Dual Pane Window Damage

Condensation in Double-Paned Windows Double-pane windows are susceptible to a form of deterioration in which the window develops an area of condensation between the glass sections. This is sometimesreferred to as a “Fogged” window. As IndustryProfessionals, it is helpful to understand the causes and nature of this type of window damage. Condensation is defined as “The accumulation of liquid water on a cold surface”.  Most air contains at least some degree of water vapor, with higher concentrations of vapor present in areas of high humidity. Water vapor is the gaseousphase of water and is composed of tiny water droplets. Double-pane or “thermal” windows are constructed with a quantity of gas (usually argon) that is trapped between the two panes of glass. This trapped air acts

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Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is colorless, odorless and poisonous. CO is the by-product of the incomplete combustion of a fuel source like natural or liquefied gas, oil, wood, or coal. A basic understanding of the nature and hazards associated with CO is important to us as industry professionals. PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF CARBON MONOXIDE Oxygen in the air normally binds with blood hemoglobin in the human body. When CO is inhaled it displaces that oxygen, effectively beginning the suffocation process. CO can poison slowly, sometimes over a period of hours, even in very low concentrations. Sensitive human organs like the brain, heart, and lungs suffer the most when oxygen is displaced, depleted or restricted. QUICK FACTScientific studies have shown that very high concentrations of CO can kill

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Bathroom Ducts, Vents and Fans

Bathroom ventilation systems are designed to exhaust odors and moist air to a dwelling’s exterior. Basic Function and Control Typical systems consist of a ceiling-mounted fan unit connected to a flexible or rigid duct that terminates at one or more exterior areas (soffit vents are one of the most common termination points). The fan itself may be controlled in several ways: •     Most are controlled by a conventional wall switch.•     A timer switch may be mounted on the wall.•     A wall-mounted “humidistat” can be pre-set to turn the fan on and off based on different levels of relative humidity. Most new fans available for purchase are extremely quiet and have a very good rate of airflow for exhausting moist air and odors.

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Basic Electrical Terms

As industry professionals, we regularly see various technical reports that reference certain terms that relate to the electrical systems in dwellings and buildings. While consultation with a licensed, certified electrical specialist is always recommended when any type of electrical problems are discovered, it is important as industry professionals to be familiar with some basic terms that are commonly used when describing residential and commercial electrical systems. Basic Electrical Units of Measurement Voltage (V) Described technically as “A measure of potential energy per unit of charge”.    Huh???… Let’s use the “water in a pipe analogy” to explain: Voltage in any electrical system is just like water pressure in a plumbing system. A lot of water pressure in a pipe means thata lot of water can be

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Backflow Preventers

Backflow Preventers Backflow is defined as the reversal of the normal and intended direction of water flow in a water supply system. In order to prevent potential contamination of potable (drinkable) water supplies to buildings and homes, devices knows as Backflow Preventers are installed in the main water supply system. As Industry Professionals, it is helpful to be familiar with the basic operation of these devices BACKFLOW PROBLEM DESCRIPTION Backflow in a water supply system has the potential to spread contaminated water through a fresh water distribution system, allowing non- drinkable, contaminated water to enter the system causing potential health dangers to occupants if not mitigated. One example of a backflow problem would be an uncontrolled cross connection that allows pollutants or contaminants to enter

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Anti-Scald Valves

Anti-Scald Valves Many plumbing systems of newly-constructed and / or renovated homes and buildings are being equipped with a type of safety device known as an Anti-Scald Valve (sometimes also known as a tempering or mixing valve). As Industry Professionals, it is helpful to understand the purpose and basic function of this type of safety device. The Anti-Scald Valve mixes cold water with outgoing hot water so that the hot water that leaves a fixture or faucet is not at a temperature that can cause scalding or burning of skin. FACTS AND FIGURES•     Hot water scalds account for 20% of all burns that occur in the home each year.•     More than 2,000 kids in the US are scalded each year, with the majority

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Aluminum Wiring Explained

Aluminum Wiring in Residential Dwellings Between approximately 1965 and 1973, due to a sudden worldwide increase in the price of copper, single-strand, solid-core aluminum wiring was sometimes substituted for copper branch-circuit wiring in residential electrical systems. After a decade or so of use by homeowners and professional electricians, certain weaknesses were discovered in the solid-core aluminum wiring that lead to its being discontinued for use as an approved branch wiring material in residential dwelling applications. Although correctly installed and properly maintained solid-core aluminum wiring can still be considered acceptable by most professional electricians for existing residences that have this type of wiring, it is important as an industry professional to be familiar with the peculiarities of solid-core aluminum branch wiring. Aluminum as an Electrical Conductor

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Garbage Disposal Basics

Garbage Disposal Basics Built-in Waste or “Garbage” disposals are built-in kitchen appliances that are designed to break down food waste products to a size and consistency that allows disposal through the normal sewage drainage system of a dwelling or building. Most of these units are electrically powered, although there are some brands that use water pressure to augment the breakdown process. As Industry Professionals and Homeowners, it is helpful to understand the basics of a built-in garbage disposal unit. GARBAGE DISPOSALS VS “TRASH” DISPOSAL When solid food waste products are discarded into the regular trash bin for curbside pickup, the weight and volume amount of biodegradable waste material places an additional burden on some already overloaded landfills and other waste disposal systems. A built-in garbage

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AFCIs Explained

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) Basics An Arc-fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) is a special type of circuit breaker that is wired in conjunction with certain electrical receptacles and outlets in a home or building. The AFCI is designed to sense potentially dangerous electrical arcs that can occur in a building or home. As Industry Professionals, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of the purpose and operation of the AFCI circuit. BASIC OPERATION OF THE AFCI An AFCI monitors the waveform (frequency) of an electrical circuit during normal operation. If any change in the circuit waveform that is characteristic of a dangerous electrical arc in the circuit occurs, the AFCI will de-energize (interrupt) the circuit. An AFCI circuit can detect, differentiate, and respond to very

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