Donating Blood Can Be A Life-Saving Act

My father recently forwarded me John R. Hall's article "Giving Blood Is Good Business, Too" [Feb. 2]. Even though I'm in Pennsylvania, I can't thank you enough for your support. If you ever need any information or assistance, don't hesitate to reach me at any time.

Listed are some facts for our area that you may find interesting or helpful:

1. Every three seconds someone in the United States needs blood.

2. By the time someone is age 72, there is a 90-percent chance that they will use donated blood.

3. One pint of blood can save as many as four lives.

Thank you for being an advocate of saving lives. The article has probably already contributed to more patients' lives than you know.

Jay Wimer
Director of Donor Resources
Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank
Hummelstown, Pa.

Finding The Source Of The Moisture

I would like to comment on the May 3 Hotline question titled "Moisture In Homes." The homeowner complains of a problem of moisture in her attic ductwork. The condition is so severe that water drips from the return and outlets.

I believe the high humidity is not the problem that needs to be addressed, but a symptom resulting from the real problem. Whether it be heat, humidity, or air contamination of some sort, it is most effectively treated at the source. As an example, consider the jobs handled by the following: commercial kitchen hood, dust collector, welding or auto exhaust system as used in an auto repair shop in winter. All are used at the source of contamination.

To get to the bottom of this issue, we need to first investigate the house construction. Mrs. Snyder said the system in question is six years old. Is the house also new and super tight, or is it a charming, 100-year-old Pennsylvania farmhouse with a dirt floor basement and no vapor barriers in sight? (I once air conditioned an old house with a brook flowing through the basement.)

Is the problem evident when it's 20 degrees F and dry outside or just between seasons?

Here is a good place to mention that there may not be just one cause of this humidity problem. It may be the cumulative effect of several things. Correcting several issues is the same as fixing one big one.

I would next look at the water system for a source of moisture. Homeowners sometimes overlook things as "normal," when they are anything but, so the contractor needs to investigate. How about leaks from the washer drain, boiler, or hot-water pressure relief? Is this house heated by steam with radiators popping off all winter long?

Next we look at lifestyle. Any home business being run here? Big, warm fish tank? Is the kitchen hood vented to the outside? Are bathroom fans adequately sized and located above or near the shower? (Hopefully they are not vented into the attic.) It may help to wire the fan with the light switch to eliminate human error.

Then, if all else fails, we can install an ERV [energy recovery ventilation] system, locate the exhausts where we think our moisture source is, and size the unit at the upper end of the manufacturer's recommended size.

By the way, when one has been in the business over 30 years, as I have, it is little projects such as this that make life interesting.

Frank Bartol
Sales Engineer
Rocky Hill, CT

Knowledge Is The Greatest Tool Of All

[Editor's note: This letter is in response to Mark Skaer's April 5 column, "Contractor Stresses Techs Need All The Right Tools."]

In first reading the article, I found it to be fairly direct, and poised in the aim of it. But, after reading the entire article, and digesting it, I felt there was one small flaw.

Let me go back to my background. For 20-some-odd years, I lived and breathed the electronics field, everything from consumer electronics (Yes, you can make your VCR clock stop flashing!) to production and manufacturing, spanning the mid-70s through the 90s. Mixed in these years, I had the privilege to establish my own business for a while.

As I had found through experience, the right tools do help a lot with any service job. But, let us not forget that there has to be an acceptable degree of knowledge to be able to use the tools, as well as accomplish the repair, also. If that made little sense, let me describe it this way: All the tools won't fix it if you don't know how to use them properly. As well, proper use of all the fancy tools won't fix the equipment if you don't have a working knowledge of what you are working with.

I guess the bottom line is, good background of the equipment, materials, as well as the tools used, will get you through most any task, with a smile.

Joe Huber
TempControl HVAC/R
Damariscotta, Maine

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Publication date: 05/31/2004