Introducing the Sense Home Energy Monitor

- It has a pair of clamps that go around the two main ‘hot’ wires coming into your panel, and these relay energy usage back to the device. It connects to your home’s wifi, you install an app on your phone, and it starts learning. The Sense Home Energy Monitor is a little orange box that gets installed in your main electric panel. From there, the device tells you more information about your electricity usage than you could imagine. ..More

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Which smoke alarm to buy

- . Photoelectric smoke alarms say “photoelectric” proudly on the packaging. That leaves very few options at this particular retail display, which includes CO/smoke alarm combination units. Ionization alarms don’t. I blacked out all of the ionization alarms, dual-sensor alarms, and carbon monoxide alarms (I think). This eliminates a lot of the products out there ..More

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Subpanels: when the grounds and neutrals should be separated

- . Next, what’ the deal with connecting grounds and neutrals together? In my words, if grounds and neutrals are connected together at a subpanel, they won’t have separate paths back to the service equipment. This means you’ll have current on the grounding conductor, which can be bad news for anyone working on the circuit. For a detailed discussion of this, check out Charles Buell’s blog post and video on bonding grounds and neutrals together at subpanels ..More

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Drum traps

- . Drum traps come in different shapes, sizes, and configurations.  The crude diagrams below show a few examples of different types of drum traps I’ve come across, as well as one type of setup that wouldn’t create a water seal trap, shown at the bottom right ..More

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Controlling Window Condensation

- Any spot where glass meets soft pine makes me nervous about maintenance issues, even with today’s glass. That is also why non-wood windows have longer warranties than their real wood counterparts. Even if you use real wood again on the interior, today’s glass packs with multiple layers of Low E coating and argon gas are more effective and keep the inside glass at a higher temperature, resulting in less condensation and lower energy costs. . Regardless, no window can completely eliminate condensation, so I encourage customers to go vinyl, composite, or fiberglass on the interior when getting new windows since those won’t be hurt by water ..More

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