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13 Answers

Windows and low-e coating

I have always understood that low-e windows worked in cold climates when you had the low-e on the exterior side of the pane closest to the interior (surface 3) and vv for hot climates (surface 2). This is stated pretty clearly in the book Residential Energy, for example, which most energy auditors use to train from, and I just checked with the DOE website and they say the same thing.

Asked By Amanda Evans | Oct 25 09
7 Answers

Wall mount bath fan pros/cons

Who has experience with installing and assessing wall mount bath fans? It would seem they have some advantages over ceiling mount especially in our cold climate here in Minnesota but I have no experience with them. First, I like that there will be zero ductwork to slow the air flow, allow leakage into an attic space that is hard to reach (yes, those insulated plastic-flex-ducts and the taped connections have the risk of leaking warm/moist air into our frigid attics), and there is one less penetration on the roof (arguably the most crucial membrane on the house for minimizing holes).

Asked By Robert Alf | Apr 12 10
13 Answers

Vaulted timber framed ceiling options

I'm weighing the differences in efficiency, cost and buildability of achieving an R-60 timber framed (vaulted) roof system in a cold climate (Western Massachusetts). I believe my options to be; structural insulating panels, a combination of SIP's and rigid insulation, a combination of stick framing, cellulose and rigid, or trusses overlayed on the frame and filled with cellulose.

Asked By Jon Wyman | Mar 1 10
9 Answers

How can I get help to upgrade my home to LEED standards?

My wife and I are disabled and would like to update our 1920 home to something livable, and be able to share with our family. We have spent lots of time and wasted money, only to have to fix or redo projects over & over due to poor quality.
Thank you,
Walter Moss.

Asked By walter Moss | Mar 26 10
20 Answers

Sub pump with 2" discharge pipe clogging up from silt clay in the water.

I have a 10'deep x 5' diameter pre-cast concrete man hole with two pumps alternating for my 6" footing drains located outside of the house. This is a new construction house. I put down 12" inches of trap rock in the basement floor with 4" perforated pipe and grid pattern tied into my six-inch footing drains. I also put down filter fabric before the trap rock went down and over the 6"perforated pipe. What is happening is a orange colored clay is sticking on the inside wall of the 2" pipe closing it down to 1"on the inside walls. Seems like every six months this occurs.

Asked By Peter Fusaro | Mar 12 10
24 Answers

Can I build an old-fashioned vented crawl space with modern Lstiburek reccomendations?

Joe Lstiburek, the respected building scientist with Building Science Corporation, provides an approach to building vented crawlspaces in energy efficient houses.

Asked By Michael Chelnov | Mar 12 10
2 Answers

Remodeling a house with severe fire damage. Where can I go for remediation advice?

Besides completely gutting the entire house (plaster, lath, mechanicals,etc) removing damaged framing members and painting with BIN sealer, what other lessons have been learned?

After it is 100% gutted, any problem with power washing if weather permits drying? Place was already dowsed by fire department in the winter, and shows signs of mold throughout, but many of the wood floors still seem salvageable, if the odor is eliminated.

Please advise asap. Work in progress, searching for the cure.


Asked By matt berges | Mar 14 10
9 Answers

Foundation options

I am exploring efficient foundation options for a residential project located in Western Massachusetts. The house will sit on a slope and have a partial walk out basement. The basement will be a conditioned space, with only a small portion requiring finishes.

My options are ICF's, a standard poured in place foundation or the Thermomass system. The site has a high water table so drainage and waterproofing are mandatory. ICF's insulate well, but waterproofing is a concern, as is finishing the above grade portion of the wall.

Asked By Jon Wyman | Feb 4 10
3 Answers

Anyone have any experience using tankless gas water heater w/ radiant floor? in a conditioned crawlspace?

Doing major remodel and plann to add to kitchen/new bath w/ tile floors over crawlspace. Crawlspace to be conditioned space - sealed and insulated at perimeter ala BSC specs. Was planning to do radiant floor heating because done't want/ don't like forced air over tile floors. Has anyone used gas tankless water heater as radiant floor heat and domestic hot water source (combo)?

Asked By mike | Mar 12 10
8 Answers

Necessity for rainscreen approach w/ 5700 HDD & Hardiepanel

I'm curious about rainscreens, which seem to be reccomended by building science experts, but not reccomended by manufacturers. A case in point: James Hardie Inc does not reccomend a rainscreen behind its Hardiepanel product, but there seems to be some kind of loose consensus that you will have water and mold problems unless you use a rainscreen behind a product like Hardiepanel.

Asked By Michael Chelnov | Feb 26 10
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