Airtightness

HRV

Posted by on Apr 11, 2012 in Airtightness, Ventilation | 60 comments

HRV

As stated elsewhere on our site, there’s no ‘magic’ to creating a super-efficient, comfortable home.  Technique trumps technology, and if you had to choose between a carefully built shell or an exotic gadget, the shell wins every time.  Nearly everything we’ve used in the construction of our house is readily available on the market today, and the few things we’ve had to import were brought here for their superior performance, not their alien technologies.  That said, our tours invariably elicit the most questions about the heat recovery ventilator, or HRV. ...

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Day 63: Blower Door Test #2, Part II

Posted by on Oct 26, 2011 in Airtightness | 2 comments

As pointed out in Part I of this update, the blower door test was a success from the beginning.  I’m not sure what everyone was expecting (well, I predicted ‘heartbreak’ and Tim thought we’d start at 500-600 CFM, so clearly we were pessimistic) but we started off with a great number on the very first test.  Take a look at everyone’s reaction to the first reading (ignore what Ryan’s saying about Al complaining – he certainly does like to complain, but it’s an endearing trait): Starting out under 300 CFM did not mean that our work was done. ...

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Day 63: Blower Door Test #2, Part I

Posted by on Oct 24, 2011 in Airtightness | 0 comments

Day 63: Blower Door Test #2, Part I

Tim has a concise post on his blog, so check it out when you have a chance.  If, on the other hand, you want a lengthy explanation, I can help you out  I’ve had a lot of questions about what a blower door test is, how it works and what it means, so I’ll try and break it down here a bit. A ‘blower door‘ is basically a plastic sheet that fits into an exterior door frame of a house.  It has gaskets on the sides to create a complete seal against the doorway (the door can be taken off to allow for a flush fit) and metal bracing to adjust the sheet to all sides of the...

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Days 59 & 60: Steel Walls

Posted by on Oct 17, 2011 in Airtightness, Basement, Insulation | 0 comments

Days 59 & 60: Steel Walls

The basement is nearing the end of the structural and air sealing work it will see for this project, and the end can’t come soon enough for me.  While I fully expect to spend many more hours in the basement dealing with ventilation, heating, electrical and plumbing systems, I don’t think I could handle another week of looking at the basement walls, floors or ceiling. As the 19th comes closer – and the blower test with it! – we are working our way through the air barrier checklist.  One of the most common places for air infiltration is the connection between the...

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Days 57 & 58: The Windows Go In

Posted by on Oct 12, 2011 in Airtightness, Basement, Windows | 1 comment

Days 57 & 58: The Windows Go In

So much for daily updates!  Life is catching up with us, leaving precious little time for anything other than survival.  I’ll try to get a couple more updates in this week, but no promises The windows went in a couple of days ago, which definitely detracted from the open air feeling I’ve been getting overnight.  The only real downside is that without insulation, the house heats up like a solar oven during our unseasonably hot days (for those of you not in Minnesota, it’s been in the 80s for the past couple of weeks, about 20 degrees above normal). We have a blower door...

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Days 55 & 56: The Facade Emerges

Posted by on Oct 7, 2011 in Airtightness, Exterior Design, Windows | 4 comments

Days 55 & 56: The Facade Emerges

The airtight elements of the house have to work in concert to guarantee that there are no places where air can penetrate the building’s shell and introduce moisture damage.  Some of those places are obvious, like the windows and doors, where most houses have holes cut out of the wall.  Fortunately, those are some of the easiest places to air seal, as our windows and doors have triple seals, as well as installation details that make it simple to keep air movement to zero.  The real difficulty is managing the many places where the shell transitions from one material to another. In our...

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