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Time Out

Sorry for the lack of posting, but personal issues have sidelined me for some time. Recently a catastrophic computer failure complicated this as well. But that part is over….

Using WordPress as my blogging tool of choice is requiring me to make some back end changes which require some gymnastics that may affect my posting over the next few months. Besides remodeling I do computer repair, maintenance, and a spot of web design which adds more time there and less here. But I hope to get back on the post soon..
Thx for your support.

Toxic Drywall

As the Chinese Drywall mess continues, CBS News is reporting that there may be problems with American drywall.

Homeowners Charge U.S. Made Toxic Drywall

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received more than 2,000 complaints to date. The agency recently released details on 44 of them under the heading “imported drywall.” But CBS News discovered that 10 of the cases – nearly a quarter – actually involve drywall made in the United States.
Source CBS News Online

Here is a video

Fall in Arizona

It’s Fall. I finally had to turn on the hot water to take a shower. I finally turned off the A/C. Fired up the heater to drive the dust out of the burners. Now all I have to do is find some work.

Moving from Typepad 2

Moving from Typepad to WordPress went smoothly for the posts and comments, which at the end of the day the conversations are the most part of blogging. Because my blog is heavy with photos of projects and procceedures I have a bunch of work ahead so blogging will light.

Due to the directory structures between the two platforms, my images are not showing up. Currently they are showing up as boxes, which is probably making you cranky. I am working on this.

Thank you for your continued support.

Chinese Drywall is the other guy’s problem

The Chinese Drywall saga takes yet another turn. This time Insurance Companies denying claims and canceling policies. Folks are getting sick, builders are denying responsibility, suppliers are denying responsibility, the states and Federal Government is ‘studying’ the problem, and the insurance companies are saying it is a builder defect and is not insurable. Then they cancel and refuse to provide coverage as it is now a “pre-existing” condition.

Just remember this when the Insurance Industry tells you that the current health care system is just fine.

Hattip to the Bungalow Chronicles for the heads up

Moving from Typepad

Hallelujah! I am finally moving away from TypePad. To WordPress.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
My new site is here. Bookmark It!!
Thanks to the folks at foliovision.com and this guide: Moving from Typepad to WordPress: 2009 Guide .

The guide is comprehensive, but complex. If you know your way around websites, hosting, FTP, and things like regex, you can do it yourself. If you are not comfortable with these, they offer a paid service to do it for you. It is 350 bucks, which is worth it if you have a site with a lot of materiel, especially images.

My new site is here. Bookmark It!!

It is not about the money as TypePad is a paid service, but is all about being locked into a system with limited expansion, terrible tech support, and regaining my freedom.

CFL’s Smart Saving or Snake Oil?

Compact Fluorescent Lights aka CFL's, have made significant inroads into the lighting market touting energy savings and long life. I use them but more for experimentation. I like a little more daylight in my lighting rather than the yellow that most of these bulbs produce.  They have a bumpy road as they each contain 5 milligrams of mercury, which during the initial push was downplayed as being insignificant, despite warnings from the EPA on proceedures on cleanup of broken bulbs.

I am not going to get into an argument about how 'insignficant' 5 milligrams is except to note that mercury's  cumulative effect has been amply demonstrated by  restrictions and recommendations regarding eating seafood at various times in the recent past.

Some companies that sell these bulbs have instituted recycling programs for used CFL's, which on the one hand would seem to be an environmentally responsive thing for a company to do, giving you a warm fuzzy using them, but on the other hand, I see this as more of a PR stunt than a serious attempt to greenwash stores that sell them. On the gripping hand I see this as a liability issue down the road, as the recyclers who are going to be recovering this material, will be left holding the bag when an industrial sized spill happens.

This morning I ran across this article on the NYT website:

which addresses the growing issue of people not getting their money's worth due to premature failure. So not only do you have a disposal problem, but you are not getting the advertised savings. We live in interesting times.

Chinese Drywall dissolving copper in Florida

Drywall is one of the most important materials in housing. It literally defines your interior spaces.
 An article in USA Today says that a Chinese drywall manufacturer, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin produced defective drywall that is releasing  gasses that are corroding copper pipes and wire.

"Homeowner lawsuits allege that the drywall has
corroded air conditioning and refrigerator coils, microwaves, computer
wiring, faucets and copper tubing.

Tests paid for by Lennar say the drywall appears
to emit sulfur gases that can damage air conditioning coils, electrical
plumbing components and other material.

In one test, copper pipe turned black after four
weeks when placed in a sealed container with a piece of affected
drywall, according to a lawsuit filed Jan. 30 by Lennar against Knauf
Gips of Germany and its Chinese affiliate, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin,
and others. The pipe then started to corrode, Lennar says."

According to the article up to 60,000 homes with the majority in Florida are affected.

"Lennar and Taylor Morrison, a home builder based
in Arizona with a dozen affected Florida homes, say they're absorbing
the expenses of relocating residents for the several months it can take
to repair affected homes.

Lennar says it used the Chinese-made drywall in
a small percentage of Florida homes built from November 2005 through
November 2006. It's not being used in new homes, it says. Lennar and
Taylor, both of which build homes outside of Florida, say they're not
aware of homes outside of Florida being affected."

Source: USA Today

Not a very good deal on something that accounts for a small percentage of a construction budget, yet defines a house. One more reason I use USG Drywall.

Google Search Results.

Housing Downturn

The housing market continues its downward plunge. Here in Phoenix it has dropped 45% from its peak.

My property tax assessed value dropped 50% since last year. Silly me, I thought that living in the ghetto would offer some protection. Houses in the 'hood are selling for less than the land value.

Links and Sites of Note

Having been sidelined for the last week and a half with my van having the electrical problem from hell, which turned out to be the alternator after all, I had some time on my hands.

From Green by Design comes:
When Less Is More: Overhauling the Appraisal System which is a look at how houses are appraised and why changes to this system are needed. How your house uses energy, either  by design, retrofitting, or remodeling, should play a significant role in value in the market. This dovetails nicely with The Real Cost, The Real Deal, featuring Michelle Kaufmann, whose designs look at the energy usage over time as well as green construction techniques.

For fans of Frank Lloyd Wright and the 'Prairie' style is a new blog, Prairie Blog which has a wide variety of articles surrounding this style.
Recently is this article about a student project, the Mod Fab house. (Be advised that the Prairie Blog is a giant time suck)

Super Eco has a posting on dimmer switches for CFL's. Nice idea but dimmable CFL's are still expensive. Something to think about for the future.

Meanwhile I am off to straighten some tall cabinet doors.