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17 Answers

How can I be sure our contractor installed insulation correctly?

Recently our contractor indicated he was complete with the insulation installed with cellulose in the existing walls at our home and wanted a signoff for customer satisfaction. Our home has cedar shingles, tar paper and pine tongue and groove sheathing. He removed the outer shingle and drilled through the tar paper and pine sheathing to install cellulose. THen he installed a styrofoam plug and put shingles back over. However, my husband was concerned that the area that was drilled and then filled with styrofoam may have moisture or leakage.

In General questions | Asked By Katie Nunez | Aug 10 14
0 Answers

Residential Desiccant Cooling

We are designing a house in a 5A climate zone and am wondering if anyone has any experience using a desiccant wheel system for residential cooling?

In Mechanicals | Asked By Nathan Kipnis | Aug 14 14
2 Answers

I-Joists, Fiberglass Batts, Joist Trak and Energy Star Checklist

I'm about to break ground on a 1.5 story, 2100 sf Cape Cod house on Cape Cod (lots of knee-walls). The first floor is to be heated with Wirsbo Joist Trak. Also, the large room over the garage will have an insulated floor to allow for future conditioned space(mini-split). The house will use 11 7/8 I-Joists exclusively due to the open concept design and all floor surfaces above I-Joists will be glue and screw 3/4 plywood. My building code requires I use/meet the energy star checklist.

In General questions | Asked By A Guy | Aug 13 14
6 Answers

Tiling shower floor or plastic tray

Is there a safe way to tile a shower floor with a drain if I don't use the plastic tray like most showers have?
I heard someone mention there is a plastic tray that you can tile over?
I know the tray has less leakage and mildew mold but the tiles look so much nicer and richer.

In Interior design | Asked By maria teri | Sep 8 10
1 Answer

AFM Safecoat Caulking Compound vs Eco-bond

Hi everyone,

I'm looking at caulking the corners of the floor of my tile shower and looking into using AFM Safecoat Caulking Compound vs Eco-bond kitchen/bath. Has anyone had any experience with either product and would you recommend/not recommend either?


In Green products and materials | Asked By Lee Taylor | Dec 30 13
9 Answers

How to Address Luddites in the Industry

This letter to the editor was published in our local paper:

Energy efficient AC units may cost more in the long run

I'm a contractor who was an engineering professor at A&M. I'd like to address the issue of air conditioning efficiency.

For some people, efficiency seems to have religious overtones. If you just want to be cost effective, the higher efficiency model may be more expensive in the long run.

BTU has suspended its rebate program while College Station Utilities continues its program, but has raised the minimum SEER energy-efficiency rating from 14 to 15.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Hugh Stearns | Aug 8 14
8 Answers

Window and Door Installations in “Thick” Walls

In reading various posts, I have noticed some innuendos and outright comments regarding the difficulties of installing windows and doors in framed walls with out-sulation and double stud walls. Being a novice at best, I would really love to hear opinions about the trials and tribulations involved. To structure the discussion a bit, please assume two wall designs.

Design 1: Drywall, 2x6 24” OC studs filled with R-23 MW batts, taped plywood sheathing (air barrier), 3” MW, WRB, furring, siding.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Rob Shuman | Aug 11 14
1 Answer

Anyone have any idea when hyper heat mini-splits that can run multiple indoor units (I need three) on a singly condenser will come to market? Thanks, Dan

I am about to install solar panels at my home. I want to do mini-splits in my house, but because if have a Cape with many small-ish rooms, I would need multiple indoor units. I live in Central VT, so the hyper heat units would be the way to go (it is cold here). However, apparently I can only do one indoor unit per outdoor heat pump on the current hyper technology. I've been told that Mitsubishi has the technology and will release it to the market any day.

In Mechanicals | Asked By DANIEL GOTTSEGEN | Aug 12 14
1 Answer


Client wants to move Hot Tub indoors into it's own 9x9 room. Whole house HRV will be running continuously; I will add dedicated exhaust fan; considering Panasonic Whisper, but have no idea how much ventilation will be needed to exhaust moisture when tub cover is off. Suggestions?

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Bob Irving | Aug 11 14
6 Answers

Best insulation for ventilated crawlspace

For a ventilated crawlspace in a small house near (relatively humid) Asheville, NC, which would be better, Roxul ComfortBatts between the floor joists, or Roxul ComfortBoard nailed to the bottom of the joists, or foil-faced polyiso nailed to the bottom of the joists? Any of these choices would likely be better than the fiberglass batts that are presently hanging at weird angles. I worry about creating an empty cavity if I attach the insulation to the bottom of the joists. I'm not sure I can afford to insulate between the joists and under them.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Stuart Murray | Aug 8 14
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