross beams of the drain, the screwdriver in the wrench and lefty loosey. This method broke the cross beams. 2) Hammer and leverage. Use the nail puller end of a hammer, place it in the drain pull up and lefty loosey. This method slipped. 3) Place a 32mm socket on a high torque hammer drill, wrap electrical tape around it, then place a drain, press down hard and left loosy. This method usually works but man this thing ain't budging! 4) Well, guess we gotta use that special tool. A drain puller has a nut on one end. You place the tool inside the hole and as you rotate the nut lefty loosy the metal grip expands inside the drain making it grip. The harder you tighten left the more the tool grabs the drain. At this point you can you usually place your 32mm socket on the nut and use it with your hammer drill but even doing that this thing wouldn't budge. In the end it was the tool and a long adjustable wrench that finally loosened this guy up. Once you've got it out. Pull the rubber seal, clean the area, replace the rubber seal, apply plumbers putty around the new drain and righty tighty! You're done!

Blinds Trick

So somewhere along the line a cat jumped up, a child pulled it down, or an adult that acts like a child bent or broke some blind blades. Here is a quick trick that works for Faux wood, aluminum or vinyl blinds that replaces the blade that has been woven into the pull strings. This saves $100's of dollars especially with the more expensive thicker blinds. You take some spare blades or if you're throwing one blind away you use it as your spare. Cut the string and pull some blades out. Cut a 45 degree slit where the pull string would go. The reason for the 45 degree cut is so when you replace the blade the string that holds the blade up has something to rest upon. Cut the old blind out without cutting the string. Insert the new blade and boom your done. There are other ways to do this that require a bit more time that don't involve cutting the blade and removing the string but this tutorial is that, "oh snap I've got like 5 min before I gotta run" fixes. Onward!

Teacher! Teacher! I built a clock! #ITTT #IOT

Ha Ha...Nahh, I'm just playin :P So you've got that electric water heater, you know that tank that stays on 24/7. There has got to be a way to save money with that thing without ripping it out and replacing it with a more efficient one right? Right you are. Gulf Power has devices such as the one provided in pics below that do similar things but you have to go through some big company to make it work and have to use their software.... Sounds like a pain in the ass to me. So basically you buy all these parts, you connect all the wires and then all of a sudden you have an app on your phone with timer and you can turn on and off your water heater while on vacation and turn it off during long hours if not in use. We basically set it to be off between the hours of 10pm and 5am, which should save us an avg of 180 hrs a month as a complete calculated guess. When starting a project like this make sure breakers are turned off. Playing with electricity is no joke. 120v could possibly kill you depending on where the electricity travels through your body. 240V will blow body parts off and lets just go ahead and say YOU WILL DIE...Don't play with it, It WILL BITE you...so make sure you have the proper precautions and tools in place before you even think about doing this yourself. We're all about DIY and don't let unwanted laws that you were born into and did not vote on breach your property line, but it has its limits. You are the limiter and its on you should you screw up. With that out of the way you can purchase all parts on Amazon and the wiring diagram is provided. The only trouble we had was with the fuse box so you might have to run to a local hardware store to get that working as the fuse box we ordered did not fit the fuses we had. As far as options on how to turn on/off the device remotely there are multiple ways. Option 1: timer, Option 2: connecting the wifi switch to your thermostat sensors using ITTT and option 3; turning on within a certain distance of your house using GPS and ITTT. Of course if you're single option 2 and option 3 could be put to use but from our testing it is delayed 10-15 minutes. If you have multiple people under one roof with the craziness that life brings option 1 might be the best bet. If you're wondering what IoT ITTT (Internet of Things / If This Then That) is I suggest you visit the site (https://ifttt.com/recipes) to learn more and see what you could do to save yourself more money and more time so you have more money and time to do whatever the hell you want....Like baby making and getting free stuff from Facebook and Microsoft and a bazillion dollars from Tax Payers for making a bom....Crap I meant clock! Cheers!

For our Residents: This will be in testing for over a year to make sure it is safe so we won't be implementing this one anytime soon. Safety First!

Ecobee 3 Review

We've reviewed smart thermostats before and have a couple installed in our properties. Specifically the digital Honeywells with vacation and timer built in but major leaps have occurred since then and none that have been connected back on wifi with sensors! The Ecobee 3 does just that. It comes with 1 sensor but we tested 3 and the unit itself. You easily install it and set it up. If you need help the #800 number is very useful and their tech support is flawless down to troubleshooting your wire runs...over the phone! Nice. Once installed you place your sensors in rooms desired and setup home, sleep and away settings. If you have a couple of rooms that are hotter or colder than others the sensors will average your home out so that no longer becomes an issue. They sense where you're at and inform the thermostat to keep your setting based on the room your in. Of course sleep mode you'd set your bedroom with no motion or a combination of sensors. It works very well and it's saving energy for the heating/cooling unit from anywhere between 15% - 25% which is huge depending on the sq footage area its covering. I believe we were only getting 10% or less 8 years ago with the Honeywells, but don't have the data hanging around and the data scenario and sq. footage was completely different. Whats really great about the device is the cloud software called Home IQ. It will spit out monthly reports informing you how well you did on effeciency compared to others in Florida and spit data out so you can change some settings to improve that rating pending your comfort level. You can even download all this data to Excel and crunch data to get highly detailed information for future changes in settings for those of you that like to cherry pick. Overall, excellent energy saver. Every year these devices are doing more and more taking a load off the grid more and more and saving the consumer more and more. MOAR!!! Lots of future potential and if anyone is asking, tell them a Nest is for birds!

For our residents:
Option 1: If you want to purchase one and replace your current thermostat go ahead. Just put the old one back when you leave. Hint take a pic of the wires before you remove and replace for reference of colors on where they go. If you break it you buy it. Thermostat and a/c unit. So if you feel uncomfortable hire it out or don't do it.

Option 2: Unit tested with 3 sensors was $300 + shipping. If you pay $150, we'll pay the rest and install it, but it stays with the property when you leave.

Let me know

Planning & Communication

When starting any project you always want to have a start to finish plan with communication to your team. Write it down on a napkin on your hand on anything, just write it down! This plan should include all individuals involved along with planning for future unknowns. The better you become at this process, the longer your projects last and potential future unknowns become lower to non existant. Sometimes...actually always, you can't play God and prevent all issues but you can do the best of your ability. In this case communication between an irrigation guy and a landscaper was low to non existant. The irrigation lines were ran and then a big palm was planted right on top of the line. It took roughly 10 years and the line broke. The line was re-plumbed around the palm bulb and sprinkler head pushed back. Not a big issue but double work doesn't need to be done with better planning. Plan well.

Rachio Review

So the whole "smart" thing seems to be trending. Considering building materials and those involved are getting "dumber" it's refreshing. Here's my good, bad and take away from the experience on the device. The rachio is an irrigation controller that hooks up to your wifi and off to the cloud. You easily install it, program zones which include spray head type, slope and soil conditions based on your area. Basically you set what you think it should be watered and with certain options enabled the rachio smart system takes over via syncing up with a local weather station. After a good 3 months of use it is saving thousands of gallons of water and trains your root system to grow deeper so your lawn is more drought resistant (with the help of yourself playing with settings). You can turn your system on/off with your wife in the yard, check stats from your phone and even turn your sprinklers on in say Japan...Freakin awesome. It adjusts how much more or less the grass needs to be watered based on seasonal changes (length of day, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed, etc.) and alerts you to those changes as well as switches off and skips run times when it rains currently and a 48 hour window. 
The Good: Excellent system, lawn looks great as long as I stop playing with the settings. Looks better than over watered. Saving thousands of gallons which means payback coming up soon. 
The Bad: It's not property specific. What if I want my data to stay on my property? What if some overlord retard woke up took a piss, looked out his window and decided it was to hot and global warming was going to kill us all and decided he was going to turn everyones sprinkler system off...
The Future: I'd like to see soil sensors that could be placed throughout the property that pinged the Rachio device to have my own cloud. This would be more accurate as moisture data would be pulled directly from property and information could be pulled from weather station keeping the "smart" data on the property. It's my data, so I say Mr. cloud...Get off my lawn!
Conclusion: Awesome device, but keep an old school backup due to future of company unknown (servers going down), which means your system goes down and sprinkler commies. Otherwise, great purchase. Buy it!

Incandescent VS CFL VS LED

Does it really make a difference? Test bed based off 6 different light bulbs, a normal sized 3 bed 2 bath house light count, 850 current energy and fuel costs and 1 year run time.... I present the data! 


Data pulled from 850 bill

Current Electric Service - RS - Residential Service meter Reading
Billing Period
May 11, 2015 - June 10, 2015
Base Charge $ 18.60
Energy Charge 2391 kWh x 0.07352 175.79
Fuel Charge 2391 kWh x 0.04369 104.46
Subtotal of Electric Service $ 298.85
State Sales Tax - Lighting 0.00
Florida Gross Receipts Tax 7.67
Total Current Electric Service $ 306.52


#Energy Charge    .07352 kWh
$2.73 / month    Philips 60 Watt Incandescent / $1.63 @ Amazon
$1.83 / month    Unknown Bulb Incandescent
$0.99 / month    GE 26 Watt Energy Smart CFL / 100 Watt Replacement / $2.93 @ Amazon
$0.52 / month    Philips 60 Watt Eq 10.5W LED / Bulb Life 22.8 years / $7.90 @ Amazon
$0.26 / month    Utilitech 40w Equivalent 6.3W LED / Bulb Life 13.7 years / $2.48 @ Lowes
$0.26 / month    Ecosmart 9 watt (40 watt Eq) CFL / Bulb Life 9 years / $2.34 @ Amazon

#Fuel Charge    .04369 kWh
$1.76 / month    Philips 60 Watt Incandescent / $1.63 @ Amazon
$1.02 / month    Unknown Bulb Incandescent
$0.68 / month    GE 26 Watt Energy Smart CFL / 100 Watt Replacement / $2.93 @ Amazon
$0.30 / month    Philips 60 Watt Eq 10.5W LED / Bulb Life 22.8 years / $7.90 @ Amazon
$0.15 / month    Utilitech 40w Equivalent 6.3W LED / Bulb Life 13.7 years / $2.48 @ Lowes
$0.18 / month    Ecosmart 9 watt (40 watt Eq) CFL / Bulb Life 9 years / $2.34 @ Amazon

Energy + Fuel Charge x 12 months = Total runtime 24/7 per year
$53.88 / year    Philips 60 Watt Incandescent
$20.04 / year    GE 26 Watt Energy Smart CFL
$9.84 / year    Philips 60 Watt Equivalent 10.5W LED
$4.92 / year    Utilitech 40w Equivalent 6.3W LED
$5.28 / year    Ecosmart 9 watt (40 watt equivalent) CFL

3 bed 2 bath Avg # light bulbs in house = 30
4 - bedroom 4 - bathroom 4 - bedroom 4 - bedroom 4 - bathroom 2 - hallway 2 - garage 2 - outdoor 4 - dining

30 bulbs cost per year + 30 bulbs purchase cost = Total Cost for 1 year use
(Philips 60 Watt Incandescent) $1616.40 + $48.90 =            $1665.30
(GE 26 Watt Energy Smart CFL) $601.20 + $87.90 =            $689.10
(Philips 60 Watt Equivalent 10.5W LED) $295.20 + $237 =     $532.20
(Utilitech 40w Equivalent 6.3W LED) $147.60 + $74.40 =        $222.00
(Ecosmart 9 watt (40 equivalent) CFL) $158.40 + $70.20 =    $228.60

Conclusion:
Depending on your usage, purchase price has little to do with overall cost of bulb usage. There is clear savings based on the type of bulb you use and that clear winner in this test bed is the Utilitech 40w Equivalent 6.3w LED.

For our Residents:
Our properties currently have a mixture of CFL and incandescent and no LEDs so if you reside with us and are looking to save money on your utilities go ahead and swap your bulbs if you'd like and keep the ones already there placed in a box in a closet. When you move just put them back in and take your energy efficient ones with you!  

Rust Stains

Everyone's got em if you have a well. Tried 2 different solutions. A "professional" solution called F9 Barc concrete restore found online and goof off rust remover at the big orange store. The F9 Barc is around $45 a gallon and is diluted at a 2:1 ratio of 1 gallon F9 and 1/2 gallon water. So $45 for a 1 1/2 gallons of rust remover solution. Goof Off Rust remover is at $10 a gallon with no mixture. Comparing the 2 against a painted wood fence, concrete and stucco guess which one came out on top? The pro stuff right? Wrong. Goof Off wins this battle as a better solution which cleans all these surfaces better and quicker along with being over 50% cheaper. So, don't waste your money and get the cheaper and BETTER stuff! The F9 MSDS has a hidden solution which they only give to your physician should you get sick. Should have been my first guess. When spraying always wear a respirator and protective glasses otherwise have fun with acid in your eyes and lungs.... Chemical information below:

Goof Off MSDS
Hazardous Components (Chemical Name)

1.    Oxalic acid {Ethanedioic acid} | CAS# 144-62-7 | Concentration <10.0 % | OSHA PEL 1 mg/mg3 | ACGIH TWA 1 mg/m3

2.    Hydrogen fluoride {Hydrofluoric acid; Flouric acid} | CAS# 7664-39-3 | Concentration <0.5% | OSHA PEL 3 ppm | ACGIH TWA No data

F9 MSDS
Hazardous Ingredients (specific) 

1.    The precise composition of this product is proprietary information. A more complete disclouse will be provided to a physician in the event of a medical emergency

2.    Ammonium Hydrogen Diflouride | CAS# 1341-49-7 | Concentration 1-5%

3.    Phosphoric Acid | CAS# 7664-38-2 | Concentration 1-8%

Pentair Intelliflo Pool Pump

Got a pool? Well this post is for you. This pool pump was to little for the distance and size it was pumping making it difficult to keep the pool clean so we replaced it with a Pentair Digital VS which moves much more water at the same and higher speeds due to a brushless motor and other advancements. Variable speed pumps give you the advantage of running different speeds at your choosen times of the day rather than just full blast. Generally power is more expensive during the day due to market demand so you can now run a higher RPM at night vs the day with positive feedback from various users coming in at $50 to $120 monthly savings...just on you your pool pump!!! That leaves your payback at less than 12 months and with power companies giving out rebates even lower! Why wouldn't you upgrade? How to replace? Cut the breaker, cut pipe, and use 45 degree angles and not 90 degrees. If you are paying for an upgrade to be more effecient why on earth would you use 90 degree piping. Think city traffic turns vs smooth highway turns. Less friction on flow of water. Eventually when we replace other parts we'll remove the 90's and go with 45's as well. Also the electronics comes with a weather tight seal, but um...if you've seen what I've seen go ahead and cover the cover! Shade, salt, moisture, on and on.....Be careful when you install these pumps making sure you fill with water before you turn on to prime them. Pentair will cut your 3 year warranty because you don't have a "license" to install them, even if you follow their directions. What the hell happened to ownership?!? You know, because the brain surgery of connecting 4 wires and glueing some plastic pieces together will cause Vendors to have heart attacks. Have fun!

Proper Grounding

So you finally bit the bullet and pulled off your first purchase. Man, you are screwed...hahahah, just playing, buuuut maybe not. ;) First thing you want to do is check your grounding. One of the greatest risks posed by ungrounded electrical systems are fire and shock. Neither are good for you. Any questions? The best way to check grounding is at all points in your home at every single outlet. Some may be grounded some may not depending on when the home was built along with who built it and who worked on it within that time period. First thing is to get a multimeter. We are using a Klien CL2000 but any cheapo will work. Place the hot(black) in the smaller hole and the red in the bigger hole. You should read around 120v. In our case we are at 120.8v. Next move the red wire to the ground you should read about the same voltage plus or minus 5. If your reading on the ground is completely off your original reading than the ground at that outlet and everything connected to that outlet outside and inside the wall is at risk and you should seek repairs or youtube what you need to do. As for me I'd trace wires to see if I could find where the fault is, which sometimes included ripping sheetrock out, breaker off of course. If all your outlets test good, well you might as well turn the wifi on, plug that jam in and crank it up!!!

Corrosion Resistance

There are two things you should never do in life. The 1st being, doing everything opposite your wife tells you to do; the 2nd is applying white aluminum to pressure treated wood. As you can see when you mix the two bad things happen. Pressure treated wood used to be treated with chromated copper arsenate, but I believe this was phased out in 2005. This house was built in 2005 so not sure which type of lumber was used. Now treated wood is treated with alkaline copper quaternary and copper azole. This contains much more copper than previous applications. When aluminum flashing contacts this type of wood the two metals collide and corrodes the aluminum. This flashing is only 10 years old and you can see the damage. Our last build we used pressure treated as a base and then painted over it. If you do it this way you'll have to repaint every 5 or so years. With flashing you'll have to replace every 10 years. Paint is about $20 for a gallon and flashing replacement with paid professional install is $400. You be the judge. Of course there are many ways to wrap a post but in my opinion if you are building complete custom posts wrap it in Hardie board and then paint. You'll still need to paint every 5 years but there will be fewer warps and fewer calk applications to apply. Of course we did it all wrong and re-wrapped with aluminum so you'll catch us 10 years later trying to figure out what our wives told us not to do.....Oh, and if you need help with any flashing or vinyl work call my buddy Paul at 850-624-9625

Polymeric Sand

Had some 10 year old pavers that needed to be redone. First step is clearing the ant mounds and weeds that had piled up over the years with a flat shovel. Next is pressure washing the pavers and blasting weeds out and anything else between the pavers. For a finer stone you want to wait a good day so the pavers can become completely dry, then you'll want to seal them before applying the sand. In this case it's just a walk way. Wait a couple hours for the pavers to become dry in full sun and brush the sand in between the cracks, tap each paver one by one with the end of the broom stick to make sure the sand fills all crevasses. Blow the remaining sand off the pavers making sure you don't blow the sand out of the cracks. Next up is to lightly spray water 2-3 times waiting about 30 min in between. Then let sit. Polymeric sand is very fine sand with glue mixed in. Once the sand hardens it will lock the pavers in place and give you another 5-10 years of worry free and hopefully weed free maintenance. Make sure you do a better job than we did blowing off the sand as when you spray water,  glue will be on top of the pavers. Have fun!

GHOST EM

Advances in materials in all industries have advanced tremendously. Some things are getting cheaper to make, lasting longer and performing better and making it easier for an average handy man or handy women to get into while other older materials were better than current. It's always tricky finding the medium and YES I'll say it again. Go-Go Inspector law guy is clueless in ALL states. One of these products is Ghost-shield Lithi-Tek LS 9500. This is a concrete sealer which permanently seals your concrete. Yeah.....PERMANENTLY with a 100 year warranty. What The? Use this stuff on the bat-cave Robin! One of our 1962 slabs gets moisture soaked all the time especially in morning via due. It sweats and gets moldy in our high humid climate very easily. Not anymore! We may be coloring the concrete in the future which we'll post about another industrial non box store product that works better than paint or epoxy. If you have this problem on your old but better than new concrete use this stuff. All you need to do is spray off the dirt, scrub it down with a concrete cleaner, let dry, spray on, let dry, spray a 2nd and wait 24-48 hours. It is truly an amazing product and we don't say that too often. Where do you get it? Well duh, Google. Excerpt description from Ghost-shield:

Lithi-Tek LS ® 9500 is an advanced, high performance, industrial strength, penetrating concrete and masonry waterproofing sealer / vapor barrier solution designed to reduce water and moisture intrusion. This unique formula incorporates leading molecular nanotechnology, putting an end to water and moisture migration through any porous cementitious substrate. Lithi-Tek LS ® 9500 is a uniquely transparent, blended formula with added enzymes and surfactants that aide in accelerating a deeper penetrating disbursement. Thus eliciting a more effective, uniformed chemical reaction between the formula and the concrete / masonry substrate it’s being applied to. Lithi-Tek LS ® 9500 provides a hydrophobic barrier beneath the surface and seals out moisture while remaining highly vapor permeable and chemically bonding with the substrate. The treated surfaces will show no change in visual appearance from application and the surface will not chip, flake, delaminate or breakdown with UV light exposure.

How Does it Work? A hybrid densifying, impregnating sealer is typically used to densify, harden and prevent water and water-soluble damaging substances from penetrating concrete and mineral substrates. Once impregnated the reaction process from the active silicate ingredient produces additional C-S-H (calcium silicate hydroxide) within the capillary tracts thus increasing the density and volumetric mass. The change of the surface tension elicited from the waterproofing component forms a repellent cross-linking membrane that is hydrophobic and able to repel water and water-soluble deleterious materials.

In structures on and below grade water should generally be kept out and away to prevent damage. Lithi-Tek LS ® 9500 can block up to 99% of surface moisture. The chemical reactive and active ingredients seal the pores within the substrate adequately blocking surface moisture while still maintaining the concretes ability to breathe. It will not significantly modify substrate appearance or traction and will only wear away if the concrete surface itself wears away.

New or existing concrete can be treated and performance can be improved in as little as two applications. Backed by an unrivaled 100-year warranty, Lithi-Tek LS ® 9500 is a small investment that leads to long-term savings and improved performance for decades.

Let it Drip

It's too late for this post but just in time to find the issue. We stress whether you stay with us or you've finally bought your own always leave a couple of interior and exterior faucets slow drip overnight when below freezing temperatures occur. This will prevent expansion of interior and hidden pipes. Even if your home is "Up-To-Racketeering-Code" pipes will still burst. 1 gallon of water when frozen expands approximately 9%. This year was no exception. The below is a picture of a brass fixture that could not handle the pressure of a freeze. Just think if brass can't handle this pressure, what do you think Copper, Cpvc or Pex will do depending on your attic airflow ratio? I'm sure everyone will agree that it was cold and grueling winter, but it's starting to warm up and everyone is coming out of hibernation. So next year, Let It Drip or costly repairs will occur.