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How to Insulate Around Recessed LED Fixtures

Question: The recessed lights in my house are accessible from the attic, but there’s no insulation around them because it says on the fixtures that they need to vent the heat generated by incandescent bulbs. If I replace those bulbs with LEDs, will that reduce the heat enough so I can insulate around the existing lighting cans?—T. J. Guinta, Patchogue, NY Answer: While LEDs run much cooler than incandescents, their electronic components and external heat sinks do get quite hot; you would still need to keep the insulation away from your fixtures. And that leaves you with some serious problems.…

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Clean-Lined Comfort: Design-Led Pieces from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

When we’re considering whether or not to bring something into our respective houses (and apartments), we ask three questions. Does it serve a purpose? Is it well-made? And is it design-worthy? (Our ethos, after all, is after William Morris: everything must be both beautiful and useful.) As for the furniture from North Carolina-based Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, it’s yes to all of the above. Since their founding in 1989, the US-based company has not only made it their mission to create and source pieces of superior craftsmanship, but also to take a design-led approach to every sofa, table, and…

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Domestic Science: Our Editors’ 27 Best Cleaning Tips and Hacks

Our editors, on the whole, tend toward the OCD side of the cleanliness spectrum. We like our spaces and our things to be neat, fresh, and sparkling. And, for the most part, we prefer cleaning with natural products and/or ingredients we already have on hand. Between the germaphobes and the neatniks on our staff, we have myriad housekeeping secrets and hacks to share—all tried and tested by us. Here, our team’s best scrubbing, cleaning, washing, stain-removing, disinfecting, deodorizing secrets. Featured photograph by Matthew Williams, styling by Alexa Hotz, for Remodelista: The Organized Home. Kitchen Above: Michelle’s marble backsplash is back…

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Coronavirus, Building Science, and Cancer

Well, there’s nothing like a little pandemic to completely upend our daily lives as well as our short and long-term outlooks for the future. I’ve spent far too much time reading about, listening to, and watching news about the novel coronavirus lately and I guess you may have done likewise. Here’s an update of what’s happening at Energy Vanguard as well as some good resources I’ve found. What Energy Vanguard is doing We’re still operating at full capacity but we made the decision for all of us to work from home starting Friday, 13 March. Although one EVer was sick…

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Removing Silicone Caulk

Question: The silicone caulking between the cultured-marble pan and the ceramic tile wall in my shower stall has to be replaced. Is there a special tool for this purpose?
–Gene Ackert, Ramona, CA Answer: I’m sure there is, although I’ve never had to use one. I’ve had pretty good luck with a utility knife and a glass scraper with a razor blade. First, slice through each side of the bead with the knife, and pull out what you can by hand. Then, hold the scraper at a shallow angle to avoid scratching the surface, and remove any remaining caulk. Next, scrub…

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Pandemic Packs a Wallop for Construction

The coronavirus pandemic is slowing the construction trades to a crawl. At least one major U.S. cities to order construction sites to be closed as builders in firms of all sizes weigh the risks of continuing to stay on the job. Some are still showing up to work, with altered workplace rules, but many are not. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh last week halted construction projects across the city for two weeks as the coronavirus continued to spread. Only emergency projects, such as roadwork and gas hookups, could continue, Construction Dive reported. Trade unions applauded the decision. Associated General Contractors of…

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