Heat ducts hard metal VS Insulated flex pipe

On hard metal pipes the air moves swiftly through the pipes with little to no hindrance the pipe walls are smooth galvanized metal with adjustable elbows as needed. The minor drawback of this type of pipe is the metal you must hot or cool the pipe first before tempering the room that it’s being sent to. The good thing about this type of ductwork it never comes apart all the joints are screwed together and all seams are now sealed so no air leakage. Finally when its time to have your duct work cleaned, they guys bring in 2 hoses a large volume vacuum hose and a large volume air compressor hose with these hooked on ether end each duct the volume of air used to clean the pipe run handles is with no problem.

Now with insulated flex pipes the air moves swiftly through the pipes with little to no hindrance the pipe walls are made of a spiraling piece of wire in beaded in the poly tubes pipe wall than covered with insulation and a 2nd poly to keep the cavity air space that the pipe is passing through. Sorry to say the inexperienced installers use this ductwork a lot and in places that it was not intended to be used. Granted this pipe is very flexible but bending the pipe in a hard 90° or even 180° and/or squeezing it down to fit a 3.5 inch space cavity. When the inside pipe measures 6” and the out side measures 8 1/2. A 6” round duct has 28.26 Cubic inch of open area when you crush it down to 3 1/2” on the exterior; the interior only has 5 cubic inches of open area. The bad thing about this ductwork is if too much air pressure and vacuum is used in the pipe run and the connections come apart and contracts to the vacuum side of the cleaning.

When you need this type of ductwork cleaned, many things can go wrong 1 the joints can come apart. The compressor hose can puncture the inner poly wall of the pipe, or if there is a restriction in the pipe and there is debris in the pipe it could clog. Remember these entire ducts are running in concealed spaces between your ceiling and 2nd floor or your basement ceiling and your main floor. If they disconnect there is no way to re attach them with out remove 1 of your finished surfaces.

Kitchen exhaust fans

All kitchens should have exhaust fans, a lot of hood fans do not vent the bad air to the out side, but instead they push the air through a charcoal filter and than exhausted it back into the kitchen. When these hood fans are used over 50 hours of use the charcoal filters should be changed. If you don’t, are your doing is blowing the smoke and cooking smells into the rest of the house.

Using an exhaust fan below 300 Cubic feet per minute, most houses have areas that leak this much air into these houses. Newer homes leak about 150 cfm around windows and doors.
If an exhaust fan is turned on blowing out 300 cfm, your short 150 cfm and it will draw it from a bad source. One of the easiest places for the air to come into the house is by sucking the air out of the chimney either the fireplace or the furnace chimney.

We remodeled a house along with the kitchen; we installed a 1280 CFM exhaust fan. We told the homeowner that he need makeup air he refused Than came thanksgiving, the family was there the owner has a 5’ wide and 4 tall open wood fireplace the fire was going for about an hour when the wife turned on the kitchen fan. Instantly the fireplace chimney reversed bringing the smoke into the house the fire in the fireplace was still burning but the flames were blowing horizontally into the room. He wanted a quick fix so he had a 12” fresh air intake installed into the cold air return on his furnace. This did fix 1 problem the fireplace now works properly while the kitchen fan runs on full speed.

If the furnace is running it was not sided to handle super cold air coming into the heat exchanger. With this much cold air coming into the furnace, the furnace cannot heat the house because now it has to heat the incoming cold fresh air. The other problem is that the heat exchanger is being stressed with 400 ° on the burner side and -10° on the other side this shortens the life of the heat exchanger by years.
If the house is warm because of the fireplace the furnace won’t turn on. With the fresh air dumping in to the return air plenum, the super cold air is now coming out all the vents cooling down your floors making a draft along the floor to the fireplace and the kitchen stove.
The proper way is to bring fresh air into the house and run it through a furnace designed to temper the makeup air.

Kitchen ceilings

When your looking at types of ceiling finishes in the kitchen. There are things you must thing about.
1. Are you using your kitchen as a showcase? Be careful what you choice.
2. Are you cooking a lot with grease? If you cook with a lot of grease at high temperatures grease evaporates and bond to a cooler Surface IE the ceiling.
Having a textured ceiling in the kitchen is a headache you cannot wash the ceiling. The only thing you can do is paint the ceiling and rolling paint on the texture comes off on the roller making a mess and to paint and clean up. Using a flat surface in the kitchen is an easy ceiling to maintain both in keeping it clean, or repainting the ceiling. If you are looking for a different type of look you can always use a knock down look not a easy to clean but very easy to repaint when you need to.
In some architectural designs wood ceiling looks good if the wood is finished either with paint of varnish finish. Unfinished ceiling are bad because dust cobwebs and grease bonds to the unfinished and is hard to clean.
They make a steel panel ceiling. This is a great ceiling because you can clean this type of ceiling.
A cool looking ceiling is a glazed ceiling 3 or 4 tones of paint in the same color family with a clear coat covering it. Again this type of ceiling is easy to clean.

Kitchen Windows

When designing a kitchen what should you be looking for when choosing a new window(s) in the kitchen?
There are 6 different types of windows available but only 5 can open. The picture window is just that a cased opening with a secured thermo pane glass installed in the opening.

Awning; With this type of window the operating devices are located at the bottom of the window that makes it easy to operate. These windows are hinged at the top and swing outward. The problem is that the kitchen countertop is 36” tall than the window is about 24-36” tall. IE the top of the window is between 5’to 6’ off the floor so when you are looking out the window at the sink all your eyes are looking at the top of the window jamb, you must duck to look out the window.

Glider; With this type of window the operating devices are located half way up the window that makes this window hard to operate when you lean over the sink and faucet.

Casement; This is a great type of window the operating devices are located at the bottom of the window that makes it easy to operate, also if the wind is coming from the left and you want to bring the air in open the right window and it will hook the wind and bring it into the kitchen.

Double Hung; This is a good looking window but it has a draw back you must on unlock the window, the lock is half way up the center of the window opening it from the bottom is adequate again the sink and faucet is the way.

Hopper; A hopper window is a cool design of a window but it swings and tilts into the room in the swing mode the window can not open the faucet is in the way.

Transom; Having a transom window over the regular kitchen window is great unless you have a ceiling under 9’ again the bottom of the transom and the top of the regular is in your line of sight.

Kitchen countertops

6 major types of countertops; Laminate, Wood, Metal, Corion, Tile, and Stone tops.
Looking at these different types of tops, how are they going to perform for your needs?
1. Making bread or cookies the worst type of counter top is tile, it’s not the tile but the grout joints, the flour and doe get into the grout areas and you have to work hard to get it clean.
2. Cutting Vegetables, fruit on the counter; Laminates and Corion IE plastic base polymers not do go with cutting utensils will leave cut marks in surface. Metals will scratch, while wood will age and look more rustic looking, while stone and tile will dull the utensils.
3. Putting hot items on the countertop; Laminates will leave a blister mark where the hot item was set. Wood tops will leave a darker brown mark above 400° while as polymer base products will turn a different color again above 400°. Metals, and stone have no problem handling the heat. Tile above 800°depending on the finish on the tile, Metals above 1500° and Stone above 5000°
4. Spoiling of oil or juice; wood will sock up the fluid like a sponge, tile grout joints will stain, stone not sealed, will allow fluid to migrate through the stone to the underside of the countertop.

5. Cutting raw meat; the only one that is not good, are the polymer base products. A case study was done after a prolonged use study, bacteria was able to establish it’s self even with proper cleaning with dish soap. On the other hand wood counter tops had bacteria right from the get go, but after a period of time the wood built up a resistance to bacteria and was more health for you.
6. Clean up; For a Kosher kitchen I recommend stainless steel you can scrub them, they can take a lot of heat, they a durable and will last a lifetime.

Mexican siding crew

We had the privilege to watch a Mexican siding crew side and install 5 new windows into a split-level house right across the street from our job; they had 11 men the first day 9 the 2nd day.

One of the dumbest things we saw was a man hung over the gable end of the garage to remove the fascia, soffit, and as much siding as he could reach he was not tie off at all.
Another thing we saw was a man removing siding with an extension ladder as though the ladder was a crew bar, just under the man on the roof.
If either of the 2 men would got hurt, would they have insurance to take care of the medical bills or would they sue the owner of the property. Granted the general contractor had insurance, but did he or the homeowner check to see if the subcontractor had workers comp. Or even liability insurance. If something happened the homeowner is responsible not the contractor.
Ohsa law requires safety first.

1.Some of the law that were violated were working below an other worker you must wear a hard hat (safety helmet)
2. About 8’ off the ground you must be wearing fall protection.
3. Scaffolding must have a walkway not less than 19” wide they were using 12” planks
4. It is illegal to use the step ladders as they did, you must open the ladder up and make sure all four feet are secure before standing on it also you are not allowed to stand on the top platform this is not a step.

They had about 200-220 hours on siding and replacing the windows on a house that had 3000. Square foot of siding or 1100 SF split entry house. It was impressive to watch but looking back at the man hours I was horrified to see so many hours we had on 43 hours for siding 1/2 the house across the street and 1 sliding door replacement. We were working on a 1200 SF hour and replaced 30’ of gutters in this time frame. While the Mexicans are sending out another crew to put the gutters on after the house is sided. Looking back what a lot of wasted time they could have done the whole job in 2 days with 5 guys.

What are the first questions you need to answer for a new kitchen

Where do I go for a new kitchen? Remember this 9tenths of the kitchen stores have no clue who you are or how you live or your unique physical abilities you have. They are there to get a fast sale and they’re on to the next customer. And you’re stuck with this kitchen for the 10-20 years. A high-end builder and /or remodeler should ask you these questions. To custom fit your kitchen to you and not having you do contortions in your kitchen went it’s time to cook something.

1. Who does the cooking? Who does the cleanup?
2. How is your eye sight? If your eye sight is poor you may need more lighting in the kitchen.
3. Is the cleanup person left or right handed? The placement of the dishwasher is vital for ease of loading and unloading dishes.
4. At what height do you like to work at tabletop height (30”) or counter top height (36”) workbench height (42”) or a height in between? Having improper work surface height is bad on your back, hips and legs. You may have a new kitchen, but hate to go into the kitchen not really knowing why.
5. What size is the family are you cooking for? This tells me what size the refrigerator has to be for breakfast. This also tells me what size cook top you will need.
6. How many different types of parties per year? Do you need a 2nd refrigerator for short-term storage? They make great under the counter refrigerators and freezer with pull out draws.
7. How much cooking do you do everyday? Every meal, or is there a lot of prepared foods, or do you eat out a lot? This tells me what volume of dishes you will be keep in the kitchen. IE if you cook a lot you will be baking cakes, pies and fancy items. This mean you will need a lot of preporation storage of mixer, food processor, etc., in easy reach of your work surface.
8. Now let’s look at your house and see the architecture of the home so we can match the
kitchen to the house. IE never put a modern kitchen in a house designed as an Amish or 1900’s bungalow home.
9. Are you going to feed the family in the kitchen or at a different area? If in the kitchen where?
10. How much square footage are you going to give to the kitchen area? If you need more can you take a little from another room or can we add on an addition.

Heating your Garage

It’s a great idea, heating your garage with a Reznor unit heater it shall do a lot of good things for your garage and items stored in it. By keeping the heat above 38° it will keep the garage foundation from heaving in the cold winter months. Also if the garage is attached to the house, the house benefits by heating the garage the common wall is now warm for the house interns saving you heat on said house wall.

Having it warmer also helps your vehicles start faster as well as better engine oil viscosity, because the engine block is starting warm.


Using a compact ceiling gas heater works great. We have installed several of these units. You can bolt them to the roof framing members and or floor joist system. You can mount them up tight or drop them down to a lower height if you have a 9’- 14’ high garage ceiling. By installing the unit at the back of the garage and blow air cross the garage to the far front corner this will get the greatest way to stabilize the temperature in the garage. This will also dry your car off and the floor. By keeping your garage temperature at or above 38° you should never have the garage floor flaking or popping of concrete from the winter weather.

This furnace also can be vented both out the wall and/or through the roof of the garage. Giving is a way to really maximize your opportunity for the best installation.

Permacast Columns

These are a great way to make a pergola or a front porc.

Low Maintenance
Permacast columns are cast from a proprietary fiber-reinforced polymer composite with exceptional strength-to-weight characteristics and requiring minimum maintenance. They are weatherproof, insect-proof and highly durable. They look best painted, and repainting when the color looks out of date.


Low Maintenance
PermaCast columns are cast from a proprietary fiber-reinforced polymer composite with exceptional strength-to-weight characteristics and requiring minimum maintenance. They are weatherproof, insect-proof and highly durable.

Capitals & Bases
Tuscan style capitals as well as the five differenttypesof ornamental capitals also follow the guidelines of Greek and Roman architects. Attic bases, copied from those of ancient Attica, are also available.

Plain & Fluted
Permacast columns are available plain or fluted in the widest variety of sizes in the industry. Deep, sharp flutes and smooth, easy to finish surfaces set Permacast apart from wood columns.

Solar Heating In Minnesota

3 types of solar collectors.
The vacuum tube type works great. It can reach temperatures above 350° and becomes a good collector. The down side of it is when the snow and/or frost lands on the vacuum tube collector the sun has to warm it up to evaporate the frost, and with heavy snow you will have to clean it off the solar panels manually. If you remember to clean the panel if not this will loss you hours of solar collecting.

2 types of Solar thermo panels

2 types of Solar thermo panels

Home made solar collectors have a couple of problems: They are not sealed and filled with inert gas (argon gas) there by missing a key way of collecting solar heat. Improper way of winding the tubing inside the panel is another problem.

Flat panels commercially made are a great way to collect heat. You can set the collectors on most any type of roofing system. They also can be joined together for a greater Btu output. The maximum output will yield you any where between 50-70% of your domestic hot water. Having extra cash to go green is great but if you need this to be your main heating unit for hot water or limited location for hot water storage, this is not the system for you at this time I’ll check these systems out every couple of years for better results.