Second Guessing an Insulation Upgrade

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in insulation

Is there anything worse than getting midway through a renovation and then suddenly wondering whether you've got some important detail all wrong? That seems to be the predicament of William Lucrisia, who's in the midst of an insulation upgrade at his house north of Seattle. "The house was heated by propane," he explains in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor. It was a cost that was hard to get hold of, especially with some of the design [features] of the house (high ceiling)."

How Your Thermostat Can Grow Mold and Make You Uncomfortable

Posted on April 25,2015 by ab3 in air conditioner

I've been experimenting with my family lately. Or is it, experimenting on my family? In either case, I've got the data to confirm something I wrote in a 2011 article. But before I tell you what I did, first let me show you what happened. In the graph at right, you can see Exhibit A: a moisture mystery. What do you think happened to cause the humidity (blue data) in the air in our condo to rise like that?

Why Is This Sheathing Moldy?

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in central-fan-integrated supply ventilation

Brian Lent has discovered something in his walls that no homeowner wants to see: mold. Preparing a ground-floor room for drywall, Lent pulls some fiberglass batt insulation from a 2x6 stud cavity and notices the back side of the OSB sheathing is damp. A moisture meter reveals that in 80% of the bay, the moisture content is 66% or higher. Moisture and mold are heaviest at the bottom of each bay.

A Brief Introduction to WUFI, in 5 Easy Pieces

Posted on April 25,2015 by ab3 in hygrothermal modeling

If you have any involvement with the world of building science, you may have heard about something called WUFI and wondered what the heck it is. Maybe you've heard that it's a piece of software (several pieces, actually) that does hygrothermal modeling. Well, today's your lucky day because I recently went through a two-day class on WUFI 1-D with Dr. Achilles Karagiozis and Mr. Mikael Salonvaara of Owens Corning, and I'll give you a brief explanation of what it's all about.

Problems with Crawl Spaces

Posted on April 25,2015 by user-1048334 in crawl space

Crawl spaces are like the Loch Ness monster: talked about, rarely seen, and potentially a bit scary. The crawl space is that empty, barely accessible pit under the house filled with swampy water, cobwebs and spiders the size of dinner plates. (That link was the Google result for “spiders the size of dinner plates.” Enjoy). At least that’s what we imagine.

How to Avoid Mold

Posted on April 25,2015 by user-1048334 in condensation

Mold and moisture issues are a common motivation for homeowners to give us a ring. There’s condensation on the windows and water dripping into the window box. One homeowner described how if she opened her front door during the winter, the glass panes on the storm door would fog up within 10 or 12 seconds. Structural issues in the house, like dirt floors in the basement, sometimes cause these problems. But often the problems are caused by occupant behavior.

How to Insulate a Basement Wall

Posted on April 25,2015 by user-756436 in basement

Here at GBA, we regularly receive questions from readers about the best way to insulate a basement wall. Since these questions pop up frequently, it’s time to pull together as much information as possible on this topic. In this article, I’ll try to explain everything you always wanted to know about insulating basement walls.

Sniffing Out House Problems

Posted on April 25,2015 by Tristan Roberts in chemical

A victim of a hepatitis E infection she picked up unknowingly in Brazil, Genevive Bjorn’s liver rebelled against her one night in Hawaii. Her body almost shut down on her, but with help from the hospital, a battery of tests, her watchful boyfriend at her side, and a diet of nothing but rice porridge, she squeaked through.

An Open Discussion on Closed Crawl Spaces

Posted on April 25,2015 by CarlSeville in closed crawlspace

This post is just an observation that I hope will stimulate some conversation about the subject of closed crawl spaces. This evolved out of conversations with two builders—one a high-end custom outfit and the other an affordable builder. Both of them had been certifying their homes to EarthCraft House standards and were building with closed crawl spaces. On the same day last week I heard from both builders that they were having moisture problems in their closed crawl spaces, were reluctant to continue building them, and were considering returning to vented designs.

Weatherization in Alaska Includes Skirmishes with Moisture and Mold

Posted on April 25,2015 by Fretboard in Alaska

Discussions about moisture buildup and its effects are likely to be among the most enduring conversations in homebuilding and remodeling, particularly as more homeowners opt for better-insulated and more-airtight exterior walls.

Is Carpet a Four-Letter Word?

Posted on April 25,2015 by user-702374 in carpet

If you are considering wall-to-wall carpet for your home or project—stop, look, and read on. Take a minute to think about the pros and cons of your carpet choices before you buy that next roomful. Carpet is synonymous with comfort—it's soft, absorbs sound, and makes a house warmer, literally and figuratively. Unfortunately, it also contributes to poor indoor air quality (IAQ)—off-gassing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), absorbing and retaining moisture that can lead to mold, and is a huge sinkhole for dirt and dust mites.

Don't Try This At Home: Armchair Building Science

Posted on April 25,2015 by Peterbilt in air leakage

The homeowners called me after a certified home inspector stated that the attic was underventilated and moisture was building up as a result. The roof assembly had soffit vents at the eaves and two gable-end vents. These vents would not be as effective as ridge-to-soffit ventilation, but were probably close to building code requirements (see Green Basics – Attics).

Tools of the Trade: Moisture Meters

Posted on April 25,2015 by Peterbilt in moisture meter

A moisture meter is a simple, easy-to-use tool for evaluating moisture and mold problems Moisture meters help you figure out whether your building materials are too wet. They typically use electrical conductivity between a couple of metal pins to assess moisture content; the more moisture in the material, the greater the electrical conductivity. The moisture content is measured as a percentage of total weight.

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