927 Lee Road 268, Valley, AL (706) 773-9274

How a Frozen Pipe Bursts

Steps: Pipes can freeze if the temperature drops below freezing and the pipes are exposed to that temperature for a prolonged period of time. When water freezes, it expands in volume by 9%. When this happens in a closed pipe, the ice displaces the water, which increases its pressure exponentially. If this is allowed to go on for too long, the pipe will burst. When a water pipe bursts, an immense amount of water will come pouring out and will not stop until the water is shutoff somewhere upstream. Richard recommends labeling the main water shutoff in the house and…

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Why We Need Building Sensors

My friend Jake has a great saying: “Trust but verify.” In terms of building, this means we can exercise our skills in material choices and how we assemble them to make something that we believe wholeheartedly will work. But unless we take some sort of step to actually measure and quantify performance, how will we ever be sure? How will we ever diagnose? How will we ever improve? Sure, we can wait for something to fail and forensically explore what went wrong, or we can cross our fingers and hope, but I’d rather be a bit more pragmatic. We’re at…

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Kitchen of the Week: A Clever Kitchen Built from Affordable and Recycled Materials

How to create a spacious, affordable—and memorable— kitchen in a small apartment destined to be rented out and then sold? Architects Ruth Mandl and Bobby Johnston of CO Adaptive in Brooklyn were still getting their firm off the ground back in 2014 when this commission came their way. They set out to make use of reclaimed materials—they dubbed the project The Recycled Content Apartment—and have since built an eco-minded practice around creative retrofits. We think their solution for the kitchen still looks fresh and is filled with ideas worth considering. Movie industry apple crates as overhead storage and a transformer…

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Expert Advice: How to Clean Woolen Blankets, 5 Tips

Now that it’s time to get reacquainted with our woolens, we’re wondering: how best to keep them clean and in good shape? We posed the question to Kellen Tucker, owner of Sharktooth, a Brooklyn store specializing in vintage blankets, textiles, and rugs. For the past decade, she says, she’s been conducting her own lengthy experiments in fabric care. “When clients ask how to wash wool,” she says, “my impulse is to say, ‘Please don’t.’ Wool is an incredibly resilient fiber, but it requires the gentlest handling in water and is often best left alone.” That said, to make sure her offerings…

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Handmade, Small-Batch Finds at Every Price Point to Gift This Season, via Wescover

In search of extra meaningful gifts to give this year? Instead of venturing to in-person markets or ordering from big-box stores, navigate over to Wescover, where you can connect with (and order from) “Creators” worldwide—all virtually and from home. The online marketplace has wares any appreciator of design will be thankful for: prints by independent artists, ceramics and housewares by small-batch makers, and furniture and lighting by local designers—all handmade, personal, high-quality, and sure to last. You can source “buy-now” gifts that are ready to go (good for those last-minute orders) or connect with a Creator to design something completely…

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Passive House 2021+ Now Offers a Streamlined Prescriptive Path to Certification

The latest Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) standard is now available for review, with a public comment period open through December 7, and an expected release early next year. Although I have been a Passive House rater for about 10 years, the lack of interest in my area (Atlanta, Climate Zone 3) has kept me from completing any projects. Cost has been an issue with single-family homes. In addition to the high cost of custom construction, there’s the required services of a Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) and the necessary WUFI modeling, which can put the cost of PHIUS certification out…

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