Furnace: Strictly speaking, an enclosed area for heating air. In common usage, a furnace is taken to mean any piece of equipment where fossil fuel is converted to heat.
Furring: Strips of wood or metal applied to a wall or other surface to make the surface even. Furring normally serves as a fastening base for finish material.
Abatement: Procedures used to control fiber release of asbestos from asbestos-containing materials, including removal, encapsulation, enclosure and repair.
Amp: The rate of flow of electricity through conductors.
Apron: A paved area, such as the juncture of a driveway with the street or garage entrance.
Asbestos-Containing Material (ACM), Asbestos-Containing Building Material (ACBM): By EPA definition, any material containing more than one percent asbestos by weight.
Asbestos: Any hydrated mineral silicate separable into commercially usable fibers, including, but not limited to, chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite.
Asphalt: Most native asphalt is a residue from evaporated petroleum. Asphalt is insoluble in water but soluble in gasoline and melts when heated. It is widely used in buildings for waterproofing roof coverings of many types, exterior wall coverings, flooring tile, and the like.
Batten: Narrow strips of wood used to cover joints or as decorative vertical members over plywood or wide boards.
Beam: A structural member transversely supporting a load.
Bearing Wall: A wall that supports the floor or roof of a building.
Bibb: A water faucet to which a hose may be attached, also called a hose bibb or sill cock.
Brace: An inclined piece of framing lumber applied to wall or floor to stiffen the structure. Often used on walls as temporary bracing until framing has been completed.
BTU: A BTU, which stands for British Thermal Unit, is a measure of heat. One BTU is roughly equivalent to that given off by burning one wooden kitchen match. BTUs are used to measure both heat gain and heat removal. For example, a 10,000 BTU per hour air conditioner will remove 10,000 BTUs of heat from a room in one hour. The energy content of oil, gas and electricity can also be measured in BTUs as follows:
One cubic foot of natural gas contains approximately 1,030 BTUs.
One gallon of number two heating oil contains approximately 138,000 BTUs.
One kilowatt-hour of electricity is equal to 3,413 BTUs.
Bulkhead: Near water, the retaining wall which separates a body of water from land. In a building, the enclosure for the top of a stairway at the roof level of a building.
Buttress: A projecting structure, usually masonry or wood, supporting or giving stability to a wall.
Cantilever: A structural member which projects beyond its supporting column or wall, and supports a load.
Carpenter Ants: Ants that bore through wood. Like termites, carpenter ants like warm, moist areas such as those found in wood structures in this part of the country. Carpenter ants differ from termites in several important ways. Carpenter ants do not ingest the wood; rather, they tunnel through the wood leaving a residue of sawdust. Also differing from termites, carpenter ants can nest anywhere; it is not uncommon to find a carpenter ant nest in an attic. Carpenter ants can do a great amount of structural damage. By the time the sawdust residue is visible, structural damage may already have occurred. Exterminating carpenter ants is difficult. To exterminate them, one must first find the nest. Finding the nest is the most difficult part of exterminating carpenter ants.
Caulking: A flexible putty-like compound used to fill gaps between windows, doors, trim, etc., and the structure they are mounted in. Caulking helps prevent air and water infiltration.
Cesspool: An underground catch basin for liquid waste, usually lined with brick, concrete, or stone, capable of drainage into the surrounding soil.
Cockloft: The air space between the underside of a flat roof and the top floor ceiling.
Column: In architecture, a perpendicular supporting member, circular or rectangular in section, usually consisting of a base, shaft, and capitals. In engineering, a vertical structural compression member which supports loads acting in the direction of its longitudinal axis.
Concrete: A hardened mixture of cement, aggregate and water. The cement portion is generally portland cement which is made by heating raw materials containing alumina and calcium. The aggregate is generally sand or gravel.
Condensation: In a building, beads or droplets of water (and frequently frost in extremely cold weather) that accumulate on the inside of the exterior covering of a building when warm, moisture-laden air from the interior reaches the temperature that no longer permits the air to sustain the moisture it holds. Use of louvers or ventilators will reduce moisture condensation in attics. A vapor barrier under the gypsum lath or dry wall on exposed walls will reduce condensation in them.
Conduit, Electrical: A pipe, usually metal, in which one or more wires are installed.
Conduit, Non-Electrical: Any small passage or channel that goes from one area to another.
Copalum Connector: A special type of crimp connector the US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends when pig tailing Copper wires to Aluminum wiring.
Cornice: A horizontal piece, usually molding, that tops a column, wall, etc.
Crawl Space: A shallow space, usually below the living quarters of a building that has no basement, normally enclosed by the foundation wall. Other shallow spaces throughout a building may also be called crawl spaces.
Dormer: An opening in a sloping roof, the framing of which projects out to form a vertical wall suitable for windows or other openings.
Eaves: The lower part of a roof projecting over the wall.
Electric Heat: Electric Heat was popular for a short time when electricity costs were low. Now, electric heat is seldom used in new construction. Electric heat has the advantage of allowing you to adjust room temperatures individually. Unfortunately, electric heat is expensive to operate. For that reason, many people keep the temperature low, particularly in rooms they seldom use.
Expansion Tank: Part of a hot water heating system that is filled with air. Its purpose is to provide a cushion for the expansion of the hot water in the heating system. (Many people confuse expansion tanks with hot water storage tanks.)
Fascia: A flat board, band, or face, usually used in combination with moldings, and often located at the outer face of the cornice.
Flagstone, Flagging, Flags: Flat stones, from one to four inches thick, used for rustic walks, steps, floors, and the like.
Flashing: Sheet metal or other material used in roof, window, door, and wall construction to protect a building from water seepage.
Flue: The space or passage in a chimney through which smoke, gas, or fumes ascend. Each passage is called a flue, which together with any other flues and the surrounding masonry make up the chimney.
Footing: A masonry section, usually concrete, usually rectangular and wider than the bottom of the foundation wall or pier it supports.
Forced Hot Air Heating: Heating system where a fan circulates air over a heat exchanger in a furnace, and back through the building to heat the building. Forced hot air heating systems are used in many buildings today. Contrary to popular belief, forced hot air heating ducts are not well suited to conversion to central air conditioning. This is because forced hot air ducts are at floor level, while air conditioning ducts should be at ceiling level for optimum cooling. Most forced hot air systems have filters that need to be changed frequently.
Foundation: The supporting portion of a structure at the bottom of the structure. The foundation supports the building.
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