Small solution to a big problem?

July 1, 2000
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We’ve all heard the complaints: The builder doesn’t want to pay the high utility bills while a house is under construction. The drywall company wants the house to be 90°F so the drywall mud dries quickly.

And the hvac contractor doesn’t want to install a permanent thermostat until the home is almost completely finished.

Fortunately, these problems are easily corrected with a little education and inexpensive products.

Builder education

First, the builder and drywaller need to understand some simple thermal principles.

Just because the house (or building) indoor air temperature is 90° doesn’t mean the drywall mud will dry quickly.

Think about what happens while using a clothes dryer. Even though it is extremely hot inside the dryer, the clothes can remain wet.

Why? Because the lint trap is clogged and the moisture cannot escape. The high temperature itself does not dry the clothes; it is also the removal of humidity.

Of course, this is also true for a homes’ drywall mud.

More air, lower temps

So what should the drywaller do?

Quite simply, they should open a few windows to allow the moisture to escape.

Furthermore, the house does not need to be 90°. A temperature between 60° and 70° should be plenty warm. (An additional benefit to the lower temperature is that the rest of the contractors can continue to work and be comfortable.)

Also, the builder doesn’t want anyone entering the house to be able to “play” with the thermostat. In most cases, the builder pays the utility costs during construction. All too often, someone will turn up the thermostat and then forget to turn it down when they leave.

Finally, the hvac contractor doesn’t want to spend $15 to $20 for a temporary thermostat that may be lost, stolen, or broken during construction. S/he also wants to avoid mercury thermostats because of the requirement to be mounted level, in addition to environmental-recycling concerns.

A bimetal, non-adjustable thermostat (like the Temp-Stat™) can be a solution to all these problems.

Finally, contractors need to heed the furnace manufacturer’s recommendations for using the furnace as a temporary heat source.

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