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Brands/Products That I'd Use Again

posted by: worthy on 09.19.2007 at 01:57 pm in Building a Home Forum

Gotta have a counterpoint!

My most pleasant surprise over the last few years have been Danze plumbing fixtures. Low-priced vs. competition but very durable and reliable. (Free replacement cartridges too.)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Danze Opulence single-handle faucet in copper, Mexican copper vessel, granite counter, Canac Cabinetry, accessories from Bombay Furniture

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clipped on: 03.15.2013 at 03:59 pm    last updated on: 03.15.2013 at 04:00 pm

Is building a custom home REALLY all that bad???

posted by: kath0000 on 03.11.2013 at 02:42 am in Building a Home Forum

We are about to enter escrow on a fabulous lot and start the process of building a custom home in Southern CA. We have a number of friends who have done custom homes in the area in the past 5 years and EVERY single one of them tells me how aweful it is and how they would never do it again and how it almost broke up their marriage, etc. I just don't get it. Is it really THAT BAD??? I don't want our marriage to suffer, we have done a LOT of research, have a clear idea of what we want and I feel like DH and I are on the same page with most everything. Plus he loves things like planning out the AV/wiring and I love stuff like cabinet colors/finishes and appliance selection, etc.

So are we in for the worst experience of our lives? That seems to be what everyone tells me but I just can't fathom why that would be. We already have a very experienced architect who is starting prelim drawings (which I will def post here) and have interviewed some builders with good reps and so on.

Maybe I am just naive but I don't see how this process could be that much of a nightmare.

Has it been that bad for all of you? Kath

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clipped on: 03.15.2013 at 03:58 pm    last updated on: 03.15.2013 at 03:58 pm

RE: Brands/Products That I'd Use Again (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: badin on 09.19.2007 at 03:28 pm in Building a Home Forum

Panasonic exhaust fans, hands down favorite because they're so very quiet. I learned about them here and will be forever thankful.

THS is also where I learned about plugmold. The electrician who installed it wasn't too thrilled at first, but in the end even he admitted how nice the backsplash looked without all of the usual outlets.

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clipped on: 03.15.2013 at 03:07 pm    last updated on: 03.15.2013 at 03:07 pm

RE: Whole House Surge Protector (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: westom on 11.07.2010 at 02:04 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

> I'm having new HVAC installed and interested in having a whole-house surge
> protector installed at breaker panel to protect equipment from
> spikes, sags caused by typical line current and lightning.

Too many accurate and other bogus replies to praise or correct. Some will be addressed here.

'Whole house' protection is the only solution for protecting all household appliances - especially electronics. But a protector does not do protection. You earthing must be upgraded to both meet and exceed post 1990 National Electrical code. All electricians understand how to meet code. Only a few understand what is necessary to make the same earthing system sufficient for surge protection.

Your earth ground must be upgraded so that the connection from breaker box to earth, via the protector, is short (ie 'less than 10 feet'). For example a bare quarter inch copper wire leaves the breaker box to earth ground. You follow that wire. If it goes up over the foundation and down to an earth ground rod, then it is too long and has too many sharp bends. Protection subverted. That wire must go through the foundation and down to earth ground. Many feet shorter. No sharp wire bends. Ground wire separated from all other electrical wires.

Again, concepts that so many electricians do not understand. And also why plug-in protectors do not even claim to provide effective protection.

If the only ground wire is to cold water pipes, your earthing is so insufficient as to essentially not exist (for surge protection). To not even meet human safety codes.

The most critical component in every surge protection system is not a protector. A protector is nothing more than a connecting device. Your protection is earth ground. Only a few electricians have sufficient electrical knowledge to understand what that means. Why, for example, sharp wire bends going over the foundation subverts surge protection. Or why the ground connection must be single digit feet long - as short as possible.

Same applies to any other wire entering the building. For example the cable TV wire must also connect just as short to the same earth ground before entering.

Any wire that enters without being first earthed puts your HVAC (and all other household electronics) at risk.

How to make better protection? Any money wasted on plug-in protectors is better spend upgrading the earthing. How to make the same ‘whole house’ protector even more effective? Upgrade and expand the earthing. A protector is only as effective as its earth gorund. Which is why adjacent protectors do not claim to do protection. And sometimes can make electronics damage easier.

Distance between protector and appliance increases appliance protection. Shorter distance from protector to earth also increases all appliance protection. Just another reason why a 'whole house' protector is so effective for HVAC.

A minimally sized protector starts at 50,000 amps. Only those educated by retail myths will define a protector as a one shot device. If any protector fails during a surge, the protector was probably a scam. 50,000 amps because an effective protector connects even direct lightning strikes (ie 20,000 amps) to earth. And remain functional. And does same for all smaller surges. Hard honest answers come with numbers. One that is important. A ‘whole house’ protector starts at 50,000 amps to make even lightning irrelevant.

About 50,000 amps or higher. Another critical number - less than 10 foot connection to single point ground.

Lightning strikes utility wires down the street. That is a direct lightning strike to all household appliances if the ‘whole house’ solution is not implemented. Not every appliance is destroyed. A surge will choose which to damage by chosing a path to earth. However, if the surge is earthed before entering, then no energy is inside hunting destructively via appliances. The most common surge is a lightning strike to incoming wires.

Sometimes (much less often), lightning may seek earth via a chimney or via the attic light. So we also earth a lightning rod. But one should consider the risk. A destructive surge (lightning and other sources) occurs maybe once every seven years. Lightning averted by a lightning rod is even less frequent. One must learn from numbers such as neighborhood history to determine if a lightning rod is also necessary. TV roof antennas properly earthed as required by code also act as lightning rods.

A 'whole house' protector will also avert house fires and other problems created by power strip protectors. Protection is always about where energy dissipates. If that energy is inside the house (ie via a cable TV wire), then nothing stops a hunt for earth destructively via appliances (ie computer). Either a surge connects short to earth before entering. Or all appliances (electronic and motorized) are at risk. A ‘whole house’ protector is also necessary to protect power strip protectors that are often so grossly undersized as to be one-shot protectors.

All appliances contain massive protection. Anything a plug-in protector might do is already accomplished inside every appliance (including the HVAC). Your concern is a rare and destructive surge that can overwhelm protection already inside appliances - including HVAC. That surge is only averted by earth ground. Either a protector connects destructive energy to earth outside the building. Or that protector is best called a scam.

Utilities can rent or install a 'whole house' protector behind the meter. But utilities do not install earth ground. Only the homeowner is responsible for providing and maintaining the only thing that provides surge protection - single point earth ground.

Wires underground do not provide surge protection. Every wire (overhead or underground) inside every cable must connect short to single point ground. No exceptions. If not - if a buried wire interconnects two buildings. Then a surge to one building can act like a lightning rod connected to appliances in the second building. Even underground wires that enter each facility must connect short to single point ground.

Sags are not averted by protectors. Even incandescent bulbs dimmed to 50% intensity means ideal power to all electronics. But that can cause havoc to motorized appliances (ie HVAC). Therefore an HVAC controller must make sags irrelevant. If voltage drops too low, the controller must stop motors. And if power is restored too quickly, then the controller must wait long enough for a restart to cause no damage. Sags are addressed by properly designed electronic controllers. Surges can only be averted where wires enter the building - via earth ground.

A ‘whole house’ protector is required by everyone reading this. Only effective protection for every household electronics including bathroom GFCIs, smoker detectors, dishwasher, computers, and HVAC. One 50,000 amp ‘whole house’ protector connected as short as possible (ie ‘less than 10 feet’) to single point earth ground. And an expanded earthing system.

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clipped on: 03.11.2013 at 09:03 pm    last updated on: 03.11.2013 at 09:03 pm

combi oven / in-counter steamer question

posted by: mtc1 on 06.17.2012 at 06:24 pm in Appliances Forum

In planning wall space for our future kitchen, I'm trying to figure out if we will both be able to use the combi at the same time or if we need an additional appliance so we can eat together. I am a vegetarian and my husband is a meat eater. We currently need to wait turns to cook, or even just to reheat leftovers, so my veggies don't smell like fish or meat. I have heard if you steam there is no flavor transfer, but do you know if is true if using a combination of steam and traditional heat?

I don't want to waste money for a second combi, but if it will really be that great of an oven for us, it's worth the one time expense if i means we can cook together.

My second question is about an in-counter steamer. Does anyone know what, if anything, it does better or as well as the combi, or would you always chose the combi and skip it. I'm just trying to figure out if we can't use the combi together, would it be better to get the in counter steamer or two combis. I can't even believe I'm considering this but that is the worst part about eating for us.. our food is never hot at the same time.

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clipped on: 03.10.2013 at 07:22 pm    last updated on: 03.10.2013 at 07:22 pm

RE: combi oven / in-counter steamer question (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: Mistman on 06.17.2012 at 11:38 pm in Appliances Forum

We actually purchased both an in counter Wolf steamer and a Wolf combi oven though the house is not yet completed so can't say as to usage. Our plan is that the in counter steamer will be the 'go to' veggie steamer/pasta cooker and also double as a defroster/warmer/proofer. The combi will be mostly the 'go to' bread baking oven but also double as a pastry oven, we like custards/souffle's and puddings and think that will work well for those. We'll have a large gas oven too which I think will mostly be for large savory dishes and pizza's, stuff like that. I like to experiment so having a lot of different tools (a Wolf convection oven also) is fun besides the fact we're building a custom home and are loading up w/our 'want to haves'. If I were a vegan I think I would already have an in counter steamer, a friend has one and uses it daily. One thing I would mention is that they are quite large and need to have the drain plumbed and
a pot filler close by wouldn't be a bad idea either. It is recommended that they are vented in some way which could also lead to some issues.
So while our usage will be different than your own I believe the in counter steamer and combi will both be very useful kitchen appliances. However if I had to choose just one it would be the combi, don't know about flavor transfer in the real world yet.

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clipped on: 03.10.2013 at 07:21 pm    last updated on: 03.10.2013 at 07:22 pm