July 1993 Edition

Heat Pump vs. Gas Furnace?

I'm planning on replacing my furnace this summer and I would like to know which type of furnace is more economical to operate a heat pump or gas furnace. 

Think of a heat pump as a two-way air conditioner. During the summer it can remove heat from the inside of the house and exhaust it outdoors and during the winter it can remove heat from the outside and distribute it inside, even if the outside temperature is lower than the air temperature inside the house. A heat pump supplements your furnace; it doesn't replace it. If the outside temperature drops below somewhere around 40°, then the heat pump is no longer efficient and the  resistance heat kicks in. 

The cost of a heat pump system will be more expensive than a gas furnace system even when you add in the cost of re-placing the air conditioning system with the gas furnace. A rough estimate of a heat pump system, installed, is around $4,500.00 and a gas furnace system with air conditioning is around $3,600.00. The operating cost of a gas furnace is also less than the heat pump. One advantage of the heat pump, however, is the rebate that is sometimes offered by the utility company for going total electric. Another is that heat pumps tend to go twice as long as central air conditioners before needing major repairs, like replacing a compressor. So factor that into your cost analysis. If gas is not available in your area, then by all means, consider a heat pump.

Basement Bathrooms?

Our basement lies below the sewer line running from the house. We'd like to add a basement bathroom, but how can we get the waste to run uphill

You will need a pump. The waste and vent piping are installed just as it would be for any bathroom in your house, but it must empty into a tank located underneath the concrete floor. A sewage ejector pump is installed inside the tank, with a float to control the water level. The pump discharges the sewage into the main waste pipe through a check valve, which prevents backflow into the tank. The unit normally requires a separate vent pipe that must extend through the roof. This will probably be the most difficult part to accomplish. Check with your plumber to see how difficult the vent will be to install. The average cost of installing a sewage ejector system is around $1,500.00.

Best Home Improvement Project?

We would like to know which home improvement projects are the best investment and will increase our home's value?             

First of all ask your Realtor. They are the experts in the field for what is in demand and what the buyers are looking for. They know exactly what items will help to sell a house and which ones will make the resale difficult.           

The January issue of Home Tips ran the 1992 Cost vs. Value Report for the Atlanta area, published by Remodeling Magazine. Here are the figures again:

Project                                   Cost Recouped

Minor Kitchen Remodeling: 136%

Master Bedroom Suite          106%

Bath Addition                        103%

Attic Bedroom                       101%

Major Kitchen Remodeling  93%

Deck Addition                       89%

Bath Remodeling                   86%

Family Room Addition         83%

Replacement Windows         82%

Sun Room Addition              66%

Replace Siding                       61%                                                   

For a reprint of the entire article, write to Remodeling Reprints, 655 15th Street, N.W., Suite 475, Washington, D.C. 20005, Attn. Kris Rechin.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

I have 20 year old cabinets that have a dark walnut stained finish. I want to paint them white. How do I paint over the clear finish that is on them now?

It is a great idea to paint kitchen cabinets. It's like getting all new cabinets for the cost of a little paint and sandpaper. It's not hard to do, but there are definitely a few tricks.

Take all of the doors off and wash the wood with a non-filming cleanser like Soilex. When dry, sand thoroughly with 120-grit sandpaper.

Prime the surface with a shellac-base, pigmented primer/sealer,  like  BIN or  First Coat Primer.  You  can  buy  either of these primers at a paint store.

Use a top-quality oil base enamel. It will be the most durable, easiest to clean, and the brush marks will level out and hopefully disappear.

Sand between coats thoroughly with 220-grit sandpaper, vacuum off the dust and wipe with a tack cloth.

Paint the doors on saw horses, so they're level. This reduces sags and drips. Paint in a clean area and avoid walking around and stirring up dust while the paint dries.

Paint the doors with a compressor-driven spray gun, if possible, keeping good ventilation and wearing a paint-mist-approved respirator. This will give you a professional finish and eliminate any brush marks. Just remember to use light coats of paint and keep adding coats until you reach the desired finish. If you don't have access to a spray rig, try using foam paint rollers and foam brushes. They give a smoother finish than ordinary paint brushes.

While you're at it, think about replacing all of the hardware. The new paint will really make the old hardware look its age.

Q & A Sources: Handyman Magazine,  Remodeling Magazine and the ASHI Training Manual .

 If you have a question, comment or home tip, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 1003 Star Court, Norcross, Georgia 30093. We reserve the right to edit for length.

News Update

Rod Harrison has just completed all of the requirements and has obtained the title of "Certified One and Two Family Dwelling Inspector" by the Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc.


It's time for the following maintenance on your home:

Clean out gutters and downspouts of summer leaves.

Open all crawl space vents.

Test all ground fault interrupters (G.F.C.I.) outlets and breakers.

Test all smoke detectors.

Check all fire extinguishers.

Change or clean furnace filters.

Check the water heater for any signs of leaks and test the pressure relief valves.

If you have a question, change of address, comment, home tip or would like to send Home Tips to your clients, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can E-Mail your questions to us at rodharrison@christianbuildinginspectors.com. We reserve the right to edit questions for length.

Joke of the Day

Question:         What was Noah's favorite country song?

Answer:           "I Love a Rainy Night."

A Tip Of The Hat To:

William Phillips

Residential Marketing Realty

**** Thank You****