Q: My husband and I are currently shopping for our first home and have found a couple that we really like. However, one of these houses is listed as using "Cadet" heat. I have looked at several articles but would like to know what the benefits and disadvantages are in regards to this type of heating system? Also, is this something that will need to be replaced? If it is replaced, will we be able to do this ourselves (my husband is an electrical engineer) or is this a professional job? If we choose to leave this type of heating in the house, will it harm its resale value in the future?

A: As you may know already, Cadet heaters are simply the name of a popular brand of electric wall heater. In real estate listings, "Cadet heat" is sometimes incorrectly used generically to refer to any type of wall heater, even those not made by Cadet.

In 2000, Cadet and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled approximately 1.9 million Cadet heaters due to reported problems with the heaters that could be related to overheating and fires. For more information about the recall, you can visit the CPSC Web site.

As part of any home purchase you’re considering, you’ll want to have the home inspected by a qualified home inspector before you close the purchase. As part of that inspection, the inspector should definitely check the Cadet heaters, and include in his or her report what their condition is, and if they are part of the recall or not (they may not be affected, or they may already have been replaced).

If the Cadet heaters in the home you’re thinking of buying are part of the recall and need to be replaced, it’s a fairly simple do-it-yourself project, or you can hire a licensed electrician to do it. The cans that are in the wall remain in place and only the internal part of the heating mechanism is replaced, so there is no drywall to replace or repair.

Quite honestly, zonal heating systems such as wall heaters and baseboard heaters are typically not as desirable from a resale standpoint. A lot depends on the other homes that you’ll be competing against for sale, but if everything else is equal, central heating can be a big selling point over zonal heating. …CONTINUED

Q: We recently built a new home and moved in. The concrete basement floors have all been sealed. The electrical inspector would not pass our exercise room outlets unless the floors were "finished." So we put a primer coat of white latex on them. Now we want to put on epoxy. Can you tell me what we have to do to get the floors ready?

A: It’s really important that the floors be correctly prepared before applying an epoxy coating. That includes making sure that the concrete is fully cured, and that there not be any other coating that will interfere with the adhesion of the epoxy.

The concrete needs to be a minimum of 60 days old, and it needs to be dry. To check this, begin by taping a 2-foot square piece of plastic, such as a garbage sack, over the floor. Make sure all four sides are sealed with tape. Let it sit for a minimum of 48 hours, then peel it up. If there is moisture under the plastic, the concrete is too wet to paint.

Next, you need to check that the concrete will accept the paint. You mentioned that the concrete has been sealed, and also that it has a primer on it. Pour a small amount of water on the floor. If the water beads up, then the concrete sealer or primer is preventing absorption. Your epoxy kit should come with an etching solution, but you may need to do the etching process more than once. You will probably also need to sand off the existing primer, which will roughen the surface and help the epoxy take hold. After that, the concrete needs to be thoroughly cleaned and dried, then the epoxy can be mixed and applied.

In my experience, the main cause of failure of an epoxy floor coating is improper preparation, so be sure you don’t skimp on any of these preliminary steps. Complete instructions are provided with the product, and most of the floor-painting kits also contain an instructional video that you really should watch.

Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at paulbianchina@inman.com.


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