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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November 14, 2008

:319 Eave Ventilation

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.

1:5:10:319 EcoTip: Insulation in eaves needs to be present to save energy loss and prevent ice dams from forming in areas with snow. If not properly installed the insulation can block the eave vents and prevent proper ventilation of the attic. The following illustration shows one way of insulating while allowing attic ventilation through the eave vents and helping to prevent ice dams from forming.

 185-eave-vent1

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :317, :318

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November 9, 2008

:314 Emergency Pipe Protection

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.

1:5:10:314 EcoTip:  If you believe your plumbing is at risk of freezing and bursting, you may be able to prevent that from happening by opening the spigot at the furthest faucet along the plumbing line and let it drip. Of course this wastes water, but it is likely to waste far less than if the plumbing were to burst. If you decide to catch the water in a bucket for later use, let it run directly into the bucket. Never leave hoses connected to spigots in the winter. The hose is more likely to freeze all the way back to the spigot causing a rupture.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :312, 313

Climate change isn”t only about warming. In my book- Extreme Weather Hits Home: Protecting Your Building From Climate Change, I discuss how to prepare your home for cold snaps and other extreme weather conditions.

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November 8, 2008

:313 Winter Thermal Imaging

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.

1:5:10:312 EcoTip: Winter thermal imaging can be effectively performed anytime the temperature difference between the inside and outside 20 degrees F or greater. The temperature difference is necessary so that cold spots such as missing insulation and air infiltration can be observed. This is a good way for checking to see if insulation in wall cavities or attics with plumbing are adequately insulated to prevent freezing of pipes.

184-missing-insulation-ir1 

The missing insulation shown in this Fluke thermal image shows up as being cold. If there were plumbing in the area where the insulation is missing – there would be a risk of it freezing in a cold snap.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :311

A thermographer qualified to perform energy audits should be able to take the information gathered during a thermal imaging scan of exterior walls with plumbing and calculate the outdoor temperature that would be cold enough to cause plumbing pipes to freeze. By having this information you can monitor weather reports and take additional precautions during cold snaps when your plumbing is at risk.

Climate change isn”t only about warming. In my book- Extreme Weather Hits Home: Protecting Your Building From Climate Change, I discuss how to prepare your home for cold snaps and other extreme weather conditions.

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October 16, 2008

:290 Attic Check

Filed under: :290 Attic Check — Tags: , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:25 am

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

1:5:10:290 EcoTip: With winter coming, its time to check your attic. If you can’t do this safely or know what you are looking for, it is best to have this done by a professional. If the temperature difference between inside and outside is at least 20 degrees F, then a cold weather thermal imaging of the attic will help to identify problem areas like missing insulation and air infiltration paths. As it gets cooler, it also makes sense to have your attic checked for condensation moisture on the underside of the roof sheathing which can lead to mold growth, material deterioration and a shorter roof life.

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 Additional Information:

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October 2, 2008

:276 Insulated Slab Edge

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

1:5:10:276 EcoTip: Insulating the foundation slab edge can help save from 7 to 11% of the heat lost from a typical home.

 

Source: Department of Energy

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 Additional Information:

When constructing a new home the EnergyEdge provides a concrete form that remains in place after the pour to provide slab insulation. During construction is the easiest time to insulate a slab.

 EnergyEdge

Additional information about insulating slabs and foundations is available from the Builders Foundation Handbook

 

Thermal image of heat loss from slab edge courtesy of Restoration Consultants www.moistureview.com

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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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May 22, 2008

:143 Insulate Pipes

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

1:5:10:143 EcoTip: Insulating the water pipes leading to and from your hot water heater helps save energy and water.

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 Additional Information: 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy:

Insulating your hot water pipes reduces heat loss and can raise water temperature 2ºF–4ºF hotter than uninsulated pipes can deliver, allowing for a lower water temperature setting. You also won’t have to wait as long for hot water when you turn on a faucet or showerhead, which helps conserve water.

Insulate all accessible hot water pipes, especially within 3 feet of the water heater. It’s also a good idea to insulate the cold water inlet pipes for the first 3 feet.

Use quality pipe insulation wrap, or neatly tape strips of fiberglass insulation around the pipes. Pipe sleeves made with polyethylene or neoprene foam are the most commonly used insulation. Match the pipe sleeve’s inside diameter to the pipe’s outside diameter for a snug fit. Place the pipe sleeve so the seam will be face down on the pipe. Tape, wire, or clamp (with a cable tie ) it every foot or two to secure it to the pipe. If you use tape, some recommend using acrylic tape instead of duct tape.

On gas water heaters, keep insulation at least 6 inches from the flue. If pipes are within 8 inches of the flue, your safest choice is to use fiberglass pipe-wrap (at least 1-inch thick) without a facing. You can use either wire or aluminum foil tape to secure it to the pipe.

Source: http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13060

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May 21, 2008

:142 Water Heater Insulation

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

1:5:10:142 EcoTip: According to the US Department of Energy: “Unless your water heater’s storage tank already has a high R-value of insulation (at least R-24), adding insulation to it can reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45%. This will save you around 4%–9% in water heating costs.”

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 Additional Information:

If you don’t know your water heater tank’s R-value, touch it. A tank that’s warm to the touch needs additional insulation.

Insulating your storage water heater tank is fairly simple and inexpensive, and it will pay for itself in about a year. You can find pre-cut jackets or blankets available from around $10–$20. Choose one with an insulating value of at least R-8. Some utilities sell them at low prices, offer rebates, and even install them at a low or no cost.

Additional information is available at: http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13070

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May 11, 2008

:132 Check Insulation

Filed under: :132 Check Insulation — Tags: , , , — John Banta @ 12:29 am

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

1:5:10:132 EcoTip: Since a hot summer is likely to be on the way, its a good time to check the accessible insulation to be sure it is good condition. Make sure it is still tightly in position and hasn’t become bunched or damaged and that you have the recommended levels.

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Additional Information: 

How Much Insulation Does My Home Need?

For insulation recommendations tailored to your home, visit the DOE Zip Code Insulation Calculator.

* These recommendations are cost-effective levels of insulation based on the best available information on local fuel and materials costs and weather conditions. Consequently, the levels may differ from current local building codes. In addition, the apparent fragmentation of the recommendations is an artifact of these data and should not be considered absolute minimum requirements.

 

  1. R-18, R-22, and R-28 exterior wall systems can be achieved by either cavity insulation or cavity insulation with insulating sheathing.
    For 2 in. x 4 in. walls, use either 3½ in. thick R-15 or 3½ in. thick R-13 fiber glass insulation with insulating sheathing.
    For 2 in. x 6 in. walls, use either 5½ in. thick R-21 or 6¼ in. thick R-19 fiber glass insulation.
  2. Insulate crawl space walls only if the crawl space is dry all year, the floor above is not insulated, and all ventilation to the crawl space is blocked.
    A vapor retarder (e.g., 4- or 6-mil polyethylene film) should be installed on the ground to reduce moisture migration into the crawl space.
  3. No slab edge insulation is recommended.

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