LESLIE: Elvis from Texas is on the line. He is in the building and he has a question about leaking Kitec plumbing pipes.
Elvis, what can we do for you?
ELVIS: My wife and I had a house built. Started back in early 2005 and it’s in Lubbock. Houses are made on concrete slabs.
ELVIS: Before they poured the slab, they put in a – with all the plumbing was installed. And instead of copper plumbing, which was in kind of short supply back in 2005, the going thing then was called Kitec. I think it’s K-i-t-e-c. And it’s a double-walled plastic pipe with aluminum in the center, instead of regular connections that use, if I’m understanding, a bronze connector. And we’ve had a couple of small problems with the plumbing but it seems as though I’ve read that the bronze can cause a delinkification (ph) in the copper.
And I’m wondering if there’s been any studies done, if there’s different fittings that can be replaced. If the plumbing has to be replaced, it’d be very labor-intensive to go underneath the house. And we get down to fairly low winters, maybe to zero, and I don’t think I’d want any plumbing overhead for it to freeze. Or if you have any suggestions or thoughts.
TOM: Yeah, Elvis. The problem with Kitec plumbing is, as you suspect, the fittings will leak.
Now, what’s interesting is that Kitec starts with PEX, which is cross-linked polyethylene which, by itself and as installed today, is actually an excellent plumbing pipe with fittings that don’t leak. But the Kitec system has definitely had a history of leaking. In fact, there are many class-action lawsuits over that product that are active and going on around the country. And you certainly should investigate those that you may qualify to join.
Unfortunately, your solutions only include, really, replacing the leaking Kitec plumbing pipes. And what I would advise you to do is to only replace it where it’s accessible. I mean I wouldn’t create the emergency if the emergency doesn’t exist, so I’m not going to tell you to tear open your walls and pull all the plumbing out and start from scratch. But I would say that if you do happen to be doing a bathroom renovation or you open a wall and you find Kitec, it should be sort of a matter, of course, where you always replace it. Because it’s not going to get any better; it’s only going to get worse.
ELVIS: Not news I wanted to hear but kind of what I suspected.
TOM: Yep. Unfortunately, that’s the case. Every once in a while, we get a building product like leaking Kitec plumbing pipes and I’ve seen it happen many times over the years. And there’s just no way to make it better because at its core, it’s a defective system.
ELVIS: OK. No way to just replace the fittings. It’s going to be the type that has problems.
TOM: That’s correct. So I would attach it to a plumbing – to copper piping or to traditional PEX piping.
ELVIS: OK. So I can talk with some local plumbers and discuss it from that point.
From Source Article: moneypit.com
If you’ve considered adding a solar energy system to your home, you’re in good company. Fueled by unprecedented tax credits, rebates, discounts and energy credits, this smart improvement makes perfect sense and has never been more popular. But while adding a solar system to tap the free and unlimited energy of the sun, the system of panels, wiring and other parts, along with installation by specialized contractors, can be very costly.
Now, however, a new trend has emerged that enables handy consumers to purchase and install system themselves, reducing costs by 40% to 80% over the investment required to hire a solar contractor. “If you have the DIY skills to take on projects like building a deck or installing a water heater, you can install a solar system yourself.” Says Zach Stevens, a consultant with Wholesale Solar.com. “Installing your own system is actually easier than projects like that.”
How-to get started
Home improvement TV shows are famous so showing amazing transformations in as little as a 30-minute program. But in actual fact, those projects take much longer to design and build. Planning, purchasing and installing a solar system for your home is no different. It IS a big project – especially if you don’t have much construction experience. But the tools, tips and resources to take on the job have never been more accessible. Wholesale Solar, for example, offers a library of videos, tools and tutorials to guide you through the whole process.
Plus, while we call this DIY, it’s entirely possible for you to do just part of the project, like installing the solar panels, and then turn to an electrician for the final connections. Either way, you’ll save a lot of money over contracting out the entire project.
To get started, there are really 3 steps:Evaluate your energy use. In order to design a system that meets your homes electrical needs, you’ll need to know how much energy you’re currently using. The quickest way to do this is by viewing your electric bills. They’ll show your current and annual usage in kWh, or kilowatt hours, along with the rate you are paying in kWh. Size your system. Once you know how much power you use now, turn to this handy grid-tied calculator for a solid estimation of the size system you’ll need, along with its cost, payback period and estimated savings – over the life of the warranty. And that last point is very important. I’ve seen some solar companies estimate amazing payback numbers, until you find out that they did so by assuming the panels would last twice as long as they should. This calculator provides a fair and realistic determination of real costs and savings, which is typically 40% to 80% less than you’d pay by hiring a solar contractor. Design your system. The third step is to review the available components and get a better idea of what system will best fit your needs. That’s when it pays to have the help of experienced design consultants. There are a number of factors that impact what you’ll need and an experienced designer can spot any unforeseen problems and iron out any kinks in your design. Your consultant can also walk you through the process of researching any required permits, so you’ll be ready to start DIY’ing the moment your system is delivered.
From there, you’ll need to pick your parts and put together an order, something your design consultant can also help you with. Once ordered, the entire system will arrive on a professionally packed pallet and be ready for you to put together.
Zach Stevens, a consultant with Wholesale Solar, explains more about how the company helps DIY’rs design, plan and purchase solar systems.
Installing a solar energy system for your home is a worthwhile project that provides long-term financial and intrinsic benefits to you, your home and the environment. Doing this project yourself is entirely possible, and makes the elimination of all or part of your electricity bill each month – all that much sweeter.
The post Going Solar? This DIY Option Can Cut Costs by Half appeared first on The Money Pit.
From Source Article: moneypit.com
LESLIE: Now we’re heading on over to Kansas where Russ has a question about how best to install metal roof on barn. What can we do for you?
RUSS: OK. I’ve got a farm that I bought eight years ago and on the farm, there’s a very large, very old barn. A matter of fact, the loft is large enough that you could probably fit a regulation-sized basketball court inside of it. According to the graffiti inside the barn, it was built in either ’34 or ’38. And it was done originally with cedar-shake shingles with 1×4 stringers, what, about every 4 inches or about a 3½-inch space in between them.
TOM: Yep. I know the construction well.
RUSS: OK. And as you know, those cedar shingles are not going to be in very good condition as of this point. So I know I’m going to have to go up there. Trying to figure out a safe way to work up there so I can remove the cedar shingles, so I can prep it to go back with, probably, a metal roof. The question is – I’ll have to screw the roof down. The question is: am I – will I be able to go directly with the 1x4s with the metal roofing or would I be better off nailing everything fully and putting down some plywood or OSB?
TOM: Well, to install metal roof on barn, I think that a good roofer could work with the 1-by furring strips that are up there right now. Because, frankly, that’s the way metal roof was originally put down. It wasn’t put down on solid sheathing; it was put down on strips just like that. So I think that that’s a fine option for you. I don’t think you need to do the sheathing in this particular case.
If you were going to put down asphalt shingles, I’d tell you you need to sheathe it. But for a metal roof, you may have to do some additional carpentry to get the strips where you want them, to make the seams on the roof and so on, but I don’t see a reason for you to sheathe this barn. I think the metal can go right on top of that.
RUSS: OK. So patch the rotted 1x4s and maybe put in some where the seams are and we should be good that way?
RUSS: OK. Do you have any suggestions on how to safely work on a 45-degree pitch?
TOM: Yeah. Call a roofer to install metal roof on barn. It’s not a do-it-yourself project. I mean that’s a really high-end project and if you do it every day, you have all the appropriate safety gear and scaffolding and skill set to be able to work on that. That’s a very dangerous place to try out your do-it-yourself skills because handling those big sheets up there, you get a wind gust and you start flying off the roof. Those medical bills add up very quickly, so I would definitely recommend that you have a professional do this.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
From Source Article: moneypit.com