1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

December 30, 2008

:365 Soy Seal Foam Insulation

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:365 EcoTip: Soy Seal polyurethane foam sealant contains approximately 12% soy based polyol and no CFCs. It is Greenguard Certified. The product is available in an insulating foam for gaps and cracks and another for windows and doors.

soyseal1 Source: http://www.soyseal.net/

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 Additional Information:

Suggested: :071,  :072

It is important to use the correct expanding foam for sealing. Using a gap and crack foam for windows and doors may cause damage to the openings by expanding too forcefully. 

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October 10, 2008

:284 Whole House Fan Seal

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

1:5:10:284 EcoTip: With fall weather beginning it is time to seal up infiltration openings from whole house fans and evaporative coolers. These openings generally have a louvered opening that is kept closed when they are not operating, but that is not enough to keep large amount of unwanted cold air from entering the home in fall and winter. Sealing covers are available that can be installed and removed quickly.

Source: http://www.batticdoor.com/atticlouvercover.html

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 Additional Information:

In addition to helping to conserve energy, sealing the opening where the whole house attic fan opens into the home can help reduce the amount of moisture that flows from your home into the attic. When that moisture hits the cold under surface of the roof it can condense leading to mold growth and deterioration.

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August 8, 2008

:221 Filtration Soiling

Filed under: :221 Filtration Soiling — Tags: , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:53 am

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

1:5:10:221 EcoTip: Filtration soiling is a clue that air is flowing from areas that may present an indoor air quality problems. If you notice a dark strip forming along the line where carpet meets a wall – this is filtration soiling. As air passes through the wall, particles of dust and debris are filtered out by the carpet. Of course carpets were never designed to be air purifiers, but this is an important clue that can indicate there is an issue with air infiltration.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :039, :040, :041, :046, :047

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August 6, 2008

:219 Summer Thermal Image Scan

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

1:5:10:219 EcoTip: Thermal imaging uses infrared energy to track sources of energy loss. There are many ways thermal imaging can be used to help diagnose hidden conditions but they all rely on temperature differences, Having you home scanned in summer can help identify issues related to hot outdoor conditions that might not be visible during other times of the year.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :036, 037

The thermal image above shows areas of missing insulation in the summer (the red/orange areas). Compare this to :036 which shows heat escaping from a home’s eves in winter (the red/orange areas) and :037 which shows cold spots (the blue areas) which represent missing insulation in winter.

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June 27, 2008

:179 Well-Tuned Home

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

1:5:10:179 EcoTip: The well-tuned home can help exclude elevated levels of outdoor contaminants when conditions are bad.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :039, :040, :041, :042, :043, :044, :045  

This week it has become apparent how important a well-tuned home is when adverse outdoor conditions are present. There are over 800 wildfires burning throughout California. The smoke today was so bad the sun could barely be seen through the haze. The nearest fire is about 20 miles away, but the weather conditions seem to be concentrating the smoke at ground level throughout the entire valley. Even being outside for a few seconds is quite uncomfortable. We’ve been keeping our home’s doors and windows closed and that seems to be doing a good job at keeping the smoke out.

Homes that aren’t as well-tuned will tend to have greater problems with smoke or other contaminants entering or infiltrating from the outside. This is because they will tend to be depressurized causing them to suck outdoor air into the building through available pathways. A major source of depressurization would be caused by leaking duct-work and an unbalanced ventilation system. The low level of chemical out-gassing we have from our furniture and indoor finishings means we can also keep our house more closed up during the times when it becomes necessary.

It may seem like sealing the home would be more important, but sealing isn’t enough. The EcoTips listed above in the suggested review are some of the main tips that can help balance a home to keep outdoor contaminants like smoke from entering. Science

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May 14, 2008

:135 Caulk

Filed under: :135 Caulk — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

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

1:5:10:135 EcoTip: Keeping penetrations and seams caulked to prevent infiltration is as important for keeping cool in summer as it is for keeping warm in winter. Caulk is used to seal openings that do not move. Weather stripping (:134) is used for sealing surfaces that meet when they are closed such as doors and windows.

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 Additional Information

The Department of Energy has good information about weatherizing homes with caulk at:

http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/housing/weather/weather.htm

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May 13, 2008

:134 Weather Strips

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

1:5:10:134 EcoTip: Adding or repairing weather strips is just as important for keeping cool in summer as it is for keeping warm in winter. Weather stripping is used for sealing surfaces that meet when they are closed such as doors and windows.

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 Additional Information

The Department of Energy has good information about weatherizing homes at:

http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/housing/weather/weather.htm

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May 1, 2008

:122 HEPA Filters

Filed under: :122 HEPA Filters — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

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

1:5:10:122 EcoTip: A recent Danish study has shown that when HEPA filtration is used to reduce airborne particle levels in the homes of elderly participants their vascular blood flow was increased. The HEPA filtration reduced particle levels by about 60%.

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 Additional Information

Suggested Review – :041, :042, :043, :110

I like portable HEPA filters better than those that are installed in HVAC systems. Portable systems allow you to focus the filtration in the area being occupied, and are much more serviceable and affordable.

Preventing infiltration (:041, :042, :043) and using a more efficient filter in the air handling system as described in :110 provides a pre-filtration of the air, which then can be further scrubbed by the HEPA filter.

 More information about the Danish study is at:

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/02/15/hepa-filters.html#skip300x250

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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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