Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Making Our Home a Home Sweet Home: Part 9 – From nasty to nice

In previous posts we have discussed the stack effect, and insulated/sealed lids on the top or bottom of a house.  In Part 7, we took care of the top part, and since we added the ventilation provision with an ERV, there is no longer any concern about unhealthy conditions due to a tighter house.  I guess the pictures speak for the title.  I didn’t stop with just a lid on the top of the house because I feel strongly that your crawl space is part of your house, and whatever it lets in is welcome to enter the house as well.  That was particularly painful when I looked in and found this:

A vented crawl space is dependent upon the whims of wind currents and variable relative humidities of that air.  Warmer, humid summer air tends to cool upon entering a crawl space, which means moisture can condense on metal or other surfaces, and promote growth of various kinds.  A poorly installed or vapor barrier means gallons of moisture are evaporating up into the space (10 gallons per 1000 sqft of exposed soil in a 24 hour period), putting unnecessary load on heating and air systems, and bringing unnecessary yuck up into the house.  That’s why I did this:

You’ll see that I have not yet removed the fiberglass insulation.  With spray foam insulation on the exterior walls, the floor insulation is now unnecessary, and actually hinders the maintenance of a consistent temperature between the spaces.  But, it’s expensive to have others do, and I haven’t gotten to it yet! I know you have projects like that.

While getting ready for the crawl space, I realized, while installing a new French door, that there was no insulation whatsoever in the pine paneled walls in our 50 year-old addition off the back of the house.  A foam crew was already there, and a few days later, we had a delightfully insulated space (only walls in the house!), which we’re now converting to a bed, bath and mudroom for the growing family.

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