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Should I replace my Thermostat?

February 21, 2006 (1:40 am EST)
Filed under: Ask a Contractor by News Staff
PHOTO - Programmable Thermostat

Newer thermostats have programmable settings for daytime, night and weekend settings. Installing a new thermostat and correctly setting it can save you hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling costs per year, and make your home or office more comfortable.

I've heard it will save a lot of home heating fuel.

Boston, MA - a homeowner recently asked if they should replace the thermostat in their home. They had owned the house for over ten years, and wanted to know if it would do any good to change the thermostat since the heating system itself was and older system.

The short answer: Updating an older thermostat will save a lot of money.

A home heating system thermostat's job is to turn the heater on (and off). It accomplishes the job by measuring the temperature in the house, and if the house temperature is colder than the temperature set on the thermostat, it turns on the heating system. Once the temperature comes up, the thermostat turns off the heater.

New computerized home heating thermostats are much smarter than their old mercury tilt and coiled metal spring ancestors.

In the old days, a metal coil would expand or contract, and on the end of it was a mercury tilt switch. When the coil contracted enough to tilt the switch, it ...[read more]

How do I figure out stair treads and risers?

September 27, 2005 (11:59 pm EST)
Filed under: Ask a Contractor by News Staff

Can I measure in inches and use a Calculator?

Q: I am building a wooden deck and have a general idea about how to build stairs. I want to get each step and riser to be exactly the same, but my calculator does not convert decimal numbers to fractions. I want to experiment with different sizes, please help.

A: If your calculator does not convert to inches, or fractions of inches, use the chart below, and follow these easy steps.

  • Measure total rise from ground to top of landing.In this example we will use 3'6" rise. ...[read more]

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