Pellet Boiler is a real option?

An exciting home heating option that has been growing market share is the pellet boiler. It is
projected that the pellet boiler will grow at 8.2% CAGR (Compound annual growth rate)
in the next decade according to Global market insights.

What is a pellet boiler? Mechanically, it’s virtually identical to your oil or gas boiler
other than the fuel source. The fuel-space storage is larger for a pellet boiler, which may
make this option unrealistic for some homeowners. Overall, a hopper is required, and a
fuel bin is needed to store pellets. The pellet stove does require a monthly emptying of an
ash bin; otherwise, there is little difference.

Why would I want a pellet boiler? This answer will have different importance to the
individual reader, but wood pellets have been historically more cost-effective than carbon-
based fuels. Secondly, pellets are classified as a biomass fuel, which are more
environmentally friendly, and a pellet boiler is a long-term, sustainable heating method
because wood pellets are a renewable, natural, and ultra-low carbon fuel.

What are the problems associated with pellet boilers? My understanding is that the
pellets used need to be the brand that the manufacturer specifies.
Also, humidity plays into the equation on burning the maximum BTUs received from your
pellets. So, to clarify, climate control plays into the storage of the pellets, which could
make this option a headache for some homeowners.

The challenge for the homeowner that wants to install a pellet boiler is finding a
heating contractor with a high degree of knowledge, actual work experience, and who is
focused on the details of the system and the details of your home. I believe that this
roadmap will net greater success for any homeowner that wants to pursue this relatively
new technology.

Please consider American Building & Design for your next remodeling project. Contact us today!

Roof Trusses – A carpenter’s & designer’s perspective

Roof truss systems very from home to home. Through the years of being in business I have had the opportunity to frame a lot of homes and additions. One of the more complex aspects of the framing project can be the roof system, because the roof system is the culmination of how accurate the previous
framing steps were executed.

This blog has some general highlights for the pros and cons of a truss roof system
over a traditionally framed system. Honestly, I prefer stick framing roofs over trussed
roofs, but truss roof systems are a good option for some projects.

The Pros of this system can offer a carpenter/homeowner & designer:

  1. Identically sized trusses which eliminate the variable of the roof system
    from variation and are constructed in a quality-controlled factory.
  2. If a skilled and capable crew installs a truss roof system; this project can
    be installed accurately, quickly, and safely.
  3. The spans of the roof truss can be vast without any bearing walls, which
    can make a this option more attractive to a customer & designers.
  4. A truss roof system can always be reinforced, which is attractive in high
    wind regions.
  5. Other trades such as HVAC, Electrical. & plumbing love unoccupied attics
    and webbed trusses for their duties.
  6. In terms of energy code, there can be less thermal bridging if insulated on
    the rake, and I would argue a better insulation project could be
    accomplished over stick framing.

The Cons of this system can include:

  1. If the building has any significant issues such as not being level, out of
    plumb, and the building is out-of-square; Trusses can telegraph these
    mistakes and it can be challenging to hide.
  2. If you don’t have a competent crew installing roof trusses this endeavor
    can become extremely dangerous for the installation and the trusses could
    lack the correct permanent bracing.
  3. Trusses cannot be altered from the factory, which includes tails. Therefore,
    the roof truss cannot have any field alterations without an engineer’s letter.
  4. The order time for trusses can be long and delay the start date of a project.
  5. Buildings that contain trusses are susceptible to collapse from fire
    exposure in a very short period of time.
  6. You can receive a damaged truss, which can delay your project.
  7. Most roof trusses are installed with 2’ O/C which doesn’t stack with 16
    O/C wall studs. However, every 4’ the stud and truss will align.

Check out this article for signs of roof failures

Reach out to us today for your remodeling needs!

Laundry Chutes

An old fashion common architectural detail that has fallen to the wayside is the
laundry chute. Not all households would see this architectural detail as useful, but some
households would certainly use this building feature if one existed.

Why have laundry chutes disappeared from new house construction? The most
common answer is the fire code. Laundry chutes are an avenue for flames to travel rapidly
from floor to floor. Most municipalities have outlawed the construction of these receptacles.
In my opinion stairwells are more guilty for spreading fires and their flames from floor to
floor. Why haven’t staircases been subjected to fire doors and chambers to eliminate
flames from traveling from floor to floor?

The other life safety code concerns that most people would possibly have concerns
about a person or child deciding to take a ride down the laundry chute and getting
seriously injured. Maybe a laundry chute door should be required so many inches from the
floor with a safety locked door?

Is there a way to construct a laundry chute and follow the fire code and protect
people from accidentally or purposely riding down? The answer is yes in
my opinion but check with your building inspector before installing one in
your home or anyone else’s home.

The laundry chute would have three components. First, I would frame the shaft and
strictly follow all fire blocking codes relevant to a multi-story shaft. Secondly, I would
install fire rated drywall on all sides for the shaft with a bed tape coat. Lastly, I would
install tubing if desired and an air-tight, fire-rated chute door with a minimum of 3’-0”
from a finished floor. I would also install a hatch door on the bottom of laundry chute. This
door would be airtight and would require opening the door to access the laundry. Apply for
a permit or speak to your building inspector before beginning any endeavor.

Please contact us for any remodeling needs you may have

Strawberry Banke, Portsmouth N.H

If you have recently moved to the Seacoast of New Hampshire as many families
have in the past few decades, a worthwhile field trip is to visit Historic Strawberry Banke,
Portsmouth N.H.

Strawberry Banke, Portsmouth N.H

Strawberry Banke was settled in 1630 by Captain Walter Neale who named the
settlement Strawberry Banke because of the abundance of strawberries along the banks of
the Piscataqua River. Strawberry Banke remained a neighborhood until the late 1950’s
when the Urban Renewal Development began slowly restoring 37 individual homes, which
is now in the Historic Register.  
In terms of historic Colonial and American architectural styles; Strawberry Banke
has three architectural style buildings on display, which include Colonial, Georgian, and

The Sherburne house, which was built in 1695, is an example of a colonial house in
Strawberry Banke. This colonial house is utilitarian and is a two story, one-unit deep home
with a center chimney. There are two cross-gables on the front facade. If you’re interested
in seeing the Sherburne House, I believe the address is 14 Hancock Street, Portsmouth,
NH 03801.

An example of a Georgian architectural style building in Strawberry Banke would
be the Chase family house, which was built in 1762. This symmetrical, Gambrel, wood
clad-boarded structure has Mustard colored siding, with scale and prominence. The most
eye catching aspect of the building for me is the segmental pediment with a paneled door.
This building is all class and is located at 698 Middle Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801.
The last prominent architectural style in Strawberry Banke is the Nathen Parker
home. This three-story, hipped low pitched roof, red brick, five ranked -symmetrical
windows, is a Federalist Style home, which was constructed in 1810. The six panel,
fanlight door is an excellent example of Federalist architecture. Also, the graduated
window heights from floor to floor is another excellent example of Federalist architecture.
The Nathen Parker home is located on 46 Livermore Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801.

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