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7 Answers

National Fiber in Belchertown, Mass.

Does anyone know how to reach National fiber in belchertown mass?
Emails to them bounce and their 1 800 number goes to some vacation service...
I don't know if they are hacked, or what.
I can't imagine they went out of business...
Anyone have a cell phone for one of the reps?

Asked By Scott Mangold | Feb 21 17
9 Answers

Under tile electrical heating - Schluter Ditra Heat system 2017

Clients have asked me to install under tile electric heating. I've hear good things about the Schluter Ditra Heat system, however I've also read two things that worried me when this system was new to the US.

1. The thermostat only allows the heat to warm up to 84 degrees. You might feel this on your feet but it seems unlike to warm or dry the air above, even as a secondary heat source. Other systems allow 104 degrees. Is this still correct?

2. The Ditra heat thermostats produce a very loud clicking sound that is annoying and wake some people up.

Asked By Ryan Kennedy | Feb 20 17
19 Answers

Passive house exterior door for reasonable price?

Has anyone come across an exterior door that provides good insulation and beefy frame that's worthy of a super insulated home but comes at a reasonable price? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Asked By Matthew Michaud | Feb 4 13
14 Answers

Kingspan Kooltherm - R-8/in?

Recently got sent a sample and some information on a new 'premium' rigid foam Kingspan is trying to market in the US after making it in Europe for quite a while. A little googling and this appears to be some sort of phenolic foam, maybe. Some of the claims in the literature have me scratching my head:

-R-8/inch. Seems awfully high for rigid foam. They claim this is from an ASTM C 518 test but the rep wouldn't send me the actual report.

Asked By Chris B | Feb 16 17
2 Answers

Open cell vs. closed cell for hot roof in Florida

I just bought a 25 year old home in Jacksonville. 2 Story framed home off grade. We are considering replacing the fiberglass insulation in the attic with spray foam on the underside of the roof sheathing. My goal is to move make the attic more of conditioned space because 1) the air handler and all the A/C ducts are in the attic 2) We're just finishing install a number of recessed cans in second floor ceiling.

Asked By Paul Tasillo | Feb 14 17
7 Answers

Absolute Steel hybrid wood stove

After much consideration I think I've found my wood stove. I saw a National Geographic program on the Wood Stove Decathlon 2013 where this stoves larger cousin (the Ideal Steel Hybrid Wood Stove) won the grand prize.

I need a smaller stove so the Absolute model seems perfect to me. I also like the fact that the EPA emissions are listed as being only 0.5 grams/hour and it has an efficiency of 77%. Has anyone used one of these stoves already?

Asked By Scott Wilson | Feb 7 17
2 Answers

Salvaged ash lumber? - Emerald ash borer damaged trees

Last year I promised some pictures of Emerald Ash Borer tree damage; I recently stumbled upon the images I had selected, but never posted.

Attached are images of the insect damage on a log and standing tree. Also an image of one of the clues that an ash tree is in trouble, marks from pileated woodpeckers hammering away at it.

Ash doesn't come to mind as a common building product. However, with such significant numbers of ash trees now standing dead, maybe that will change?

(Probably will be hard to get a decent baseball bat down the road...)

Asked By Andrew Bater | Feb 9 17
4 Answers

Exterior stain residual

I am converting my barn and some of what was the exterior surface will be within the insulated wall assembly. This surface was stained by the previous owner last spring with a exterior deck stain TWP 1500. Wondering if I should be concerned about some residue of the pReservative being in my wall assembly. Not sure how I could get it off othe than planning the exterior or something like that. Or perhaps pressure washing would remove a bit of it. Any one have any thoughts... Thanks

Asked By scott mangold | Feb 9 17
1 Answer

Hardwood floor underlayment for radiant heated floor application

I am getting ready to have engineered hardwood floors installed onto a wooden subfloor. The hardwood floor will be nailed down.

I also have radiant heat installed, using heat transfer plates that have been screwed to the subfloor from below. The water temperature will be in the low 90s.

Hence, I am now looking for a recommendation for a proper underlayment for the engineered hardwood floor that has the following characteristics (in that order):
- no thicker than 1/8"
- very low or zero VOC and free of other questionable products
- low R-value
- sound absorbing

Asked By Torsten Budesheim | Feb 9 17
4 Answers

Separate water lines for toilets?

I'm getting ready to replumb my house, and thinking of running separate lines for my hose and toilets (not on the water softener or water filters). This would be useful to save on water softener electricity, wear and tear, salt, and water filters. I've calculated the payback to be 30 months, given $100 in pex supplies to run a separate line for the toilets, this is not counting any hose usage which would make it even shorter.

An average usage is 50 gallons/day/person
So for 6 people, 300/day, 9000/month
26% is for toilet use (national average)

Asked By Jimmy Black | Feb 6 17
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