I have heard about some special "space-age" exterior house and interior wall paint that can lower my heating and air-conditioning bills and help soundproof my house. How does this type of paint work? G.S.
A - You are referring to the new "ceramic-filled" types of interior and exterior house paint. Although ordinary house paint has very little effect on energy savings, this ceramic-filled paint has unique energy-saving and sound-blocking properties. When applied, ceramic-filled paint looks like ordinary wall or house paint.Ceramic-filled paint uses a special durable liquid paint base with very fine ceramic particles (often borosilicate) mixed in it. This is the same type of ceramic material that is used on the heat shield tiles on the NASA space shuttles.
Ceramic materials possess unique heat-resistant and insulation properties. They are very reflective to heat radiation (not reflective in appearance) and they dissipate heat very rapidly. You can hold a cigarette lighter under a metal strip coated with ceramic-filled paint and not burn your finger on top of the strip.
Ceramic-filled paint has a lower emissivity than ordinary interior wall paint. Therefore in the winter, you lose less heat by radiation to outside walls and more of the heat is reflected back to you. A cold wall surface is a primary cause of a chilly feeling when you sit near an outside wall. This allows you to set your thermostat lower and save more energy.
In the summer, you get the greatest reduction in air-conditioning costs and improvement in comfort by painting the exterior of your house with ceramic-filled paint. Painting your existing roof is also extremely effective for lowering cooling costs, even if you have adequate attic insulation.
Ceramic material itself is a natural sound insulator. When ceramic-filled paint dries, the tiny ceramic particles tend to migrate together and form a continuous sound-deadening film. This also helps to seal small cracks that allow sound to enter your house.
Ceramic paint can be brushed or rolled on your interior walls or house exterior. You apply it slightly thicker than ordinary paint, but it covers in one coat. It is very durable and one manufacturer even guarantees its paint for 15 years.
You can write to me for UTILITY BILLS UPDATE No. 262 showing a list of manufacturers of ceramic-filled paint, performance specifications, and application instructions. Write to James Dulley, The Deseret News, 6906 Royal Green Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244. Please include $1 and a self-addressed STAMPED BUSINESS-SIZE envelope.
Q - I try to use the "heated dry cycle" on my dishwasher as little as possible to save energy. Even with it on, the dishes don't always dry completely. Can you give me some tips on improving the drying? C.H.
A - The most important factor in proper drying of dishes is having the washing water hot enough. It should be 140 degrees for adequate washing and drying. Many new dishwashers have preheaters to warm the wash water.
Sometimes a rinse additive can help improve drying. This additive produces a better sheeting action and the dishes tend to drain better. This leaves less water to evaporate.
Using enough detergent can minimize drying time. A rule of thumb is that you need a minimum of three teaspoons of detergent with soft water (0 to 3 grains). For each grain of additional hardness, increase by one teaspoon.