I know of no real science pointing either way (but a LOT of anecdotal reporting) - and that means there is no way you can possibly reassure yourself, at least not while maintaining straight thinking. All studies I have seen are tiny or have large caveats and limitations which prevent them from closing the case one way or the other. But huge power towers certainly have a big impact at least on your feelings and nobody would be surprised some day down the road to find they are not good for your health.
Regardless whether they be bad or just big, there's no doubt at all that owning that land will stress you out every day cuz you can't be sure. So go w/what you _are_ sure of - power lines over your shoulder make you scared and anxious and that's no way to live! <g>
Thanks for your info. I have read about nests in walls, but was unclear on what part of the termite cycle they represented. It sounds like the "dry nest" won't survive w/out constant and active connection with the soil, right? I didn't mean to imply that dryness alone would solve a termite problem, by the by; just that the subterranean bugs need ongoing connection with the earth in homes that don't have chronic and severe moisture problems. I _think_ you would agree with that?
It looks to me like the best/only hope for subterr. termites is to break the ground connection (or using it to distribute effective poison) while keeping the building normally dry. Easier said, of course, but conceivable I think. Because no fix is in any way permanent, even expertly applied poison; this means inspecting regularly from now until you and the building part company. And giving yourself a chance to actually do a complete inspection would greatly benefit from building (especially the earth contact areas) with termite inspection (and exclusion) specifically in mind.
That's about the sum of what I know about subterr. termites. Where I live I hopefully won't run into the dry wood type. Hope, Hope...
It may well vary by community. As I understand the Amish life, each "church" (about 400 people) sets it's own rules. When the next generation makes the church too big for all to meet in one house and govern conveniently, they split off another "church". Along with the practical necessity of thinning the ranks, there is the usual politics and bureaucratic give and take; there often several people (and their families) who are more than just ready to branch off. The Amish are really quite contentious within their group, mainly about religious matters and what is allowed. They are very independent people in some ways and there is no single "Amish way" - far far from it.
>> Rufus Laggren wrote: The ground bugs require water, so if you keep the house dry they won't actually live there, just eat and run. Rufus
> That is basically totally false.
According to what I read (extensively) the subterranean termites require a certain amount of water and they cannot find enough in the structure of a normal house. that means they don't colonize the house, but return to the ground to hydrate.
Damn true! <g> My impression of the Amish is that immediately after being committed workaholics, they are above all practical. They are _not_ organic except coincidentally because they view the land as an asset to be nurtured and passed on to the next generation. They expect to leave things they had their hands on in better _practical_ shape than before. That does not equate to the green movement, the eat-slow movement, the vegie movement or anything else. They eat large and hearty of all the traditional German fare for better or worse. Because they produce their own food, they largely avoid chemicals, but that is a side affect. They are first Amish Anabaptist and second communal survivalist businessmen.
I believe a few years ago Amish pig farmers got in hot water because they did not toe the line about managing their run-off. The local PA aquifer was getting polluted and laws and rules were enacted to deal with that; but the Amish have serious problems with rules that require them to use certain modern means. I don't know the results of that but it shows the relationship between their religion, their traditions (they farm and raise animals in traditional ways), ecology science and political correctness. That's more or less the pecking order; science is _way_ down the bottom and PC, of course, doesn't even make the list.
They are costly, true. But they are, in the long run, necessary.
I ran plumbing crews and often had to initiate new people. The things that make it easier is stuff the most young people, especially those branching out, "doing their own thing", don't take to well: 1) Pay attention, do what you're told... Now. 2) Ditto 3) Ditto 4) Do what you say you will (like show up on time) Always.
#1 is the killer. I don't have time to explain the meaning of life and still get today's job done. The only way ingorants can be of any use at all is if they do exactly what they're told. It also indicates their attitude. And they still have to actually manage to _do_ the things I tell them to. That involves learning. It's augmented by regular screw-ups which get corrected (learn by example) and short answers and explanations occasionally. Generally we'd figure one year before any new person stopped draining the company financially. It's truly amazing what an imaginative newbie can do while your back is turned. Imagination, at least acting out on it, is a minus for an aspirant. Speaking up when you still don't have a clue and are about to cost us all $thousands is a plus.
I should have said above "necessary to a long term organization". Any entity needs to evolve and adjust as the originators retire one way or another - if it's going to survive their passing. This requires fresh meat and a goodly amount of it because only the occasional meat head will morph into a useful person. There are many ways for groups or organizations to bring in new life and survive and most are potentially valid. Yes, there _is_ a cost, to all concerned. Do you think it's worth it?
Human transactions are all pretty complex and way more volatile than nature; but they are more flexible and can self-heal.
The ancient Greeks probably pegged it pretty well: We all can get brought down by hubris. That and losing control to whatever glittery desire looms before us at the moment. The sirens are real and they're still out there.
I have personally witnessed something very similar to Mr. Holzer's problem play out with one of my best friends. There were no explicitly guilty parties, but there was also a real ongoing failure of communication where neither party stood up and made a serious effort to address issues until the whole thing blew up, always saying it was the other guys place to say something. Everybody lost important money, but nobody got hurt crippled; but there were great opportunities lost and it left a bad taste for many years for everybody involved.
Developing your own system and methods and sharing and promoting them among well educated and motivated people is one particular skill set. Providing professional services to non-expert consumers (using this or any other expertise) is an entirely different, almost unrelated, skill set. The latter centers on, for lack of better phrase, customer management. It must include policies and practices designed expressly to 1) promote clear and legal understanding (this includes contracts, but also such things as milestones, progress reporting, clear delineation of responsibilities, procedures for changes or problem resolution); 2) define the job and "deliverables clearly and legally; 3) provide fall back and make-whole procedures (officially met by insurance and arbitration clauses these days).
Large companies have all this stuff codified in a zillion forms etc, but the principles must be practiced by anybody in business and don't necessarily require reams of paper. Most small business rely on the experience and CAUTION of their main decision makers, and on adhering to commonly agreed practices (eg. codes). There is a reason most (honest) businessmen are really, really conservative and slow to jump on new band wagons. They understand they may be dealing with important parts of people's lives and that sure as death and taxes there _will_ be serious problems and disagreements - the best laid plans of mice... after all. They arrange their business to proceed despite this certainty and to handle the inevitable as gracefully as possible. Done properly, it's a very high bar.
I'm sorry to hear Mr. Holzer has somehow stepped in the muck. In my limited experience the only way toward the best resolution involves a very serious effort to communicate between the principals. Somewhere some good will must be found and demonstrated in real and credible ways.
Maybe a little more info - or maybe I missed something. On the face of it, what's the problem? Most areas have a selection trees of some sort that will grow naturally in the existing conditions. As I understand it, a little frost only matters to citrus farmers and then only in terms of reducing the yield that particular year. Are you planting citrus trees?
As I understand it, everybody not living north in Alaska needs to be aware and respect termites. From 20+ hours of research in the last week I would say there is _no_ "final solution" to this agent of entropy. They're out there, they go everywhere and they do their stuff on the q-t. From my view, the main deal with termites is that they never stop foraging and they go through any holes greater than 1/64". That means that to deny them entry to your home your defenses have to essentially be perfect - forever. Doesn't sound like a good bet. The fall back position is to try to force them to show themselves by crossing a perimeter that you can see and inspect fairly easily every few months. In conventional construction this is the "termite shield". However, it takes some considerable care and regular effort to resist these buggers because they will happily come up through the floor to dine on your baseboards or paneling. (Remember - anything bigger than 1/64" makes an entrance way...) The ground bugs require water, so if you keep the house dry they won't actually live there, just eat and run. The dry-lander breed _will_ come to stay, though; but they don't breed as fast and so don't eat as much and generally give you more time before the house falls down (or the leg of the chair collapses).
In short, your wife has a good point. Whether they will eat your house fast enough to trouble you is an open question, but they're out there looking and they're going to find lots of dinner somewhere. There is no solution, just continuous vigilance, care and precaution.
There are quite a few things that come along with building codes. One of the most important from the point of view of the service/repair/remodel industry (and I definitely include small time craftsman) is that if we know and practice the codes, then we automatically have a way better take on how a building built to code is put together. Where we find the pieces, what supports what, what's connected to what, what materials are in there, etc, etc. This aids hugely in making effective and efficient repairs, estimating work required, etc, compared to structures which are not built to code. And I don't particularly mean "new" or "alternative" building. The standard stick frame which was not built to code invariably has dozens of creative solutions which you only discover after starting work and which double the cost of working on that building - no matter whether it's rock solid or a house of cards.
Uniform practices greatly reduce costs, every kind of cost, throughout the life of the building. There are usually ways to make it better that don't require nulling out the standard codes. Most inspectors (well, at least half <g>) are very knowledgeable people. When you have a good case, they know it. The ones with experience probably know a whole lot more about building than most of us ever will and, even better, they KNOW HOW TO MAKE YOUR PLAN WORK to everybody's satisfaction. A good inspector can be a fantastic resource. At the very least they're your connection to the "real" world where hundreds of years of trial and error has gone into the building tradition. Makes way more sense to try to tie into that wealth than to spurn it.
(ps. I work as a plumber in San Francisco; since 1985. I have had "discussions" with many inspectors, mostly with happy endings. Keep it respectful and know your stuff.)
In another forum Erica W. mentioned some of her experiences and wondered about ideas for affordable medical care/coverage.
I'm afraid I don't have any decent ideas, but I do have some thoughts. I recently had to figure out the least debilitating way to get coverage and I'm afraid it didn't improve my attitude in the least.
I think you hit on THE reason people will have to stay connected to the "mainstream" economy. Even with a change of attitude toward death or caring for the aged and disabled, there is a lot of health care needed by everybody. There are numerous "tactical" methods, such as connecting with any local clinics or teaching hospitals, finding and using midwives instead of doctors etc. But that depends on the specific person and locale and has a limited scope.
If I were just out of school I would seriously consider enlisting in the services for a set term depending on what life time medical coverage was offered. I don't know any other options for medical planning that doesn't involve continuously paying significant (and increasing) money each and every single month until you die. Paychecks from large businesses hide this mostly but it's one of the most important ways they draw people to work their 9-5 jobs forever.
I don't see any real alternatives (solutions) because the system grows out of people's willingness to pay almost anything for their loved ones and a whole lot for themselves in the hopes of a cure (for whatever). In other worlds fearful or desperate people will beggar themselves for medical treatment. That irresistible temptation has drawn all the most ambitious money makers in our world together and they have made a system to extract as much as the market will bear.
This is not merely a moral judgment, it's written into our laws. Corporate officers are required by law to do the best for their shareholders that they possibly can. The only measure of "doing well" for a corporation is distributing large and increasing dividends; there is NO other measure of corporate success except continuous large and increasing MONETARY profit. It is the sine qua non. All other goals are subordinate. And by law corporate officers must do the best by their company or face civil and possibly criminal charges.
Two (of many) more ordinary considerations that maintain the present system: 1) The cost of equipment required for basic medical procedures (X-rays; remove an appendix) is far beyond the reach of any small group (say of doctors). This means that corporations must be involved in all but the most benign or trivial medical work. 2) If a smaller group did coalesce to provide basic treatment under a different compensation model, they would not survive a year w/out serious mal-practice insurance. This would hike their overhead and greatly increase the fees they would have to meet expenses and stay out of jail. (People die after seeing a doctor. Of course, people die after seeing their minister or mother (or whoever else happens to be around) also, but the doctor is in the direct line of blame. A serious injury or death will almost always make somebody very very very distraught, angry and totally willing to take it out on somebody in front of them to blame. There _will_ be serious lawsuits - that's the way this country functions.)
No, I don't have any good answers. At the moment my choice is Kaiser (CA) and hopefully I will be able to maintain that. I don't know any other "insurance" that comes close their value. I've heard Oregon and Mass. have "good" systems, but since I'm not likely to live there, I don't know much about them. I have read the Amish self insure and generally pay as you go for not-always-great treatment; they pay as little as they can. Yes, they will accept treatment at modern facilities. They are the only group I know of right off that actively stands outside the norm in a consistent way that includes their medical treatment.
Food is a dirt simple and easy DIY project compared to medical treatment. It appears this is where the rubber meets the road vv. a person's relationship to our economic culture and our larger institutions.
The Amish get on as well as they do because they are a cohesive united group with significant savings who pay taxes completely and early and they provide economic benefits to their local community in the form of cheap honest extremely hardworking labor and cash flowing into the farm stores of the community. IOW, even though they keep to themselves, they play an active functioning respected role for their community and maintain their state and federal responsibilities religiously(!). And they PAY ALL BILLS IMMEDIATELY and as far as I know in cash; debt is abhorrent to them. They are the only people I know of who don't either pay out to insurance companies or grind through the system as indigents. And I don't think I or many others could be Amish so that's no solution.
We can take our pay (profit) in different ways and for that I'm very grateful. I find the ideas and idealism here encouraging and hopeful. I've learned many things in a short time and gotten ideas for my own efforts. Great information and help for all to share. Good goals and sound methods almost all.
But maybe we should be a little careful not to turn a nose up at the "mainstream". WE created the mainstream. As the alligator said: We have seen the enemy and he is us! I think it's best practice to view the main stream with the greatest respect and attention, striving for clarity. To pretend we're not part of it, to imply and assume _we_ would never create that mess would be... Silly. We did, we have, we are.
Paul H. hit it square. Prescription or engineered. Springs directly from liability and our common propensity to do what we want for fast fun, skimping on the costly troublesome stuff. Personally, I think the codes are pretty good and useful considering their genesis and environment. Not perfect, of course. <g> And looking at local codes can give good indications of what a builder needs to take into account to meet regional needs.
Handling water with materials that last more than 15 years requires a little thought. Depending on water composition, galvanized steel can last 50+ years; I'm living in an old house which was last plumbed in the 40's with galvanized pipe. However. Some water will rot the pipes in 20 years or less; heat will speed up any chemical process and some hot water piping needs replacement "regularly" at 15 years. That's for "Schedule 40" steel pipe.
Tanks are much lighter steel. Again, some hot water heaters from the (very) late 80's are still working; but _most_ conventional water heaters are leaking in less than 10 years and many in less than 5. Heat again plays a part because the spot heating experienced at the bottom of the tank in gas fired WH's seriously shortens their life; electric WH's which have heating elements _in_ the water leaving the tank itself at a more or less uniform temperature usually last 10 years or more but often leak at the connections (though no more than other WH's).
Now this doesn't matter if you figure you're "Out o' Here!" in 5 to 10 years. But if you're looking at long term and dependable use you would like your living space to fail gracefully at intervals of 30+ years - or more. Gracefully means no catastrophic disasters, failure is telegraphed far enough ahead that major repairs can be scheduled for the best season and that major repairs should be accomplished w/out moving out of the home for a month and at a cost of less than 5% of the value of the property.
When you try for that ideal with plumbing, materials become important as well as installation. Traditionally copper has been the most reliable for pressure systems. For drains heavy "service weight" cast iron has lasted 50+ years. Plastic is barely into the adolescence of it's track record and has seen some serious embarrassments. Plumbing is also attached from "outside". Salt air rots any pipe fast; some soils eat cast iron, some eat copper. Everything eats steel! Galvanized pipe will usually last 10 years before showing rust spots on the outside except that... It last less than 5 years at any threaded joints where the threads are exposed with no galvanizing and where pipe wrenches of scratched the surface.
IOW, once you've got something the functions, you may want to figure how to set it up so it lives a while.
I wonder it would be possible to extend the automatic logout period. It often takes me several minutes to read a good message and then rather longer to try a good reply and longer still to (hopefully) prune said reply down to some reasonable length. By that time I need to log in again to post.
I've looked in "My Profile" and didn't see any likely option which I control, so it appears to be something the administrator or installer sets.
Or maybe I'm just a whole lot slower or maybe I've missed some setting I should adjust.
Ditto Matt - Thank you for all your thoughts. Take a bit to digest.
I have the same feel about pellets. They depend on a certain infrastructure and the mechanicals are a bit complex.
> local building material
That is a very useful concept rule-of-thumb: Major difference between local materials building and conventional is the big difference in water/moisture control.
> tar paper
"Building wrap" has actually been tested extensively vv. moisture permeability and air sealing and water sealing. Tar paper came out at the top of the pile - it is quite permeable to water vapor so it allows drying and properly installed it's water proof and very wind proof (ie. it's a good primary weather barrier).
That sounds like the single most important parameter for any stove; the next being the shape. I'm still not clear on the details of possible various possible air flow, in particular how changing the CSA of the fill hole (resulting from larger or smaller loads or burning down) affects the burn. It'll become apparent with some more reading, I'm sure.
But it looks to me like air flow can be fairly easily controlled using traditional CI stove methods - ie. adjustable inlets, various holes, etc. And this would allow initial tuning more easily and also (if beneficial) changes in setup to account for different burn types (large, small, ending, etc). In particular, it appears to me that holes or slots around the top and/or bottom perimeter of the window case, regulated by a sliding cover, would allow repeatable settings more easily w/out leaving the door open. This might allow a less complex door latch and provide for keeping the door fully closed/latched in all circumstances which might be a safety feature.
Speaking of safety, i have a strong impression that the barrel is a danger point due to high temperatures. Putting "bars" around the barrel about 4-6" off might be a first cut at a safety improvement. Minimal cross section support can be bolted to the barrel itself; the small the cross section the less heat will be conducted to anything mounted on them. Or 1/8" all thread inside of glass or other non-conductive insulating spacers can be used. Maybe instead of bars, 1/2" square wire screen would be better... It's not just children or adults falling on the barrel which might cause problems; things touching it especially over long periods could cause problem. A big part of the safety is is that the barrels don't show their heat in any meaningful way to humans - we don't see in the IR region. The look the same stone cold as they do right up to just before red hot. What happens if somebody tosses their straw hat on top of the barrel while it's warming up and the owner doesn't notice it? A guest puts their plastic travel alarm clock there? These stoves are not something everybody grew up with and (duh!) know not to put their hands on.
Thanks for your response. Your testing approach seems about the only responsible way and I'm glad somebody's taking the time/effort. Also, the 1)passive 2)reliable criteria seem pretty good also.
FWIW I'll pass on a link you might find worthwhile some time - www.heatinghelp.com. A small business vehicle, it attracts mostly smart professionals who love their craft. Doesn't relate directly (lot of digital whiz-bang there), but there are some good discussions of heating in general and quality people are good to know; they might have some interest in your version of HVAC, too. Dan Hollohan, the owner, is quite ecletic and a most decent person.
Which makes me think of a Q: Do RMH installs have any condensation issues where the surfaces' temps get below the condensation point for the wood fire gasses?
IIRC 137F. is where natural gas combustion products (don't know about wood fuel) condense onto a surface and lots of thought goes into dealing with that phenomenon. Or do the RMH flue gasses always remain hot enough all the way through to the atmosphere to prevent any condensation?
Following up Matt Walker's post about a window at the end of the burn tube.
Re-purpose an oven door window? Steel angle frame (welded/bolted)? Any old hinges? Can't right off see why it would have to be air tight - just well fitted; you have a relative gale blowing down through the feed hole anyway so a little draft from the window-door probably wouldn't mess anything up.
But a question: Why wouldn't a "hearth" work at the end of the burn tube instead of an "overhead" hole? Ie. just end the burn tube in a little open "fire place". It wouldn't self feed which is a really nifty function of the burn hole, but... You could see the fire scurry away from you. Is keeping heat an issue?
Another approach might be to mount a piece of polished stainless steel at the good angle above the fire hole - a mirror.