Dear Jim: I should replace my old heating/cooling system with a more efficient one. With gas prices going up, shortages of propane, etc., is installing a geothermal heat pump wise and what types are best?
Q: My front door is wood with a window and the back door is metal. They are the original ones, and neither is very efficient nor airtight. I cannot afford new doors. How can I improve their efficiency myself?
Dear Jim: We had many trees taken down due to ash borers, so I plan to use my fireplace more this fall and winter. I have never had much luck building fires without smoking up the room. Do you have any tips?
Dear Jim: We have central air conditioning, but have a problem keeping all the rooms evenly cool. Someone is always too hot or too cool. What are some simple methods to balance the temperatures throughout the house?
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?
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