Last week we talked about the what makes a house “tight”, the air control layer. This week we will continue with the building shell layers discussion, number 3 on our list is the vapor control layer or vapor retarder.
Last week we talked about the outer most layer in a building, the rain control layer. This week, we will continue with the building shell layers discussion. The air control layer is next on the list. Continue reading “Building Science-Building Shell Layers-Air Control Layer”
The next four blog postings are all going to discuss a few of the most important parts of a building, the four layers in a building shell. I’m leaving out the “structural layer”, though it’s the most important part of a house, the other layers are less understood. Continue reading “Building Science-Building Shell Layers-Rain Control Layer”
As an energy auditor, I am often in homes because of high electrical bill complaints. Conducting electrical testing and calculating energy costs are part of my job. There is a formula for figuring these electrical costs. Continue reading “The Energy Audit-Ohms Law”
Today, we are going to have our first dedicated discussion about a specific building material, sheet insulation. I originally had this blog named Foam Insulation but changed the name because not all sheet insulations are a type of foam, there are a few non-foam products, one that I will discuss last. Continue reading “Construction Materials-Rigid Sheet Insulation”
In my last blog, I talked about vapor diffusion and the perm rating. Sometimes it is better to eliminate the polyethylene sheeting most builders in Minnesota are using for both the air and vapor barrier. The problem then becomes passing the blower door test. Continue reading “Building Science-Passing a Blower Door Test”
Builders in northern Minnesota have been using polyethylene sheeting on the warm in winter side of wall assemblies for years. Beginning in the 1960’s, we were taught that the poly would stop vapor diffusion in building cavity, keeping walls dryer. During the 1990’s and 2000’s, building scientists determined that only a small percentage of wall wetness comes from vapor diffusion. So, how does moisture end up inside building assemblies in a northern climate? Mostly by air leaks! Continue reading “Building Science-Perm”
Summer has arrived, bringing warm temperatures and higher humidity. As a kid, I remember hot nights sleeping in the upper story of an old farm house, often also suffering from sunburn. Now, I can’t imagine not having at least one cool room in the house for relief. What a wimp I’ve become. Many homes in Minnesota have some sort of air conditioning today. This blog posting is going to discuss the different types, efficiencies, and operating costs of common air conditioners along with the basics of how they operate.
Continue reading “The Energy Audit-Air Conditioners”
I’ve talked about blower door testing several times on this blog. This discussion will dive deeper into this type of test, when it should be completed, the different tests done with the blower door, and interpreting the information. Continue reading “The Energy Audit-Blower Door Test”
Windows, sometimes referred to as glazing or fenestration, have been an important part of our homes for centuries. They let light in and still keep the weather out. Most are designed to open and let fresh air in and, in an emergency, allow someone to get out. Sometimes that includes a sneaking teenager.
Continue reading “Construction Materials-Windows”