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Nancy Kurinec
Posts: 6
Location: Rochester, New Hampshire
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I am looking for some ideas for a possible alternate heat source for our home, I rent a 4 bdrm apartment which is the entire first floor of our building with the basement under us which has a dirt floor and sometimes gets an inch or so of water when it rains heavy for a few hours. I live in New Hampshire which does not allow wood or pellet stoves in rental homes/apts but the high cost of using fuel oil, which is what our furnace runs on (hot water baseboard heat), is expensive as is using electric heat. I need something that is small enough that I can hide it from my landlord but can keep our place comfortable yet doesn't need to be vented outdoors ( dont want neighbors calling code enforcement or the fire marshall on us) our place is poorly insulated with some vinyl replacement windows and a few old wooden windows which are missing some or all of the storm windows. Every winter we have to cover the older windows up with heavy duty plastic to keep the drafts out then remove it in spring. We don't qualify for fuel assistance yet cant afford the high cost of fuel oil nor can we afford the sky high electric bill so i am trying to find something else that we could use that would work without setting our place on fire or killing us with dangerous fumes or gases.

just wondering if anyone knows of anything that could work for us

thank you for your time and consideration

 
wayne stephen
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Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Have you seen Pauls video on heating the person and not the space ?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqJoXyBuxRw
 
allen lumley
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Wayne : Thanks for posting this, many of our fellow members know about our sister site richsoil.com,but we forget to send others to it or 'Our You-Tubes'

Nancy: Our host paul Wheaton, here and at our sister site richsoil.com has put several Threads out there on You-Tube as a way of increasing membership here
at Permies.com,

You will find the video Wayne is sending you to entertaining and informative, And it can be made to work in just about every circumstance,Good Luck, BIG AL !

This in no way is an endorsement of other Channels or sites on U-Tube, there is a lot of crap out there ! A. L.
 
Nancy Kurinec
Posts: 6
Location: Rochester, New Hampshire
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Thank you Wayne and Allen for your replies

Yes I had seen the video, did some hard searching in both the rocket stoves and wood burning stoves forums before i posted my message but thought maybe i just was using the incorrect search terms for what i was looking for and thats why i wasnt able to find anything that could help in my situation, but for a family of 5, something like that wouldn't be practical because each person is usually in a different location of the home as well as having a 4 yr old running all over the place, all the time. I was just looking for something that is better at warming up the entire place to a comfortable level then what we do now when we cant afford heating oil which is using our portable dryer vented inside with a stocking over the vent hose end blowing toward the front of the home from the kitchen and our oven with the door open and a box fan on the fridge pushing the hot air at ceiling level toward the rear of the home or when over night temps are 25 degrees or lower, using 2 additional electric heaters, all of which raises our electric bill to about 650 a month

Thank you both for your assistance.
 
allen lumley
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Nancy Kurinec : Living on the borders of New York and Ontario, above our Adirondack Mts. I am aware of our shifting weather patterns and how much we share in common!
We had 60 M.P.H.winds the day you posted this !

You have done your homework and I know that what with Therms, BTUs, watts- amps- volts, Cu. Ft, Gallons, Cords face/full, and pricing schemes and building types andD.I.Y.
retrofits, its all pretty crazy and the bills keep on coming. It is especially hard for people on fixed incomes !

So- Really the best thing I have to offer is a home energy audit, paid for by your Electric Co. the State or other Third parties interested in 'green credits'

The cheapest unit of energy that can ever be is the one you didn't buy! -There is a ZERO % chance that your utility will need to declare bankruptcy if most people took advantage
of this, everyones rates would go up to cover the operating costs and If you are not onboard, your rates go up to pay for the guy that did !

1) sign up for a 'free energy audit'
2) To prepare yourself for a new round of vocabulary words, I am sending you to a site run by an Arm of the University of Alaska Fairbanks CCHRC.org, you and I know
Cold, they Know COLD !

I Want you to grasp the Idea of our homes as heated envelopes and where all that heat goes !
a) www.makinghouseswork.cchrc.org/2013/what-is-stack-effect-and-how-does-it-affect-your home/

Next from the same site is a catch all dealing with tightening up all the parts of your home, what is too tight and why you should worry about moisture-
b) www.cchrc.org/building

Happy hunting! For the good of the Crafts ! BIG AL !
 
Nancy Kurinec
Posts: 6
Location: Rochester, New Hampshire
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Thanks a ton for the information Allen

just one question .. as a renter would i still qualify for the home energy audit? i was under the impression it was specific for home owners. I ask only because when i tried to apply for the weatherization program which is available to both renters and low income home owners, because we didnt qualify for fuel assistance, we didnt qualify for the other program either.
 
allen lumley
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Nancy Kurinic : I do have a few inquires in to friends in your area, but do expect that this will take time ! At best I will get links to- - -

I don't know any more about your circumstances, than you feel comfortable sharing, If I was your landlord, I would have lots of questions -But,
If I was told that It would cost me little or nothing, to sign up and result in a house that was easier to heat, and more comfortable to live in, and
that I actually had tenants that cared, and any improvements would make my investment in my rental property more attractive in the future, I
would be willing to at least consider this as an option !

Two quick checks you can do to help yourself, Stuffed into the envelope with your Bill is a ton of fliers telling you what you need to do to be
prepared for bad weather, a history of your use, and even a listing of what the 'average consumer uses ! There is also a section where they want
to know if you want to be on a budget plan!

Buried somewhere in all that 'stuff' should be information about energy conservation, and energy audits.

Your utility really does not want to build another power plant,shudders at the thought of the 10 -20 year lead time to get one built, and would really
like everyone to cut their usage in half -again as a Public Utility they can not be allowed to 'go bankrupt' and are 'to big to fail' !

The next thing to check on would be a quick look in the yellow pages, under Energy Conservation and Management - Consultants I had 10
listings-some of these only deal with factories and schools, but 1/2 or better are dependent on the residential customer!

Call a few up, and without offering any information that would make you uncomfortable -or cause them to say ''we don't work in your area'', ask
them if they are aware of any 'Free energy audits' or third party paid options ! Definitely get references before agreeing to a home visit, or signing
any thing !

A quick look on Google found nhsaves.com/residential/retrofit.html

I also found staywarm.org/residentualtips.htm, and NH Residential Energy Performance Association ( There appears to be a $100.Fee )
if you have had a serious heat to heart with your landlord perhaps he will understand 100 out of a rent check will save him more in the long run !

With all of the federal and state belt tightening, and shrinking budgets, this is something to be jumped on ! ! Hope this helps BIG AL !

Late Note : www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/ id a great source of low/no Cost do it yourself help, give just one of their suggestions
a try, and you will be back for more ! ( I found this in the Conservation Forum/Threads ! A. L.
 
Jeff Rychwa
Posts: 39
Location: NH
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Hi, Nancy.

I also live in NH. It is legal for renters to have a wood-stove as a primary or secondary source of heat, but the landlord has to approve it, which means having an insurance company inspect it so it can be covered in the insurance policy held by the property owner. This is something you'd probably have to reimburse, at least a portion, perhaps, in the rent.

Otherwise, if you're living in a house that gets water (mold danger), and you're venting a dryer inside (more moisture and mold danger), and the house is not well-insulated, plus it's costing an extra $650 per month for heating it in the winter, I'd suggest forgetting the audit and move. Seriously. It sounds like you'd save money in renting something safer and warmer rather than spending it on sketchy heating methods that aren't reliable. (What if we lose power, which is the rule in New England winters?)

It helps to seal drafts in order to maintain heat, but in your situation, I'd be worried about sealing in moisture and mold, at least. If you can't move presently, then an energy audit is the LEAST I would have done.
 
Jeff Rychwa
Posts: 39
Location: NH
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On the dryer point, though, I've vented mine into the house using a home-made heat exchanger.

This is in my basement with the rocket stove and a dehumidifier, though, which helps to keep things dryer; although, this exchanger doesn't put out much ambient vapor at all.

I put a two-foot section of three-inch diameter pvc on the end of the dryer's flexi-hose with duct tape. I have a steel bucket [read: trash can] with a lid. The lid has a hole in the middle through which the pvc drops in and rests on the bottom of the can in about an inch of cold water. I put three, 3/4" holes in the end of the pvc sitting in the water, about an inch from the rim. These help to allow air flow into the water, especially if the pvc sits flush against the bottom of the can. (I typically tilt the can a little by placing a piece of something under one edge.

I put a hand-towel around the gap between the pvc and the edges of the hole in the top of the lid to aid in trapping vapor.

So the majority of the dryer vapor hits the cool bucket water and condenses in the bucket, while the heat escapes from some gaps (like where the lid "seals" on top of the bucket), and radiates from the bucket, as well. The moisture is extremely low.

The thing is that you need to make sure there isn't too much back pressure to prevent the dryer from exhausting properly, or you'll end up having to run it multiple times.

My dryer has always needed to run twice to dry a load, even while venting outside in warmer weather. It still runs twice to handle a load with the exchanger on it. A better dryer might be more efficient, obviously, but the exchanger seems to have no major, detrimental impact.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3349
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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When I was a kid, my room didn't have heat or insulation or good windows--when we got the rare south wind it would snow and frost inside. I used an electric mattress pad for about a half hour before I went to bed and was nice and comfy, only leaving it on on very rare occasions. The bathroom had a good electric heater with timer so it would warm up in time for the morning shower, with the day's clothes hanging there to warm up as well.

Hats, scarves, down vests and lambskin slippers. Hot tea all the time.

Jeff has a point in moving, but only if it is an improvement. Around here, the rentals are all about the same.

I am always shocked at the people around here that will pay $500-1000+/month for heat when $500 worth of caulk, plastic, and insulation would pay for itself in less than a month. Even if I was renting, I would do that out of my own pocket to save.
 
Nancy Kurinec
Posts: 6
Location: Rochester, New Hampshire
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Allen,

Thank you for the links, i will definitely check them out.

I dont know my landlord very well as he is basically an absentee landlord with only two managers who manage all 97 of his rental properties between Seabrook, NH to Manchester, NH along with trying to do repairs themselves or allowing some tenants to work off any back rent they owe by doing repairs as well ( many of whom, haven't a clue as to what they are doing).

i didnt share too much only because i didnt know how much information you needed, i am more than willing to share anything else you need or want to know. i have worked hard all my life for everything i have, it may not be pretty, fancy or expensive like my parents and brothers things but its mine and i paid for it with my own hard earned money, my parents may not have approved of my way of life and how i live it but i was not happy with my father telling me what to do and how to do it. i have struggled a long time, always living paycheck to 5 days to the next paycheck but i am happy. i am smart and very resourceful if the need arises ( my oldest calls me a "mental ninja" what ever that means) and I like doing for myself rather than "hiring" someone to do it ( OMG i am my father!) i actually helped a friend make his small wood stove more efficient just from a picture i saw in a magazine once, by having him add a small steel drum on its side above it, with legs welded to the bottom so it sat about 4 inches above the top of his wood stove .. the stovepipe connected from the rear top of the stove to the bottom rear of the drum then had him cut a hole on the top front of the drum for a short piece of stove pipe and an elbow then add a straight piece of stovepipe that ran straight out the wall to outside with an elbow there and then more straight pipe to above the roof line and a cap to top it off. The small drum captured more of the heat that way while still allowing for the smoke to escape out the pipe. he would add some wood in the morning and bank it when he left for work an hour later and add a couple more pieces when he went to bed, he was actually able to use only 1 cord of wood for the whole winter that way instead of two .... his electric stove died on him a year later so he put one of the oven racks on top of the wood stove and showed me how he was able to make grill cheese sandwiches in a pan without flipping it over due to the heat coming from both, it actually toasted both sides of the bread at the same time.

Jeff,

Our dryer is in the kitchen because it along with our washer, which connects to the kitchen sink, are portable and the kitchen is where the dryer vent is rigged to fit into a double hung window in the room and since our stove/oven is in there as well mold hasn't been an issue, quite the opposite really as the house is very dry, static electricity all winter long even with a humidifier going, i have 2 fish tanks, 40 gal and 75 gal, in the big room at the front of the home and i have to add about 5 gallons twice a week to both as the dry air just sucks the water right out of them, even with covers on them. the only mold i have seen in our basement was on our plastic totes once which is where anything we have down there is stored in, vent holes in the handles are covered with duct tape on the inside of the tote. while the basement gets a little water, in the 4 yrs i have been here, its only happened twice and was maybe an inch or so deep but was gone within a day or so, the mold appeared only when it was very hot and humid outside but was easily cleaned off then after that we just sprayed all the totes down with Lysol and haven't seen any since. i wasn't aware it was legal for wood/pellet stoves in rental properties with a property owners approval as long as it passed inspection by the insurance company, back in 2007 i was looking at a single family home with one, the property owner was getting married and moving into her new husbands home but didnt want to sell and was renting the place for the first time, she told me she would have a professional come in and clean the pipes every august as long as i made sure to clean out the ashes but i had to keep the stove a secret because rental homes were not allowed to have wood or pellet stoves in them at all.

As much as i would love to move ( i would love to own my own home but i have no credit or money for a down payment for one), it isnt really an option at this time because of money. our landlord has no mortgage so the rent is below fair market rent value because all he has to pay is property taxes, water, sewer and trash. its a 4 bdrm apt with an optional 5th for less then 1000 per mo, i know some 2 bdrms in the area are going for 850+, with 3 and 4 bdrms running between 1100-1400 or more. we have 3 incomes coming in, 1 FT and 2 PT and he allows me to divide the monthly rent up and pay by the week which helps me be able to know exactly what we have to pull out of our paychecks to at least make rent with the rest being set aside for the rest of the monthly household bills.

there is no back pressure on the dryer hose at all as we just removed it from the dryer vent and let it hang around to the front with a stocking covering the end of it so i dont have more dust bunny's on top of all the pet hair i have to vacuum up every day, its a small apt size dryer which to me has too small of a drum to dry a full load from the apt size washer, we have to split the wash load to dry in a single cycle.

my oil company is the only one in the area that will deliver 50 gals at a time but they charge an extra 30 bucks to do it so instead of paying 175.00 for 50 gal it costs 205 for 50 gal, they dont offer a budget plan because of this like some other oil companies do which we wouldnt be able to get from another company as the home has to have at least 1 full year of history with them so they can see how much oil is used in a year and then they can set your budget amount. so far from what i learned all previous tenants have used the same company as i do.

from what i have learned talking with the neighbor next door, many many yrs ago ( she has lived in her house for 75+ yrs), this lot used to be a single family home that had burned down, the lot was cleared but sat vacant for about 5 yrs until the previous owner of this current building bought the property and built this 3 apartment house, from the outside it looks like a single family home but each floor is its own apartment, the 2nd floor is almost a mirror image of mine and the 3rd floor is a 1 bdrm with large bdrm and a large kitchen livingrm combo. To me tho, the floor plan of mine and the 2nd floor apartments were not very well thought out as the livingrm has a bdrm off of it and the kitchen does as well as a bath, with a narrow hallway and 2 more bdrms at the rear, almost like they were an after thought of "hey we have some extra space here lets put a hallway and two rooms here just to use it up" with window placement making it hard to achieve a good breeze/draft in summer even with fans going in them. A year before my landlord bought this building, the previous owner converted the laundry rms on both 1st and 2nd floors, located next to the bathrms, into small bdrms to make selling it more appealing i am guessing. there is a small yard if that's what you can call it where a garage used to be, located in back but no front yard so my front porch is where my container garden resides in the summer as its the only location that gets sun all day long, i even rigged up a watering system for the containers using drip lines.

R Scott,

We have caulked everything we could find that needed it, both inside and out either with caulk or small and large crevice filler stuff, we had some huge gaps around the heater pipes in the floor coming up from the basement to the baseboards, both sides of doorway frames where drywall was cut to fit them in (some spots had nothing between the walls for the gap stuff to grab on to so we had to stuff carpet padding in those spots) as well as large gaps on the outside between windows frames and where the vinyl siding was cut for them, we currently have .6mil plastic sheeting on all 7 of the old wooden windows since those are the only ones with drafts as well as around our porch to help cut down on the wind that blows through there, we have applied clear rubber sealant from Rustoleum to seal up any tiny cracks on window panes and 2 wooden front doors ( with the main entrance door to the building open you could see light from the other side), we have a thick heavy blanket covering up a rear fire proof door, that is slightly drafty, which we dont use but is easily accessible in case of emergency, we put a blanket wrap on our hot water heater, added pipe insulation to all our hot water pipes in the basement for both furnace and hot water heater, we have blinds and insulated curtains on all our windows as well as the plastic that you shrink on the inside of your windows with a hair dryer and we put down large sections of carpet remnants in the livgingrm and front room both of which have bare floors .. all of this was done out of my own pocket. being warm after i go to bed isnt the problem, its just making our place warm enough to be semi comfortable without jacking our electric bill skyhigh when we are home and relaxing after work ( we are still paying down last winters high electric bill).
 
allen lumley
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Nancy Kurinec : I read your thread extension with feelings of Shock and horror, the only feeling that was not raised was disbelief ! You say that the second floor apartment
is nearly identical to yours, -But you have a full basement ! So your area is actually twice as big as the upstairs (middle) apartment !

If you are responsible for the heat in your apartment always take the upstairs apartment, and always hunt for one with a ground level or nearly ground level entrance!

Because you basically provide your upstairs neighbor with heated flooring, you are paying 30% of their heating bill ! If they set the thermostat lower than you do, that
amount Climbs sharply, If your neighbor moves out tomorrow morning you should move in tomorrow evening !

I understand about the shoddy work, and the gaps you are trying to close ! I understand how frustrating it is to try and tighten up an older house or a poorly built one with
little more than window seal kits !

I am expecting that you share a common entrance hallway and stairway with your neighbors, if the front door does not close tight who gets cold? not your upstairs neighbors!
I would pay very close attention to any common area like this, Use an incense stick to hunt for air leaks, along any such common walls floor to ceiling ! Carefully check out
all base boards, if the sheetrock didn't quite reach the floor, cover it up with wide/tall base boards ! Look for large air leaks at all switches and electrical outlets, has a phone
cord been ripped off of the wall taking with it a hunk of plaster ! Where an overhead light makes an opening for itself in the ceiling you may be able to hear air movement !

Your Basement is a special case all by itself, the C.C.H.R.C. Site I sent you to has information on tightening up heat loss in basements, and sealing against water leaks also !

I am in dead ernest when I recommend that you find time in your day when you don't have any children to deal with, to go down cellar and sit there in the dark and see if you
can see any daylight at your sills -where your house sits on its foundation,You may have to block some cellar windows with black plastic to get your cellar dark enough ! If
the new house was built on top of the old cellar, it would be nearly impossible to have a tight Air leak proof seal at the sill and level floors in All of the 1st floor, does your
floors change from one height to another in one or more rooms for no obvious reason? are they Level !

After that go around your cellar walls at the sill with your incense sticks and double check for leaks, New construction now requires that only Foam ( Never fiberglass batting
that can get wet and freeze thaw repeatedly through your heating season ) be used to seal leaks at these locations!

Besides information at the C.C.H.R.C dot Org site I gave you, there are several quite good tutorials on sealing up your house at You-Tube, after you have tightened up all the
common wall areas you share with your upstairs tenants, floor to ceiling,and have tightened up your basement, That is when you start high and work low, go over every
possible break in your home/heating envelope, Plumbing, and look under all sinks, Electrical,wall switches and lights, Cable, T.V. phone, even If you don't use it, the
hole in your wall will cost you money every month anyway ! I unhooked my drier and run it exactly like you do, it wasn't until I had a squirrel in the kitchen that I discovered
that the old vent closure was broken and the nearly 8''of rags i had stuffed into the pipe was now in the house and making up the squirrels indoor nest, with quick getaway !
 
allen lumley
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Nancy Kurinnec : I have one More great resource that'll just keep on giving ! Habitat for humanity has 3 Re-Stores located in S.W. New Hampshire, try -

"www.habitat.org/restores/directory/nh" ! While none of these are in your back yard, everyone finds themselves traveling to Drs or other Necessary Trips

You will quickly make friends with this fine group of people who know a guy who knows a guy -

Everything in the stores has been donated by builds for a tax break and are priced at half of the usual price ! at big box stores, and there are
usually very knowledgeable people who some how know where everything is in their store, again, this is a great place to make connections and with Habitat for
Humanity you have a great chance to help out, teach your kids valuable lessons, learn the right way to do the job and save time and money, don't forget those
other sites, and good hunting ! For the Good of The Craft ! Big AL !
 
Karl De Pauw
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Location: Aarschot belgium
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sorry my idea was to dagerous
 
Nancy Kurinec
Posts: 6
Location: Rochester, New Hampshire
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Allen .. thank you we do have 2 Habitat stores near us which i already frequently stop in at looking for cheap lumber or what ever for some idea or another lol

yes they did sort of build this current building on the old cellar but the old cellar from what i understand was not as deep so they added about 2 - 3ft to the cellar walls using similar materials, the old cellar was build using rock/stone and cement and the new added height was added using the same as you can see the difference in color between old and new but the material looks to be the same with no air coming in at all as we used a candle to walk around the perimeter and other than from us moving the flame did not flicker. we have 4 windows in the cellar, old small wooden ones but these have all been covered up with insulation and plywood with expanding foam around the edges. the only uneven floor is the rear hallway and that is only because it is the only part of the house that isnt over the cellar but sits about 8 inches above the ground, you cant get under that at all but after using a mirror to look under it from outside, i saw it did not have any insulation at all so we put down 2 layers of carpet padding and rubber matting down on the floor, the kind you would use under a home gym and just fits together like puzzle pieces which helped with keeping the hallway warmer.

the little amount of water that got into the basement came in at the floor level where it is dirt, not the sides of the walls and just puddled in the dirt area which is most likely why it was gone in a day or so. there is a cement section, 12'WX18'L under the stairs and where the 2 furnaces are located but the water never came that far but the fuel tanks and water heaters, which sit elevated on bricks to make them even, are in the dirt section. that side of the house is where the neighbors foundation is about 2-3 ft from the side of ours and rain water pools in there when we get heavy down pours for a few hours. when we first moved here it pooled really bad when ever it rained but over the years i have been putting dirt in the spots where it pools and that has helped with keeping the amount of pooling down. the side walk in front of that gap between the 2 houses sits about 2 inches above the ground level so the water has no place to go as the section in the rear is higher then that area too.

the second floor apartment was already occupied when we looked at this place and i like having the first floor because in front of my porch is a 6 ft section behind the sidewalk that gives me more room for my container garden lol .. the front entrance door closes very well as it has an automatic door closer and its actually the 2nd floor tenant who heats the 1st and 2nd floor hallways, the only common stairs we use are the 3 steps coming up my porch and the 3rd floor has their own entrance in back if they dont want to use the main entrance. my place has 2 entrances in front, 1 door that opens into the front room which we blocked off and the door that opens into the living room which is located at the rear of the stairway and is the one we use ( we removed the old weather stripping and put on new). we used light switch and outlet sealer pads which are fire retardant foam pads behind all our light switch covers and outlet covers as well as expanding foam around any fixture that had gaps, and all the openings for the light fixtures in the ceiling are very well sealed up with insulation. we have used expanding foam around all plumbing pipes and wires that we could access that come up from the basement. the hotwater pipe for the neighbors baseboard heaters actually runs up the outside of our wall in the front room and down one of the rear bedroom closet wall which we have sealed at the top and bottom with expanding foam. basically we have sealed up every pipe, electric wire, nook and cranny we could find between the basement and 2nd floor and the outside that we could access. the only way to see if we missed anything would be to have a pressure test done which i know from past experience, the weatherization program has their contractors do.

I don't have to worry about critters coming in through my dryer vent as its about 4 ft or so above ground level and i used an adjustable piece of duct from home depot to fit it into a double hung window that we covered up with .6mil plastic sheeting for the winter. growing up we had a raccoon that used to let herself into our kitchen to raid the dog biscuits, we had a cat door for our cats on the back porch to go in and out and Harriet would come in through there, wiggle the door knob until the door popped open then run over to the cabinet with the dog biscuits and help herself LOL my dad and i got a kick out of it .. my mother not so much.
 
allen lumley
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Nancy ; for porposes of this discussion lets hope you know when your furnace was cleaned last.

I want you to follow the smoke pipe that carries exhaust from the oil burner to your chimney, is there a 'T' in the line any where along it with a 'damper'
that opens and closes freely or is there a spot inthe smoke stack where you have electrical wires running to a booster fan that is inside your smoke pipe
you should just be able to tell if its runing and boosting while the furnace is running ! ( and do you know where the oil burner reset is located ! )
 
Nancy Kurinec
Posts: 6
Location: Rochester, New Hampshire
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Hi Allen,

yes my building manager has someone who comes in and "cleans" it every September then i will have a professional come in (on the sly) to have it cleaned correctly a week or so later .. my family's business is HVAC so i know all about how important it is to have the furnace cleaned and inspected once a year along with needed repairs to keep it as efficient as possible, before the start of the heating season. unfortunately the business is in another state so having one of my brothers come out and do the cleaning is not an option lol when the pro discovers parts that need replacing or some other repair that isnt included with the cleaning/inspection, i tell my manager i looked up the issue at the library and say i think this is the issue and he has someone come in to do the repair and then i have my pro come back and check to make sure its done correctly and the proper parts were installed. i have to do it on the sly because my building manager wont give me permission to have a pro come in since he claims to have someone to do that kind of thing but i know they are not skilled or experienced at doing it correctly so i pay, for my peace of mind, the expense out of my pocket for it to be done right.

the smoke pipe has a T with a damper on it where the smoke pipe goes into the chimney which is sealed with chimney dope i am guessing is what its called

yes i know where the reset button is as well as both emergency shut off switches, each furnace has its own chimney and 2 emergency shut off switches, 1 at the furnace and 1 located at the top of the basement stairs
 
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