Insulation for sliding glass doors; exhaust fan for a basement sauna

Q Is there a way to insulate sliding glass doors so as to eliminate drafts? I have five sets of such doors in a condominium. In the winter there is a considerable heat loss, especially during storms. J.T.D. Bonita Springs, Fla.

The weatherstripping on the sliding doors may be in need of replacement. If the units are rather old and heavily used, their weatherstripping may be crushed or otherwise dislocated.

Call your local window and glass company, which should be able to install new , tight weatherstripping at modest cost.

Q When I replaced the large porch on my Victorian house, the carpenters cut the old boards into fireplace length. The problem is, they had several coats of gray paint on them (the boards, not the carpenters). Can I burn the painted boards in the fireplace? Would the burning paint cause any problems to the old chimney? The chimney flue is lined with old brick. Beatrice C. Doane Littleton, N.H.

While some people may disagree, if it were my house I'd burn the old painted wood in the fireplace without concern.

I'm glad you differentiated between the painted wood and the carpenters. I once knew a gray, grizzled old carpenter who was burned up because an apprentice painter primed a door frame which the carpenter was still working on.

What I would do, however, is have a chimney sweep clean and inspect the old flue from damper to cap before burning any more wood.

Chimneys, especially old ones, need professional sweeping from time to time, depending on the combustion material and the frequency of use. The more modern terra-cotta flue liners are likely safer than the older brick-lined flues.

Q I am completing my basement with a sauna and hot tub. What will stop any potential moisture problems to the structure? Michael K. Jones Greensboro, N.C.

Control the interior humidity first with an exhaust fan that will carry the moisture-laden air directly outside.

Size the fan to totally exhaust the damp air perhaps every 30 minutes or less. An ordinary wall-mounted bathroom exhaust fan will probably suffice if the room itself is no larger than 50 to 75 square feet in size.

Exhausted air must be replaced, preferably from inside the basement. Thus, provide a louvre in the interior basement wall which is sized for such air replacement. Hopefully, the rest of the basement is already heated.

To prevent any moisture from entering the framing, apply two or three coats of enamel paint to the basement walls and ceiling within the sauna/hot tub room.

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