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Hals Resource Page

A little about the author;

Hal Zucker, ITI, President, founding partner and a Principal Broker of Living Structures, has been in the real estate business for over 30 years, with experience in commercial, investment and residential sales as well as property management and construction. Hal is nationally known as a real estate instructor and teaches regularly throughout New York State. Hal lives with his wife and partner, Claudia Zucker in East Durham, NY, where he enjoys fishing, hiking and oil painting. (Hal is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art). Hal and Claudia have two children, Amanda, a doctor of Emergency Medicine currently a resident of Albany Medical Center, located in Albany, NY and Jonathan, a cabinet maker and graduate of Plattsburgh State College in Plattsburgh, NY. 

Hal's Energy Tips© 2011 Hal Zucker All Rights Reserved. Click HERE for Hal's Green Links.

ReHality© The Official Newsletter of Living Structures/ Hal Zucker Realty, Inc. Click HERE for the latest copy- Fall 2011.

The new format will help make the page load faster. We have created an index to all of our Energy Tips. The current tip is below the index. If you want to see any or all of the previous tips just click on the links below;

4/15 Hot Water Savings

4/25 Utility Usage

5/3 Refrigerator Maintenance

5/13 Green Cleaning Products

6/3 Band Joist Insulation

7/3 Energy Usage

Posted 10/3

It has been a long time since my last column but a lot has been happening and I will keep you all up on the latest. As I write this we are completing the final stages of the installation of my 4.3 K. photovoltaic system. Below is a photograph of the finished system and I will keep you all informed as I log electricity made or saved.

Before we begin our normal column we need to get some “i”s dotted and some “t”s crossed. As we've begun winter it's time to make sure our furnaces and boilers have been serviced and cleaned and our furnace filters have been replaced. To make the changing of our furnace filters easier I have included a photograph of a furnace filter indicator.

Here you can see the proper location of the gauge on your furnace. The gauge can be purchased from any furnace filter store or on Amazon.com. It should run around $20, but you can find them on sale on Amazon for $14.95. Please make sure you adjust the adjustment screw to a new filter after you install it. Now there should be no problem determining when to change the filter. The bar will go into the Change Filter side when dirty. I would check it once a month.

The best way to save energy is to not waste energy and so below is a photograph of my insulated hot air ducts.

This is the best way to ensure that you've wasted the least amount of energy. I chose to wrap my ducts or product I have already told you about called Prodex which can be purchased directly from the manufacturer at this website: www.insulation4less.com . They are the only ones I know who sell it and it runs approximately $200 for a 4 foot by hundred and 175 foot roll. (This comes to approximately .32 cents a square foot, which is less expensive than almost any other insulation on the market). In the past I recommended some other products but with Prodex pricing and $.32 a foot there is no better less expensive alternative.

Now that you are ducts are insulated in your furnace filters changed its time to check for air leaks. To do this on the cheap you can purchase an inexpensive blower. Here you can see the least expensive, a Regin Powder Puffer. They cost $17.80 each but were on sale when last I looked at www.professionalequipment.comthey were on sale foe $6.00. After you purchase a few, check out as many locations as possible in your home. Anywhere you suspect a leak, check it out. When you puff near any leak you will see it. Here is a list of good places to try;

  1. Around all doors and windows.
  2. Around any plumbing penetrations between the basement and the first floor.
  3. Any plumbing penetrations between the top floor and the attic.
  4. Any chimney penetrations between the attic and basement and between the top floor and attic.
  5. Any untapped air ducts.
  6. Any untapped places where your ductwork meets your furnace.
  7. Any other flue penetrations, like fireplace or pellet stove.
  8. All exterior switch plates or electrical receptacles.
  9. Any other location you suspect might leak air.

Any air leakage should be caulked if small, foamed if large. If foam is needed make sure that the correct caulk is used. If it is around a window or door, use only Non-Expanding foam. Around large leaks and pipes, regular expanding foam is OK. For around chimneys or any other high temperature location use only High Temperature Foam. When you are done check how much air leakage you’ve stopped by using the Powder Puffer.

For those interested, I have included photos of my new geothermal system but there is really little to see. The furnace looks like a traditional furnace and I've included some photos below of the loop field but there is really not much more to take pictures of. It’s too early to tell how much we're saving in fuel costs but I should have a better picture by the middle of the winter. One of the cool things that I did do was to log exact amount of electricity at the news in the last year I've also logged how many gallons of #2 fuel oil I’ve used and should be able to extrapolate the savings.

Here is the start of the system. Here will end up being 4 long trenches.

This is an end view of the beginning of the trenches. As it turned out we were very lucky. Found bedrock and water at 6 feet deep.

Here is a view of the end of the trench. The coils are now buried and the coils are brought back to the cement manhole that will house the manifold.

The lines are all brought to the cement housing.

Here is a closeup of the lines going into the housing.

Inside the housing a manifold gets built. The lines at the bottom are the lines that will be the hot lines and the upper lines the cold lines. All of the lines then come into my basement and go to the geothermal heating unit. I have a large, 6 ton system which should supply my hot air heat, domestic hot water as well as heat for my pool. So far, so good. I’ll keep you informed as the winter goes on. I am using my old furnace to supply supplemental heat the 20-30 very cold days we expect.

Ok. That’s it for now. I hope to write more frequently this winter. If I don’t it’s fair to call or write to me and remind me I said I wanted to write at least once a month.

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