DESIGNING YOUR LOG HOME: Tips to keep you out of trouble  

Written by Mercedes Hayes

Nearly every log home is a custom design, whether you are altering a stock plan or starting from scratch. By their very nature, custom floor plans open up a large number of untested challenges - especially if you are trying to designrepparttar house yourself. With almost all log home manufacturers, an in-house architect will take your design and turn it into a set of drawings that conform to their building system. Your home will be structurally sound. However, don't necessary expect them to point out every inconvenience or snafu in your design. This is a hands-on business, and inrepparttar 100063 end, your house design is on you... and you'll have to live with it. Here are a few pointers I can suggest to make your design more efficient.  

MECHANICALS: Open floor plans arerepparttar 100064 essence ofrepparttar 100065 modern log home. They make a home feel larger, and keeprepparttar 100066 cook from feeling isolated. However, if you're planning a second floor you need to consider how you are going to getrepparttar 100067 plumbing,repparttar 100068 electric andrepparttar 100069 ductwork (both supply and return) torepparttar 100070 upstairs rooms. You won't be usingrepparttar 100071 exterior walls for that, so you need to create enough interior walls onrepparttar 100072 main floor to fit allrepparttar 100073 mechanicals. Even if you use radiant-floor heating, you'll need ductwork forrepparttar 100074 air conditioning. There are some systems that use high-pressure ductwork much smaller in diameter than conventional ducts, so there are other possibilities if you are pressed for space. Butrepparttar 100075 best solution is to think ahead. Each object in all likelihood will take its own space betweenrepparttar 100076 2x4s. If you're tempted to use an interior full-log wall (or none at all), you may be sacrificing an opportunity to get more ductwork upstairs.  

PLUMBING: The wisest floor plans arerepparttar 100077 ones that try to keeprepparttar 100078 bathrooms together (either back-to-back or one directly aboverepparttar 100079 other) andrepparttar 100080 shortest runs onrepparttar 100081 plumbing. This can't always be done, but when placingrepparttar 100082 upstairs bathroom, try to line it up with an interior downstairs wall. This wayrepparttar 100083 plumbing doesn't have to snake all overrepparttar 100084 place.

CLOSETS:  I would venture to guess that log homes are usually notoriously short on closet space. I know my home is. First of all, it would be a terrible waste to put a closet against an exterior log wall. Why hide your beautiful logs? And because we try to keeprepparttar 100085 square footage down to a minimum, it almost seems a crime to waste precious space on closets. However, there's more than one reason to include them. Not only do we seem to collect more stuff as we get older, but by law in several statesrepparttar 100086 closet determines whether a room is a bedroom or an office. This could affectrepparttar 100087 resale (or refinancing) of your house. Here is a suggestion: put two closets side-by-side onrepparttar 100088 wall separating two rooms;repparttar 100089 closets may not be huge, but it doesn't changerepparttar 100090 shape ofrepparttar 100091 rooms. Try to include a coat closet near your front door. 

WINDOWS: As I'm sure you've already read many times, you can't have too many windows in a log home. The wood sucks uprepparttar 100092 light like a sponge. If you have a large empty wall,repparttar 100093 insertion of a window nearrepparttar 100094 peak not only lets in more light, it adds character. Some people add windows along either side of a shed dormer. Placement can be critical; in my case, I had to moverepparttar 100095 roof line to increaserepparttar 100096 size of my bedroom window, because by code it needed to be 6' square for egress (In any upstairs bedroom you'll need your windows to be large enough to climb out in case of fire.). Also remember that too many direct-set windows will decreaserepparttar 100097 amount of air flow to your upstairs. In my house I added an awning (a small hinged window) torepparttar 100098 bottom of stationery windows in my dormers. This helped let air in, but even sorepparttar 100099 rooms can be stuffy. A ceiling fan helps, but ultimately I may need to add a skylight to create a draft.

KITCHEN VENT: One ofrepparttar 100100 more difficult decisions we made concerned how to ventrepparttar 100101 range hood. If you don't want your stove to be on an exterior wall, you are going to have an interesting puzzle. Will you runrepparttar 100102 exhaust duct betweenrepparttar 100103 floor joists torepparttar 100104 exterior? Willrepparttar 100105 run be so long you'll have to add another fan? I gave in and moved my stove torepparttar 100106 exterior wall, but then we had to cut a hole inrepparttar 100107 logs forrepparttar 100108 vent. Horrors! How do you hide that? My builder built a little cedar box aroundrepparttar 100109 hole and we were lucky enough to have a porch roof underneath, so you can't see it from every direction. Still, this ugly vent is onrepparttar 100110 front ofrepparttar 100111 house, and had I thought of it, I may have movedrepparttar 100112 kitchen torepparttar 100113 back ofrepparttar 100114 house.

CRAWL SPACE vs. BASEMENT: There are many reasons to opt for a crawl space rather than a basement - none of them particularly comfortable. Aside fromrepparttar 100115 obvious disadvantages of a crawl space, there are a few things we didn't think of. I, in my blissful ignorance, didn't give any thought torepparttar 100116 ugly electrical panel. Of course, I knew we'd have meters and a panel, but I didn't think of where they were going. What I didn't know was that by code, we couldn't putrepparttar 100117 panel inrepparttar 100118 crawl space. Since we don't have a garage,repparttar 100119 electrical panel was installed in one of our rooms onrepparttar 100120 log wall. Isn't that lovely? Another disadvantage ofrepparttar 100121 crawl space: you'll need a short water heater if that's where it is going, and you may need to purchase a horizontal-mount furnace. Because our water quality was poor, we had to install a purification system. This 54" unit must be mounted upright, and our crawl space is 48" tall. We had to punch a hole throughrepparttar 100122 concrete floor to make room forrepparttar 100123 unit.

Secrets to Make your Dishwasher Clean Perfectly

Written by Donald Grummett

December 20,2004

As a service company we are constantly asked, “Why doesn’t my dishwasher clean better”. To this query we offerrepparttar following insights and suggestions.

Whenever we diagnose a “poor cleaning” complaintrepparttar 100062 main things we want to know are:

1 Isrepparttar 100063 water hot enough? 2 Using a proper detergent? 3 Using a rinse additive? 4 Using proper loading practices? 1 Water temperature

Most manufacturers suggest a minimum 120 Fahrenheit forrepparttar 100064 dishwasher to beginrepparttar 100065 cleaning process, 140 to remove food soiling, and 155 to sanitize and remove bacteria. In restaurants they boostrepparttar 100066 dishwasher temperature to 180 Fahrenheit to satisfy health requirements. Consumers misunderstanding these requirements have led to problems forrepparttar 100067 household dishwasher.

In a dishwasherrepparttar 100068 temperature ofrepparttar 100069 wash water is paramount. Unfortunately, It is now common to find household water temperatures of only 100 Fahrenheit, or less.

Many people have lowered their household water temperature in an effort to be conscientious consumers. Yes, it lowers electrical consumption. Unfortunately it has other consequences.

Manufacturers say it does not provide enough heat to clean dishes properly and can leave them covered in bacteria and food residue. Supporters of lower water temperatures claim it is both environmentally friendly and necessary to protect children from any possibility of scalding at bath time.

One ofrepparttar 100070 latest ideas is a mixing valve added to hot water tanks. It is preset and will not allow temperatures in excess of 115 Fahrenheit. It does this by mixing cold water withrepparttar 100071 hot to maintain this preset maximum.

This debate over hot water tank temperatures has resulted in a catch 22 type scenario. Lowerrepparttar 100072 temperature to lower consumption and be more child safe, but end up leaving bacteria onrepparttar 100073 plates we use to eat.

Low water temperature can also affectrepparttar 100074 cycle length. If too lowrepparttar 100075 dishwasher may keep stopping to try and heatrepparttar 100076 water. A normal cycle of 40 minutes could be extended to 2 or 3 hours with allrepparttar 100077 heating delays. Some dishwashers may stall completely.

2 Using proper detergent

Gel or crystal,repparttar 100078 choice is yours. Both seem to work equally well.

Crystal is less messy, while gel will dissolve quicker withrepparttar 100079 water. If your water temperature is low (as described above) gel may be a choice because it will mix better.

If using crystal detergent be aware that it can pick up moisture fromrepparttar 100080 air. When this happens it will swell up and become lumpy or harden. These lumps will be difficult to break down and will not fully dissolve. If at cycle’s end you see detergent left inside it may be evidence of hardened crystals.

Additional evidence of moisture buildup can be seen ifrepparttar 100081 box itself appears to be swollen. If seen, replace immediately with a fresh box.

A box of detergent should be consumed within 2-3 months. If not throw it away and buy a new one. Matchrepparttar 100082 box size to your needs. Do not buy a large box just because it is on sale. If you have to throw most of it away, it wasn’t much of a bargain.

Some detergent manufacturers now offer a product that combinesrepparttar 100083 detergent withrepparttar 100084 rinse additive. Others offer a detergent that includes a special grease-dissolving agent. Still others are in a tab form, or inside a dissolvable plastic pouch. Whichever form you preferrepparttar 100085 one thing we always stress is, “when you find one that works for you stick with it … even if it costs more than others”.

Also dishwashing detergent and dishwasher detergent are not interchangeable. Trying to do so will cause problems. Each type of detergent is formulated to do a specific job.

“Dishwashing detergent” isrepparttar 100086 one used to wash dishes inrepparttar 100087 sink is. It is definitely not meant forrepparttar 100088 dishwasher. Anyone who has ever mistakenly put it intorepparttar 100089 dishwasher can attest torepparttar 100090 mess this will produce. The beating action ofrepparttar 100091 water will produce massive amounts of suds. This results inrepparttar 100092 dishwasher flooding outrepparttar 100093 door and acrossrepparttar 100094 kitchen floor.

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