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Farmer tax guides

By Staff | Dec 24, 2012

The Farmer’s Tax Guide for use in preparing 2012 income tax returns is now available through the Pierce County Extension office. This free publication includes a large amount of useful information, including explanations and examples that can be used to complete the farm tax return. The guide begins with a summary that highlights tax law changes for 2012, as well as a section on what is new for 2013. Other sections in the guide discuss record keeping systems, accounting methods, farm income, farm business expenses, soil and water conservation expenses, depreciation, depletion and amortization, gains and losses, self-employment tax, employment taxes and a sample return.

Scholarships Available

Each year the North Dakota Crop Improvement and Seed Association (NDCISA) sponsors six scholarships for the NDSU College of Agriculture. Each scholarship will be for $1000, with three of them going to incoming freshmen and the other three to undergraduates. Scholarship applications and application information is available through the Pierce County Extension office. The application deadline for these scholarships is February 15, 2013.

Window Condensation Common Problem

This time of year homeowners may begin to notice condensation and/or ice forming on their windows. Condensation on windows can lead to problems such as damage to the windows and surrounding walls, as well as the potential for mold development. Despite a homeowner’s best efforts to seal up the house in the fall with a fresh bead of caulk around windows and replacing weather stripping around doors, condensation can still occur.

Condensation and ice form on windows when the window surface is below the dew-point for the air near the window, causing some of the moisture in the air to condense on the window. This happens because air has the ability to hold varying amounts of water, depending on temperature. The warmer the air, the more water holding capacity it has. Colder air has less room for water molecules, causing them to stick together. When the heated air in a home comes in contact with cold air next to windows, it cools. The cooler air causes the excess moisture to stick to the window as condensation. This is the same thing that happens on a chilled beverage glass.

Excess moisture in a home can come from a variety of sources. Each person in a house adds 3 pints of water vapor to the air every day just from breathing. Add to this the water from showers, cooking and laundry and it adds up quickly.

If you notice condensation on double- or triple-pane windows, you most likely have too much humidity in your house. You should strive for relative humidity levels around 40 percent in the winter. Any higher and you risk condensation and mold issues; any lower and the air is too dry. Air that is too dry can cause dry skin and nasal passages, which could lead to respiratory illness. With a double-pane window, condensation should begin to appear when the outside temperature dips below zero, if the relative humidity level in the house is 40 percent. With triple-glaze windows, condensation should not begin to show until the outside temperatures reach closer to minus 40 F. If humidity levels are considerably higher than 40 percent, you can begin running vent fans in the bathroom and kitchen to reduce these levels. Just make sure the fans vent to the outside. Venting into the attic could cause unseen moisture problems, including mold growth.

Many people use dehumidifiers, but they generally are ineffective if humidity levels are below 50 percent, which is common in the winter. If condensation is occurring on windows behind draperies, try leaving the drapes open at night.

Newer construction has created homes that are extremely airtight. The owners of these homes may want to invest in an air-to-air exchange system, which brings dry air in from the outside and replaces the warm, moist air in your home. These systems use a heat exchanger to salvage as much as 70 percent of the heat from the indoor air.

Some newer ideas being used involve installing low-volume ventilation fans in areas such as the bathroom. These fans either run continuously or are controlled by a humidistat. When the humidity rises above the desired level, the fan kicks in and runs until the lower level is achieved.

The NDSU Extension Service has developed a publication to explain the basics of air-to-air heat exchangers. Contact the Pierce County Extension office at 776-6234 or e-mail yolanda.goodman@ndsu.edu for a copy or visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/energy/ for information on this and many other energy-related topics.

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