Articles by Tom Gocze


Manuals only make your life easier

By Tom Gocze on Dec. 24, 2010, at 8:13 p.m.
Many years ago in one of my previous lives, I worked at a TV repair shop. This was at a time when there were things that were repairable in TVs. A lot of the work that this particular shop did …

Portrait of a plumber as a young man with copper tubing

By Tom Gocze on Dec. 17, 2010, at 11:51 p.m.
Back in my contractor days, I had a kid who worked for me named Chris. One of his favorite sayings was “Are you bummin’ or are you plumbin’?” I guess there are different ways to …

’Tis the season for home improvement work

By Tom Gocze on Dec. 10, 2010, at 7:15 p.m.
Since the Christmas season is upon us, it is a time when I start working in the house.

Radiation and convection often confused in heating

By Tom Gocze on Dec. 03, 2010, at 9:36 p.m.
Physics and technology are often not well understood by the media. There recently was a program on TV about heating. The presenter referred to hot water heating baseboards as radiators. This is a simple mistake, but there is very little heat that comes off a baseboard by radiation. These heating …

Concrete and a tense situation

By Tom Gocze on Nov. 26, 2010, at 8:40 p.m.
There are times that serendipity crosses my path. We have been working on a new type of wood boiler. Part of its unique design is that you feed wood into it vertically. This allows for simpler …

Energy audits save renovation headaches

By Tom Gocze on Nov. 19, 2010, at 11:45 p.m.
Last week someone told me about their old house. It has been an ongoing project for the past 20 years or so. The focus of the work was to cut the heating costs. It has been insulated, had new roofs …

Several economic, efficient ways to save on gasoline

By Tom Gocze on Nov. 12, 2010, at 11:05 p.m.
Now that the days are so short, I have to admit to spending more time in front of the TV than I should. One program that I have forced myself to watch is “IRT Deadliest Roads.” I hate this …

Bedbug inspections should be on your travel checklist

By Tom Gocze on Nov. 05, 2010, at 6:53 p.m.
Last week I had a chance to talk with Jim Dill of the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension Pest Management Group. We discussed bedbugs, everyone’s favorite topic. As a child of the …

From foam to fiberglass, insulating basements comes with options

By Tom Gocze on Oct. 29, 2010, at 6:28 p.m.
I used to live next door to someone who had a regular routine for autumn. He had bought several rolls of 2-foot-wide fiberglass insulation with shiny kraft paper on it. Every October, the fiberglass would come out and be unrolled around the perimeter of the house. He then would install …

Wintertime brings good and bad news

By Tom Gocze on Oct. 22, 2010, at 10:05 p.m.
The concept of superinsulation is becoming more pervasive. Finally, builders and developers realize that energy costs are really an issue.

Cleaning up after your pet has become easier than ever

By Tom Gocze on Oct. 15, 2010, at 6:29 p.m.
A major issue with pet ownership is the fact that the animals have to answer the call of nature.

Iron out the details before you pick solar

By Tom Gocze on Oct. 08, 2010, at 7:13 p.m.
Someone called me from outside of Maine today. They are building a house in northern Vermont, are going to be off the grid and want to heat the house with solar energy. No utility bills! A good idea. They called me because they wanted to know how big a storage …

For home lighting, energy-efficient CFLs and LEDs are worth a try

By Tom Gocze on Oct. 01, 2010, at 10:05 p.m.
When the first home improvement box store opened in Bangor, many moons ago, the best feature to me was the lighting department. On a cold winter day, walking into that store brought you directly into …

Solar panels aren’t hard, people are

By Tom Gocze on Sept. 24, 2010, at 11:04 p.m.
Jimmy Carter wrote an autobiography recently. As he is interviewed about his term as president, the conversation inevitably comes to the installation of solar collectors on the White House. It is …

Headphones and mowing a good mix

By Tom Gocze on Sept. 18, 2010, at 12:12 a.m.
Summer is waning, but I continue to mow lawns. The revenge of the lawn has trumped all my efforts to stunt its growth by cutting the grass too short. The wonder of the place where I live is that …

Finding good, used cars more difficult these days

By Tom Gocze on Sept. 10, 2010, at 6:44 p.m.
One of my sons had a car accident recently. The car was totaled but fortunately no one was injured. There was only basic insurance coverage, so we started the new (used) car search. Being male and …

Residential sprinkler systems on the way

By Tom Gocze on Sept. 03, 2010, at 7:32 p.m.
On Jan. 1, 2011, the International Building Code will require fire sprinklers installed in all new one- and two-family homes and townhouses.

Evicting bats can mean savings

By Tom Gocze on Aug. 27, 2010, at 7:32 p.m.
There I sit, working at relaxation. It is overcast and just about twilight. A quick glance out the window, and I see a very fast flying creature.

Photovoltaics: Lots of power on the roof

By Tom Gocze on Aug. 20, 2010, at 10:27 p.m.
If you check out the Efficiency Maine website, there is a section that has annual reports about solar installations in Maine: It is interesting reading for anyone who is curious about what kinds of solar projects are being installed in Maine and what they cost the consumer. It might …

Insulation: all seasons’ top strategy

By Tom Gocze on Aug. 14, 2010, at 12:47 a.m.
Time to talk winter. The days are getting shorter and summer is basically done. Are you ready yet?