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4 Answers

What do I do about my backdrafting oil-furnace?

Last weekend after noticing my bath fan wasn’t working. I went into my attic to see what was going on. I found the vinyl flex duct that was snaking across the attic floor full of water, so I swapped the fan for a high-quality model and did a nice job running 4-in. aluminum pipe to the outside. The fan is rated at 70 cfm and now my bath doesn’t fill with steam and my windows are no longer fogged up in the morning.

In Mechanicals | Asked By Patrick McCombe | Nov 19 14
0 Answers

Masonry tie/anchor between concrete wall and stone facade

I am looking for a masonry tie that limits thermal bridging between concrete wall and natural stone or brick facade. The planned wall assembly looks like 6-8 inch structural concrete, 7 inch rockwool insulation, 3/4 inch air gap, 4-6 inch natural or engineered stone facade.
There a wall ties from German manufacturers that reduce thermal bridging. The product is accord to the German DIN Norm and has CE certification that is valid in the EU and Scandinavia.
Are there US product that I am not aware of or is there an inexpensive way to get the foreign products approved by an inspector.

In Green building techniques | Asked By Andreas Ryll | Nov 19 14
4 Answers

Unvented roof underlayment choice

My questions are related to part of the reply Mr. Holladay made to the "Proper Underlayment for Unvented Asphalt Roof" question posted on 11-14-14.

In General questions | Asked By Roger Berry | Nov 18 14
1 Answer

Is there any low- or no-VOC, mold-resistant sheetrock and wall plaster on the market (for basement reconstruction)?

It is my understanding that sheetrock and wall plaster are typically high-VOC items, especially mold-resistant sheetrock.

Also, are carpet tiles a good low- or no-VOC flooring option?

In Green products and materials | Asked By Nathaniel Strosberg | Nov 18 14
9 Answers

Improving the airtightness of an average entry door

It's been cold this week, and I'm fighting drafts around my doors. Most doors have the same air sealing method, involving a foam kerf seal. It's an inexpensive and robust design. (Remember the Stanley magnetic seals?- those were tight, but made of conductive steel). http://www.homedepot.com/p/Frost-King-E-O-1-in-x-7-ft-Brown-Replacement-...

The problem is that the door is not held tightly enough against the seals. But if you use the deadbolt to hold it tight, the deadbolt can be difficult to operate, and it will wear out faster.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Kevin Dickson, MSME | Nov 17 14
2 Answers

Am I crazy or is the NIST house really confusing?

I was all excited to dig into the details of the NIST NZERTF. I was slowly moving away from SIPS and looking a lot at the PERSIST building method. I was reading articles on the building science center's site about the "perfect wall". All standard building science nerd stuff. Then I get onto the NIST site and click on the "centerfold", the Fire, Plumbing, Mechanical, and Electrical Plans PDF. I started scrolling though the pages and reading all of the details. What should have been a good time went south pretty quick. Looking at DHW I see a HPWH.

In General questions | Asked By Joseph Welker | Nov 18 14
3 Answers

My question is ice dam related. I am looking for a permanent solution.

I get ice dams near my gutters every year and would like a permanent solution. I am in the process of getting it air sealed and insulated but I have solid soffits with small vents about every 6 feet. s this enough ventilation and if not what can I do to make it right? Thanks in advance.

In General questions | Asked By al saccoach | Nov 15 14
2 Answers

Taping Zip Panel Seams

We have installed the Zip-R panels on our house, but the seams have not yet been taped.

With the cold weather here, there will be lots more days with the temperature below the minimum 20 degrees recommended.

The house is in climate zone 5. Some of the panels were installed in August, some just recently.

Do we need to get the seams tapped if we have a couple of days of warm temperatures now, or can we wait until the Spring to tape the joints before putting on the siding?

In General questions | Asked By James Kuszaj | Nov 18 14
1 Answer

Can a skylight ever be energy positive?

Hello,

I'm curious as to whether skylights are always net losers, or if one could be favorable given the right conditions. In general they seem to be avoided due to the heat gain potential and nighttime loses.

In PassivHaus | Asked By Ryan Griffin | Nov 18 14
8 Answers

Options for temporary heat in MN winter

I'm interested in the opinions of builders and others regarding temporary heat during contruction. My southern MN home is enclosed, windows in, and exterior walls spray foamed. Not as air tight as it will be, but pretty tight nevertheless.

Options include:
1. electric resistance space heat - pros: convenient, no fumes cons: most costly option per BTU, safety concerns for unattended heaters
2. portable kerosene heaters - pros: have unit available cons: fumes (about choked me when used last Saturday), need to refill reservoir tank every 36hr

In Mechanicals | Asked By Kent Jeffery | Nov 18 14
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