Dear Jim: We have many electronic gadgets in our house, and I am concerned about a voltage surge ruining them. Are there whole-house surge suppressors that will protect everything electric in our house? – Sandi S.
Dear Jim: I do projects in my garage, which has a bedroom above it. The old metal garage door is leaky and has no insulation, so I should replace it with an efficient one. What type of garage door is best?
Dear Jim: I am considering installing exterior storm windows, but they are expensive. If they will improve energy efficiency very much, I may try to make some myself. What is a good simple window design for me?
Dear Jim: My house needs a new heating and cooling system. I thought about installing a geothermal heat pump for its efficiency and the tax credit. How efficient is one and what features should I look for?
Dear Jim: After the heat wave we have had recently, I think we need to add central air-conditioning. We have electric baseboard heating, so there are no ducts. What are the simplest central system options available?
Dear Jim: I want to build a deck off my family room sliding glass door. I want it to be as environmentally friendly and energy efficient as possible. What design and material suggestions can you give me?
Dear Jim: I like to use natural ventilation, but sometimes I need to air-condition. Since it is just my husband and I here now, we need to cool only a room or two. Would a portable air conditioner make sense for us?
Dear Jim: My old gasoline lawn mower needs service again. I thought about buying a cordless, battery-powered walk-behind mower. Will charging its battery drive up my electric bills, and do they work well?
Dear Jim: I do not like the appearance of a screen door over my front door, but I would like to get some light and natural ventilation through it. What options do I have other than to crack it open just a little?
Dear Jim: I thought about replacing my old gas water heater with a tankless one to save money. I heard there is limited hot water from a tankless one and the hot water temperature varies. What is your opinion?
Dear Jim: My kids have allergies, so I am not sure how humid the air should be inside my house during winter and summer. What is a good target humidity level, and what is the best and most efficient way to maintain it?
Dear Jim: The price of compact fluorescent bulbs has come down and I am ready to try them. Do they really save as much as it advertised? Which ones provide the best light quality and how do I dispose of old ones?
Dear Jim: I use the attic floor for storage. When I recently went up there, I noticed there is no insulation or weatherstripping on the cover to the attic. Will I save enough energy to make it worthwhile to insulate and seal it?
Dear Jim: I would feel more comfortable with better security at home, but I cannot afford a complete monitored system. I do not want the electric cost of using floodlights all night. Are there any other good options?
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