Sunday, September 25, 2005

Drywall repair

I have a hole in a drywall wall to repair. It is about 2 inches wide and about 6 inches long. The drywall is 5/8th thickness. Is the best way to repair it, to fill the hole with mud and then put drywall tape over it? Then sand and add more mud as needed? Or should I try to put a piece of
drywall in the hole first?

Screw a stick to the inside of the hole to support the patch. Fill the hole with a scrap of dry wall and put a coat of mud over it to just fill the cracks. Remove the screws after the mud dries, the patch should hold on its own. Then continue mudding, with taping over the joints. If worse comes to worse, you can replace the whole piece. Sheetrock is cheap and relatively easy to work with. Just take your Milwaukee Sawzall and cut out the old piece to the studs. Then you can install a new piece and tape and float it.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bathroom vent question

I have a house built in the early 70s in Northern Virginia. Two bathrooms are on the second floor and do not have conventional venting, only windows. The windows used to open to the outside, but the previous owner converted the second-floor deck into a sunroom, and now
the two bathroom windows open into the sunroom. The sunroom is about 10' x 30', is unheated, and has large windows to the outside that are usually open on three sides. It has very good ventilation except in the middle of winter, when we close the windows. The attic is
immediately above the bathroom and sunroom.

I would like to add ventilation fans for the two bathrooms. The easiest way to do this would be to mount them on the wall to the sunroom, and vent the air directly into the sunroom. Is this an acceptable way to do it? Another option is to run the ducts inside the wall, down and out to the outside below the deck/sunroom. A third option is to run the vent into the attic and out the ridge vent at the peak of the roof. Is this possible? I saw it done in my old house. So far I have no soffit vents for the attic, but will be adding them shortly. Soffit vents would be hard to get to, except over the sunroom, if I put any there.

What is the best way to go about doing this? Should I just vent into the sunroom, since it is large and usually open, or do I need to do something more complicated? Thanks for all help.

Thanks for your email.

The only proper answer that can be given is to pipe the vents to the exterior. The attic route sounds the best to me. All fans have a limit of piping that can be installed on them, every turn
and twist requires deductions from this footage. Long horizontal runs are hard to do, and may require in-line booster fans. You can easily cut a hole in the sheetrock in the ceiling and install the fan. Sheetrock can easily be cut with a hand saw. However, when you cut a hole in the roof decking you will need something with more power. A Milwaukee Sawzall reciprocating saw will do the trick. Just get a sawzall with blade that will cut both metal and wood. This type of blade with make quick work of any nails you run across.

Also, most residential fans push the exhaust. Most commercial fans pull the exhaust by placing the fan on the roof and pipe to the room(s) with an exhaust grille system. The control wiring is longer, but no more complicated.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

House Air Conditioner is leaking freon.

I'm having an issue with one of the Air Conditioning systems in my house.. For some reasons only the upstairs unit seems to be leaking freeon. He tried using the bubble detector solution, but wasn't able to find any leaks with that. He did this in both places, in the attic near the coil, and outside by opening the unit near the compressor..

He said that the only other place that the freon could be leaking is in the pipes from the upstairs unit to outside, which would involve drilling a hole in the wall, pulling the pipe out, and replacing, and then repairing the whole in the wall.

However, when the tech replaces the freon (with up to 2 pounds of freon), the Air Conditioner is ice cold again, and the last time he recharged it, it lasted for 2 weeks. Hopefully this time it will last longer, and the summer in the SouthEast will be over.

I've also replaced the filters and vacuumed the vents.

Have you seen this before.. where the freeon leaks over a period of say 2 weeks, but can't be detected, and upon recharging, it works fine.. for another 2 weeks. ?

Thanks in advance for your help..

That's a pretty well written description. IFF the tech was reliable and you have a leak in the walls, it seems funny he wasn't able to detect it anywhere. If it's leaking into the walls, there has to be an exit point for it and it'll be detectable there.

If it's actually "freon" as you said, that has a pretty good odor and at the loss rate you indicate, you should be able to smell it yourself, even.

Did the air conditioning tech use a refrigerant leak detector? This tool can "sniff" out a freon leak and tell you where it is located.

Also, if this is in the attic, I don't know why a hole would have to be made in a wall. It should be pretty easy to pull out the old and fish in a new pipe. Just my two cents; I know it isn't my money, but if I were you I think I'd try another service and if they came up with the same results, consider replacing what needs to be done. It's still cheaper than paying housecalls for freon every two weeks in your climate.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Do floor molding and door trim need to match?

I'm thinking about replacing my floor molding and have heard that the floor molding and door trim must match in order to be "proper". Is this true?

According to Miss Manners, yes, to entertain with mis-matched trim you would be dropped from the invitation list for the upcoming social season. You'll find yourself sitting home alone on New Year's Eve.
Just use a little common sense. If one is painted, both probably should be painted If one is rather gaudy, the other may look out of place if a plain clamshell. Your house, your rules, but you probably want something that complements the style of the house. Installing it really isn't that difficult. A good miter saw is necessary to make the various cuts. Like a good 45 degree angle. I found that using a cheap plastic mitre box and a hand saw was a real pain. By using a good power saw, the cuts will look better and you will keep your sanity.