Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Here's Help in Figuring out Which Products are Healthy

Many items that we install in our houses can make us sick, from carpeting to paint to our new furniture (and, yes, our new cars). That new car is "off-gassing," which means that some of the chemicals used in the manufacture of the plastics and fabrics are escaping into the air we breathe. If you are interested in checking out  products before you buy them and in evaluating the air quality in your home, take a look at Greenguard's website.

Ice Dams - What to do before it snows

There are several measure that can be taking to prevent ice damming on your roof in times of tremendous ice and snow. Yes, we had a non-winter, but that could be completely different next year.

If you are putting on a new roof, have the installer add a barrier over the felt (and under the shingles, before they are installed) at the edges of the roof near the gutters. The barrier material is about 3 feet wide and comes on a roll. It will prevent any water that is forced under the shingles from leaking into the walls and attic.

For an existing roof, you can buy heater coils of several different types that will prevent ice from forming. One type is placed in the bottom of the gutter and can be plugged into an outlet on the exterior of the house. Another type is more of a serpentine electric coil that lays on the shingles just above the gutter. In this instance, you would want to put the coil on the roof if there is a forecast of an extended snow or blizzard approaching. The most elegant installation would be an electric coil in the gutter plugged into a dedicated exterior outlet near the roofline that is controlled by a switch from inside the house. If the water flows freely through the gutter and drains to the ground without the downspouts and gutters filling with ice, ice damming will not occur. See my post in 2009 regarding the creation of ice dams and how they form.

Planning Begins on White Flint 2 Sector Plan

The planning department has approved a scope of work to begin planning for the business district north of the White Flint Sector Plan approved in 2010 and south of the Twinbrook Sector Plan. This area straddles the boundary between Montgomery County and the City of Rockville, so there will be some lively discussions about the connectivity of Rockville Pike, its design as a "boulevard," and the placement and coordination of potential bus rapid transit (BRT), currently proposed for the center of the boulevard-style median in the White Flint Sector Plan. Information and maps are available at the page for this sector plan, http://montgomeryplanning.org/community/whiteflint2/

It has been noted in The Gazette (May 2, 2012) that the plan will require a new elementary school in the Walter Johnson High School district.

If you want to be on the contact list for the planning department with regard to this sector plan, send an email to