Lightning Protection for TV Antennas

Thinking about turning off the cable or satellite service to save money? You aren’t alone. Times are tough and a lot of us need to trim our expenses.  You’ll probably be surprised at the amount and quality of programming that you can get over an antenna that you can install for the price of a couple of months of premium cable, especially now that on air broadcasts are going high definition. However, if you use an exterior mounted television or radio antenna you must take some simple steps to protect your TV and home from being damaged by lightning.
I do not claim to be an expert in this field, however I have gone to the trouble to find articles on the Internet by several people who are, and I have taken their advice with very good results. At the bottom of this page you will find links to several “expert” sites on this subject.

Protection for a TV antenna which is located on a roof should be at three points:

1) Ground Connections at the Antenna The antenna, mast and lead in wires (as well as control wires for the rotator or similar equipment) should have a ground routed via the shortest possible path, without sharp bends or kinks to a ground rod which is connected to the main earth ground for the home electrical system.

2) At The Entrance to the House The antenna coax should enter the house as near as possible to where the telephone or cable TV wires enter (usually very near the electrical service entrance). This is called a single point of entry. All data and control wires should be grounded at this point with the shortest most direct conductor possible to the system ground rods.

3) At The Television A high quality surge protection device that protects both the power supply and the antenna wires should be used at all televisions connected to the antenna.

How to Choose Energy Efficient Windows

A typical NFRC window label gives you the information that you need about window performance.
A typical NFRC window label gives you the information that you need about window performance.

Picture of a typical NFRC window label – Snagged from the NFRC website.

Almost everything you need to know about windows can be found on the NFRC label that comes on the window, and your window dealer should be able to furnish you with this information before you place your window order.
What you will find on the NFRC label Continue reading “How to Choose Energy Efficient Windows”

Home Improvement Projects to Save Energy and Lower Your Energy Bills

The right home improvements can save you money beginning almost immediately and increase the resale value of your home, while also making your home a more comfortable place to live. In the future many home buyers are going to be much more concerned with energy efficiency and total cost of ownership.

Tighten you HVAC Duct Work – Leaky ducts that run through unconditioned attics or crawl spaces can waste huge amounts of energy. Continue reading “Home Improvement Projects to Save Energy and Lower Your Energy Bills”

Free Electric Load Calculator

Free NEC Standard Method Single Family Residential – Electric Service Entrance Load Calculator


What is this?

Enter plain numbers in cells without text or labels. If you leave any cells empty they will be calculated as zero.

Total Square feet of dwelling

Total # of Small Appliance Branch circuits (must be at least 2). If you have gas appliances which require a 120v branch circuit include them here. Continue reading “Free Electric Load Calculator”

Building a Tight Thermal Envelope

Simple things like caulking around pipes will make your home more comfortable and save a lot of money and energy.
Simple things like caulking around pipes will make your home more comfortable and save a lot of money and energy.

The Airtight Drywall Approach to a Tight Thermal Envelope

The building envelope is the part of the house which separates the indoors from the outdoors, and consists of the floor on the bottom level, the ceiling on the top level, the exterior walls, the exterior floor bands, and of course the doors and windows. The standard house envelope leaks air like a sieve and accounts for something like 30 percent of climate control costs due to air infiltration alone. Fortunately during construction it is cheap and easy to make the thermal envelope much tighter and to make a considerable improvement in the energy efficiency of the finished home. According to the Federal Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website “Such airtight homes often consume one-third less energy when compared to similar unsealed homes.”

During the Framing Process

  • Seal under the exterior walls – I recommend that you use construction adhesive to glue your exterior walls down Continue reading “Building a Tight Thermal Envelope”
  • How to Thaw Frozen Plumbing Pipes

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  • Locate the main water cut off for the house and procure any tools that you may need to quickly turn the water off, in case you have leaks when it thaws out. But unless you suspect that you have burst pipes, don’t turn off the water yet. If possible draft an assistant for the extremely dull job of being handy to quickly turn off the water in case you get it to flow, and leaks are detected.
  • Minimize Distracting Noise – You will usually be able to hear water flowing through the pipes once it starts, and turning the radio or TV off could help you to prevent a big mess in case you have a burst pipe.
  • Open up all of the indoor faucets (sinks, bathtubs, etc) for two reasons: 1) if you can achieve just a little bit of flow through the pipes, then often the flowing water will quickly thaw out the ice remaining in the pipes. 2) To relieve pressure when flow is restored so that any leaks will flow at a slower rate to give you more time to turn off the main water valve, and thereby minimize water damage.
  • Crank up the heat. Try to get heat to the areas that are most likely to be frozen. Obviously the most likely places for the pipes to be frozen are where it is coldest – crawl spaces, unheated basements, water meter boxes, garages, etc. Be careful with space heaters and extension cords, you don’t want to burn down the house. Don’t crank up the heat and then run off to town. Keep an eye on everything just in case the water starts to flow. Continue reading “How to Thaw Frozen Plumbing Pipes”