Ask This Old House

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Season 7 Show Descriptions

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Episode #726, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner repair a leaking PVC drain trap underneath his kitchen sink...… more
Episode #725, Season 7 of ATOH
Host Kevin O'Connor and an electrician help a homeowner install a new ventilation fan in her bathroom...… more
Episode #724, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner install a new garage door...… more
Episode #723, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner prepare his concrete basement walls for finished wallboard...… more
Episode #722, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps install a new type of "zoning" control for her forced-air heating and cooling system… more
Episode #721, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner install a new "dual flush" water-saving toilet… more
Episode #720, Season 7 of ATOH
Our annual "kids" episode features family-friendly projects that parents and kids can build together!… more
Episode #719, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner quiet his banging pipes by installing a water hammer shock suppressor...… more
Episode #718, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscape contractor Roger Cook shows a homeowner how to prune her neglected crabapple tree properly.… more
Episode #717, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner clean, stain and seal his mahogany backyard deck… more
Episode #716, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner convert a claw foot bathtub into a shower… more
Episode #715, Season 7 of ATOH
This special episode is dedicated to making the most out of your existing kitchen cabinets.… more
Episode #714, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner in Charleston, South Carolina fix a sagging wooden gate...… more
Episode #713, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing & heating expert Richard Trethewey and host Kevin O'Connor replace an old tank-type water heater with a new, energy-efficient "tankless" unit...… more
Episode #712, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a pair of homeowners break apart and remove a large boulder...… more
Episode #711, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner repair a very dangerous deck...… more
Episode #710, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing & heating expert Richard Trethewey heads to Indianapolis...… more
Episode #709, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a pair of homeowners build a retaining wall using pressure-treated timbers...… more
Episode #708, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner prepare a shower enclosure for tile using a new type of waterproofing system...… more
Episode #707, Season 7 of ATOH
ask this old house episode number seven-hundred and seven from season seven

Original Air Date: Week of 11/13/2008

This episode has many tips for making your home more energy efficient. First, general contractor Tom Silva shows several different ways to seal the openings around doors, windows, and other penetrations in the shell of a house. Next, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner reduce his heating costs by installing a weather-responsive control on his boiler. Then, landscape contractor Roger Cook shares some tips on reducing energy costs. Finally, Tom helps a homeowner keep things cool with a whole house fan.

Weather-stripping doors & windows

Up in the loft, Tom shows Kevin a few easy ways to save on energy bills by weather-stripping doors and windows. First, Tom shows a "sweep" that can be installed on the bottom of an exterior door to seal out drafts. He also shows a type of weather-stripping that attaches to the door jamb and compresses around the perimeter of the door. For windows, Tom suggests locking them in the winter. He also recommends weather-stripping for both the top and bottom sash in double-hung windows. For gaps on older windows, he suggests foam "backer rod" or "removable caulk." For electrical outlets on exterior walls, Tom suggests foam gaskets that mount behind the face plates.

Where to find it?

Weather-stripping of all kinds can be found at most hardware stores and home centers.
Many other energy saving tips can be found at: www.energy.gov/energytips

Making a hot-water heating system more efficient

Richard helps a homeowner make his hydronic heating system more energy efficient by installing a "weather responsive control system," sometimes called an "outdoor reset control." The control is mounted outside and adjusts the temperature of the water in the boiler depending on the temperature of the outside air. On warmer days, cooler water is used to heat the house, thereby reducing the amount of energy used.

Where to find it?

Richard installed a Tekmar Universal Reset control. It is manufactured by Tekmar.

More energy efficiency tips

Up in the loft, Roger offers some of his tips for making a home more energy efficient, including the use of deciduous trees to shade a house in the summer and allow sunlight to warm the house in the winter. He also recommends pergolas and awnings to provide shade in the summer, and closing shades on windows to reduce air-conditioning costs. Roger also suggests mounting window air-conditioners on the shadiest part of the house to help them run more efficiently and planting trees or shrubs to shade outdoor air-conditioning units. To reduce heating costs in the winter, Roger recommends installing a tight-fitting damper on a fireplace chimney to prevent hot air from escaping up the chimney when it's not being used.

The chimney damper that Roger showed was supplied by:
Black Magic Chimney & Fireplace
21 New St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 876-4456
Black Magic Chimney & Fireplace

Many other energy saving tips can be found at: www.energy.gov/energytips

Installing a whole-house fan

Tom helped a homeowner reduce his air-conditioning costs by installing a whole-house fan. Mounted in the floor of the attic, the fan pushes hot air out of the attic and draws cooler air into the house through downstairs windows.

Where to find it?

Tom installed a whole-house fan (model number HV1600-GDR) manufactured by:
Tamarack Technologies, Inc.
320 Main Street
Buzzards Bay, MA 02532 USA
800-222-5932
Tamarack Technologies

Making a heating & cooling system more energy efficient

Up in the loft, Richard shows Kevin some more tips for making a heating a cooling system more efficient. First, Richard recommends installing a programmable thermostat. Next, for forced-air HVAC systems, he suggests sealing all seams in ducts to prevent hot or cold air from leaking out. For heating and hot water pipes, Richard recommends insulating them with foam insulation. For hot water tanks, he shows a fiberglass insulating "blanket" that can help save on energy costs.

Where to find it?

Programmable thermostats, pipe insulation, duct sealant, and fiberglass water heater blankets can all be found at your local hardware store or home center.

Many other energy saving tips can be found at: www.energy.gov/energytips
Episode #706, Season 7 of ATOH
Up in the loft, general contractor Tom Silva shows host Kevin O’Connor how to repair damaged laminate countertops...… more
Episode #705, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner transplant a giant Rhododendron bush...… more
Episode #704, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps two homeowners repair the damage done to their lawn...… more
Episode #703, Season 7 of ATOH
Host Kevin O'Connor travels to Nashville, where he helps a pair of homeowners brighten up their kitchen. Then...… more
Episode #702, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook shows a pair of homeowners how to transplant a large, mature tree to their front yard. Then Roger, along with...… more
Episode #701, Season 7 of ATOH
ATOH kicks off with Tom Silva preventing a garage roof from collapsing by replacing a rotting support post, Then Tom, along with...… more