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5 Answers

Window Screens

I have windows that face southwest. They are not low E windows, I like the warmth they provide in the winter but detest the heat gain in the summer. Is there a screen that would be as good as (if not better than) replacing with a low e window?

So the question is, are there screens that are as good if not better than low-e coatings? Has there been any testing of the screens to support it?

For the kitchen, it opens to my deck and I was thinking of adding an awing that could be used in the summer but allow the sun in the winter.

Asked By Robert Hronek | Jun 23 12
7 Answers

Dense-packed cellulose in exterior walls

I have a 100+ year old home and there is currently no insulation in the walls. There is vinyl siding on the exterior and I think it was installed over the old wood siding. I am considering having dense-packed cellulose blown into my 2x4 exterior walls. Am I going to have a moisture problem if I do so? I've read conflicting opinions. I would appreciate any advice you can offer.

Asked By T S | Jul 2 15
8 Answers

Best practices for cutting foam?

What are people doing to cut EPS foam and control the dust and debris generated, considering the toxicity of the fire retardant chemicals in it?

Some argue the fire retardants are OK, because they don't leach out of the foam much. But it seems to me that the environmental release is probably dominated by the dust and debris generated.

Asked By Charlie Sullivan | Jul 6 15
66 Answers

Attic is hot after closed-cell spray foam was installed

Finished attic with 4 foot knee wall , duct located in knee wall to support 2 floor,extremely hot, BASF spray tite 2 inches with spray foam wraped around rafter in knee wall but with Sheetrock on ceiling just 2 in foam In cavity . Suggestions to handle heat issue. Richmond Virginia all attic seal very well thinking heat coming from rafters under Sheetrock. Thermal convection coming from rafters. Worked done in the winter, crawl space also done, house built 1994 colonial 2 story with garage with room above with dormer. Also in crawl space does it really need supply vent and return vent

Asked By Mark Hippchen | Jun 27 15
6 Answers

Solar orientation design trade-offs — tough decisions

I have the unique opportunity to build an net-zero spec house for an investor in my local area. It's a 1450 sq ft. ranch with a garage on a slab. Building to "pretty awesome" house principles. Air-tight, High R, Triple glazed euro windows, etc etc.

My dilemma is the trade-offs between curb appeal, design functionality and optimum solar orientation for solar PV and glazing.

Asked By Ben Freed | Jul 6 15
19 Answers

Boiler upgrade recommendation?

I’m currently looking to upgrade my old boiler as it developed a small crack and is leaking. My current boiler is a P-468U-wt (151,000 btu/hr) Weil-McClain oil-fired boiler with a 40-gallon hot water holding tank.

I’m getting two different suggestions from two of my plumbers and would love some input on their recommendations. One recommends replacing it with an Energy Kinetics System 2000 and the other one is suggesting a Navien Combi-boiler.

Asked By Joe Pavia | Jul 1 15
8 Answers

Relative value of air sealing at exterior sheathing

I am trying to understand the relative value of air sealing at the sheathing. To do this lets consider cost as the benchmark. I realize that there is value beyond cost but this is an easily quantifiable benchmark and the one that seems most resonate with my clients.

Asked By Hugh Stearns | Jul 1 15
15 Answers

Interesting SIP alternative

Came across this site EZ Sip (http://structuralinsulatedpanels.com/).

My original retirement house plan was the standard 2x6 wall framing, Roxul batt interior, with 1/2" ply exterior wall then 2" of Roxul then the furring strips with appropriate siding.

After seeing this concept and the associated savings in construction time, I am now in a bit of a quandary. Method does seem to meet interior and exterior insulation values, as well as issues of stud bleed through. Having ply on out side resolves potential accumulation of moisture due to dew point issues.

Asked By William Oldaker | May 19 15
18 Answers

General questions re: building in Zone 7

Long time reader, first question...(I apologize in advance for length).

I will be building in the next year or so, this is my 5th home I have had built and have managed all my previous builds, so I know a LITTLE about building, but not even close to a professional. I live on the very Southern edge of Zone 7 in Central Minnesota (in fact, Zone 6 boundary is about 2 miles South of me). We have some hot, humid days in the summer, but obviously heating in winter is much more intense.

Asked By Brad VanVickle | Feb 14 15
3 Answers

Do sumps pumps and drain tiles create a self fulfilling prophecy?

This may seem like an odd question so let me explain myself, and to be clear it is mostly philosophical and out of curiosity.

I own/have owned/lived in many different buildings in the Chicago area. My parents house is also nearby.

Asked By Michael D | Jul 6 15
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