1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

February 19, 2008

:050 Soil Mats

insulated_crawl_space_1_2.gif www.eere.energy.gov 

Suggested Review – :040, :041, :047, :048, :049

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:050 Tip: Placing a layer of polyethelene plastic on the surface of the soil can reduce crawlspace moisture levels ten fold. The barrier only helps with water vapor.

If you ever have standing water in your crawlspace you need tomorrows 1:5:10:365 tip.

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Additional Information

Adding a soil membrane can go a long way toward keeping moisture from damaging a home. The following video of an installation is from Matt Leech at www.crawlspaceinfo.com

Crawlspaces can be dangerous places. During my career I have inspected over 1000 crawlspaces. Many had conditions that were extremely dangerous. Keeping your crawlspace clean and dry with the soil isolated from the building can go a long way towards making crawlspaces safer.

Here’s a photo from Matt of a completed installation.

If you don’t know how to safely enter and inspect a crawlspace, you should leave it to professionals.

Tomorrow’s post will discuss sump pumps – a necessity if your crawlspace is taking on water.

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February 18, 2008

:049 Wet Crawlspaces

Suggested Review – :040, :041, :047, :048

1:5:10:049 Tip: Wet crawlspaces are more likely to have pest and fungal infestations. The water may also undermine the foundation causing it to slip. All of these can lead to costly repairs under your home. It is best to catch these types of problems early.

Tomorrow I will have information on correcting damp crawlspaces.

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Additional Information

Crawlspaces can be dangerous places. During my career I have inspected over 1000 crawlspaces. Many had conditions that were extremely dangerous.

If you don’t know how to safely enter and inspect a crawlspace, you should leave it to professionals.

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February 17, 2008

:048 Crawlspace Check

Filed under: :048 Crawlspace Check — Tags: , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

New York State Dept of Env Conservation

Suggested Review – :040, :041, :047

1:5:10:048 Tip: It is important that crawlspaces remain clean. Wood and other types of cellulose debris promote termites and other types of insect and fungal infestation that can degrade your home. Many of the treatments for these pests are quite toxic. It is far better to avoid infestations in the first place by keeping all debris out of the crawlspace. 

Tomorrow I will have more information on wet crawlspaces.

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Additional Information

Crawlspaces can be dangerous places. During my career I have inspected over 1000 crawlspaces. Many had conditions that were extremely dangerous.

If you don’t know how to safely enter and inspect a crawlspace, you should leave it to professionals.

 

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February 16, 2008

:047 Isolate the Crawlspace

foamed_holes_t.jpg

Suggested Review – :040, :041

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:047 Tip: If you have a crawlspace under your home, there is a good chance that there are pathways for air to infiltrate. Sealing those pathways can help improve indoor air quality and energy efficiency. Some of the typical pathways include places where electrical and plumbing wires penetrate the structure. Expanding foam insulation is available to fill these openings. Large openings may need to be bridged with screen to give the foam a place to anchor.

Tomorrow I will have more information on checking crawlspaces.

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Additional Information

Crawlspaces can be dangerous places. During my career I have inspected over 1000 crawlspaces. Many had conditions that were extremely dangerous.

If you don’t know how to safely enter and inspect a crawlspace, you should leave it to professionals.

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Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

February 15, 2008

:046 Isolate the Garage

Suggested Review – :039, :040, :041, :045

Today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip has more information about sealing out unwanted infiltration.

1:5:10:046 Tip: Attached garages can contribute significant air pollutants to the home. Our garages are used to store vehicles, lawn mowers, and various types of chemicals that can outgas harmful pollutants. These gases can be carried into the home through inadequate door gaskets and air infiltration through electric outlets and sill plate seals. Attached garages are a very important place to use the sealing techniques we’ve covered over the last few days.

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Additional Information – none today. The additional information dealing with this is in :039, :040, :041, :045

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February 14, 2008

:045 Blower Door Test

Suggested Review – :039, :040, :041, :044

Today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip is about another way to test for infiltration coming from unintended places.

inspect1.jpg Blower Door Testing

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=behind_the_walls.btw_inspection

1:5:10:046 Tip: A blower door is a calibrated fan that can be used to determine the amount of air leakage in a building. It can be used in combination with thermal imaging or a wizard stick to “see” the places where energy is being lost and air quality compromised.

The blower door tests the amount of leakage by blowing a measured amount of air into the home. The pressurization of the home is then measured to determine the amount of air that is flowing out. If air entry points such as doors and windows are closed, then the air that is escaping is exiting through other openings such as can lighting (:044), electrical outlets (:041), and other openings. 

Tomorrow I will talk about air infiltration from garages.

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Additional Information

Check with your local public utility. Many offer low-cost or no-cost energy audits including blower door testing, or they may be able to provide a referral.

Additional information about blower doors is included in this this Oakridge National Laboratory document:

http://eber.ed.ornl.gov/DOE_airsealing%20GO-10099-767.pdf

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February 13, 2008

:044 ICAT Can Lights

Suggested Review – :039, :040, :041, :042, :043

Today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip is about air tight can lights designed to be in contact with the insulation.

1:5:10:044 Tip: Ceiling can type lights have historically wasted a lot of energy. Many states are now requiring Insulation Contact and Air Tight (ICAT) can lights for new construction, but this means there are a lot of old leaky ones. Don’t merely try sealing a leaky can light or covering it with insulation. The heat build-up can create a fire. Instead, the light fixture should be retrofitted with an approved kit, or replaced with a ITIC unit.  

 infiltration-2.jpg

Image courtesy of www.moistureview.com

The above thermal image shows a can type light with a dark ring around it. The dark ring represents air infiltration. The lighter blue areas represents insulation missing between the ceiling joists. Placing a puff of smoke from the Wizard Stick (:039) near the can light further demonstrates the air infiltration.

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Additional Information

Here’s some information from California’s title 24 standards about recessed air tight insulation contact lights and their payback period:

http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/2005standards/archive/documents/measures/25/25_2002-03_RECESSED_CEC.PDF

Aubuchon Hardware has ITAC fixtures available for new construction and remodeling in packs of 6 for $62.94:

atic.jpg  New construction:

http://electrical.hardwarestore.com/13-42-recessed/airtight-construction-recess-can-638640.aspx

 atic2.jpg Remodeling:

http://electrical.hardwarestore.com/13-42-recessed/air-tight-remodeling-recess-can-638639.aspx

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February 12, 2008

:043 Sealing Ducts

Filed under: :043 Sealing Ducts — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Suggested Review – :039, :040, :041, :042

Today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip provides information about sealing leaky duct-work.

1:5:10:043 Tip: Leaky furnace ducts and connections result in energy loss. They should be sealed using secure strapping and an HVAC system approved mastic. Duct tape tends to fail – often with expensive results.

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Additional Information

EPA’s EnergyStar program has excellent information on correcting duct leaks at: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=behind_the_walls.btw_ducts

duct_problems.jpg 

Major sources of leakage include:

A. Leaky duct connections

B. Leaky return ducts

C. Furniture blocking registers

D. Leaks at furnace and air filter slot and duct tape failures

E. Fallen duct insulation

F. Leaky supply ducts

G. Kinks in duct-work restricting airflow

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February 11, 2008

:042 Duct Leakage

noc20070101_0146.jpg Fluke IR Fusion Source: Restoration Consultants www.moistureview.com

Suggested Review – :039, :040, :041

Today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet deals with finding ductwork leaks to prevent and energy waste and save money.

1:5:10:042 Tip: Thermal imaging and duct blaster testing are two techniques that can be used to identify duct leakage. When ducts leak into attic, crawlspaces or wall cavities, they waste energy by heating or cooling a space that is not occupied or supposed to be conditioned. Air conditioned air leakage into these unintended areas may result in moisture condensation and mold growth. Air pressure differences created by the leaks can suck or blow insulation, dust and other air pollutants into the occupied space.

Tomorrow I will talk about ways to correct duct leakage.

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Additional Information

inspect2.jpg Duct Blaster

Source: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=behind_the_walls.btw_inspection

An energy audit using a duct blaster will tell you how much energy is being lost. A thermal imaging scan can indicate where the leaks are located. Thermal scans of the building envelope are best done when there is at least a 20 degree temperature difference between the inside and outside. Duct work evaluations can be done any time of year as long as the system is either heating or cooling.

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February 10, 2008

:041 Sealing Out Infiltration

Suggested Review – :039, :040

Today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet deals with sealing outlets to prevent air infiltration and save energy.

p0001862.jpg

source: www.cityofames.org/.../SelfAudit/Default.htm

1:5:10:041 Tip: Inexpensive gaskets are available that can be used to seal wall outlets to help prevent air infiltration.  You can purchase these at any hardware store. Make sure to check with the Wizard Stick after installation to be sure the gasket has properly sealed the outlet cover.

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Additional Information

The EPA EnergyStar program has an excellent guide to sealing infiltration leaks at:

http://www.energystar.gov/ia/home_improvement/home_sealing/DIY_COLOR_100_dpi.pdf

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