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Old 06-04-2012, 04:20 PM   #1
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OK I will admit I am guilty of doing this, Sealing up a home so darn air tight. Even Tupperware would look like it could not hold a seal. Then to comply with the IBC air quality standards I have installed windows with Vents that are built in to the frame of the window to let in fresh air and have a draft in the room. I also have placed the right R rating insulation in the walls and ceiling only to have a whole house fan to be installed to draw fresh air from the windows that have vents to create a draft in the home to suck out the hot air that was in the home in the winter only to have it replaced with cold out door air. So my question why? Do we do this? would it not be cheaper to not seal up the whole house and have natural air leaks and drafts VS the new way of doing what as been done for ever? Thoughts on this please.

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Old 06-04-2012, 07:42 PM   #2
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OK I will admit I am guilty of doing this, Sealing up a home so darn air tight. Even Tupperware would look like it could not hold a seal. Then to comply with the IBC air quality standards I have installed windows with Vents that are built in to the frame of the window to let in fresh air and have a draft in the room. I also have placed the right R rating insulation in the walls and ceiling only to have a whole house fan to be installed to draw fresh air from the windows that have vents to create a draft in the home to suck out the hot air that was in the home in the winter only to have it replaced with cold out door air. So my question why? Do we do this? would it not be cheaper to not seal up the whole house and have natural air leaks and drafts VS the new way of doing what as been done for ever? Thoughts on this please.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:29 PM   #3
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See that is what I mean nobody can give a answer to that. Block all the air leaks. then have wholes in your windows? And a fan that blows out all your heat in the winter time and the cool in the summer time. It would be better to just leave the cracks alone and let there be a few drafts.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:51 PM   #4
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Are you trying to get a house certified or what? A house has to be able to breathe bottom line, but due to a lot of poor construction a lot of homes were more a fresh air home. Windows have weep holes for a reason if that is what you are calling a vent. How about a HVAC install that is installed with a 15% air lose is that good? IMO No but a 3% would be acceptable. How many units have you seen that have aluminum tape at the unit? I am probably off track but not to sure of what you are looking for.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:43 AM   #5
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Are you trying to get a house certified or what? A house has to be able to breathe bottom line, but due to a lot of poor construction a lot of homes were more a fresh air home. Windows have weep holes for a reason if that is what you are calling a vent. How about a HVAC install that is installed with a 15% air lose is that good? IMO No but a 3% would be acceptable. How many units have you seen that have aluminum tape at the unit? I am probably off track but not to sure of what you are looking for.
No this is no weep hole this is a vent built right in to the window frame open to the out side. Gee I thought we had to have the house sealed then have windows that bring in air? And to have a whole house fan move over 100 CMF of air run for twice in 24 hours for eight hours min so with that any sealing and chinking you done is moot. It would be easier to just forget to calk and seal the bottom ant top plates and stud cavities and just toss in insulation sheet rock and call it good. That is what I am have a problem with it is so stupid to seal up a home only to have window and a fan undo what you did. And I will post photos of the vents.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:55 AM   #6
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I asked the HVAC rep about what you are talking about a few years ago. He said, from their(hvac) perspective, is the house should be sealed but needs a certain percentage of fresh air. So, they want to do this by adding in equipment that brings in fresh air in a controlled manner and amount and runs it through the hvac gear so it can be heated or cooled, ed-humidified, and filtered. I see more HVAC contractors selling 'indoor air quality' as a result, and less of them selling '3 tons for 400 sq feet'. I think there is code here that requires a certain amount of outside air brought in to off set the sealed houses. It gives the HVAC guys an opportunity to sell more gear.

Seems wrong to seal a house tight then bring in air straight from outside. Surely no arch e tect calculated the vents in the windows to ensure there was 15 percent outside air coming in to the house.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:18 AM   #7
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This might be what Nailbags means, a trickle vent at the top of the frame, which can be opened or closed.
The theory of the more modern house is to seal it it completely and then bring in the exact amount of air needed with a system using heat recovery, so very little heat is lost.
In Europe the aim for new houses is to be carbon neutral by 2016.
Condensation in houses only really became a problem here from the 70's on, when chimneys and open fires went out of fashion due to the Clean Air Act, and double glazing became more popular.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:20 AM   #8
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This might be what Nailbags means, a trickle vent at the top of the frame, which can be opened or closed.
The theory of the more modern house is to seal it it completely and then bring in the exact amount of air needed with a system using heat recovery, so very little heat is lost.
In Europe the aim for new houses is to be carbon neutral by 2016.
Condensation in houses only really became a problem here from the 70's on, when chimneys and open fires went out of fashion due to the Clean Air Act, and double glazing became more popular.
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Yeah it is the dumbest thing I have ever seen! And it totally defeats the need to seal up the home in the first place.
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:23 PM   #9
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Wow. I think we are a tad off track here; something is missing. The best thing to do, IMO and that of many others, is to stick with the "build tight, ventilate right" mantra. You SHOULD build as tight as a gator's bite on your butt, then ventilate with an HRV. The standard, if you dig those, is 7.5 cfm/occupant, then 1 cfm/100 sf. Get a high efficiency HRV while you are at it. The heat losses due to pumping warm air out the door when needed (shut it off and use windows when your environment allows it) are not extreme by any means. Air at STP has about .018 btu/cf/degree F. Pump out a little heat and all the pollutants from your b.o, the dog's farts, your synthetic furniture/clothing, etc. HRV or ERV is MANDATORY in cold climates ("mandatory" by those that like quality air). Relying on passive and/or random ventilation is not optimal. As I have often finished w/, read about this on buildingscience.com and/or greenbuildingadvisor.com. Breathe well!
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:08 AM   #10
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Wow. I think we are a tad off track here; something is missing. The best thing to do, IMO and that of many others, is to stick with the "build tight, ventilate right" mantra. You SHOULD build as tight as a gator's bite on your butt, then ventilate with an HRV. The standard, if you dig those, is 7.5 cfm/occupant, then 1 cfm/100 sf. Get a high efficiency HRV while you are at it. The heat losses due to pumping warm air out the door when needed (shut it off and use windows when your environment allows it) are not extreme by any means. Air at STP has about .018 btu/cf/degree F. Pump out a little heat and all the pollutants from your b.o, the dog's farts, your synthetic furniture/clothing, etc. HRV or ERV is MANDATORY in cold climates ("mandatory" by those that like quality air). Relying on passive and/or random ventilation is not optimal. As I have often finished w/, read about this on buildingscience.com and/or greenbuildingadvisor.com. Breathe well!
I can show you on these and I have built them my self too Air flipping tight homes. go back in five or ten years and open up the dry wall and see the rot that has happened from them not being able to breath. Or a more pragmatic example is wrap your self in a goretex jump suit and seal it up as tight as a gators butt. and go about your normal every day activities and see how much moisture is kept in side that suit. Building science has never built a home and the last building green building adviser built the walls and flooring had to be ripped out because high humidity damage. I think my Grand father is right let the house breath naturally and don't worry about a few dollars of heat loss.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:03 AM   #11
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If you have moisture in the walls, it is from air movement, so your house is not as tight as you think. What does the blower door test say, or are you just assuming the house is tight? Moisture movement via diffusion is negligible, which is why you can build them AIR tight and NOT have problems, if you use vapor permeable materials both inside and out. Your opinion of BS and Greenbuilding is unjustified. Those are extremely knowledgable people over there, many of whom have built many homes and still do. Siting one or two errors along the way as reason to dismiss them is not appropriate; no one is perfect, but I'll go with the 999 out of 1000 any day. If you want to build "loose", then so be it, but guys like Thorsten Chlupp have been building houses that pass 1 or less ACH50 for many years without issues. Ditto for PassivHaus, etc. Another good resource is Cold Climate Housing Research Center (cchrc.org), the president of which is a successful builder. We have to run with the preponderance of the evidence on these deals. You can find a cat who smokes 3 packs a day and lives to be 100, but you'll also find 98 who died of lung cancer at 60. My neighbor is doing that as we speak; level 4 in both lungs; heavy smoker. Life is a probability game, so we can only work as hard as we can to load the dice in our favor. Here's a good example of a guy that was lacking one critical piece of info and he lost his business, for ex: http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/...moisture-walls

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Old 06-07-2012, 02:35 AM   #12
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...open up the dry wall and see the rot that has happened from them not being able to breath.
Is there visqueen in the walls? Why can't they "breathe"; a good wall will do just that.
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:28 PM   #13
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Is there visqueen in the walls? Why can't they "breathe"; a good wall will do just that.
When you caulk all four sides of a stud cavity and the top plate the bottom plate you bring the draft down to zero sounds good in theory. You need to have a vapor retarder i.e. slow down the vapor not block the vapor. When you seal the home you stop the vapor from leaving. that is why you use faced batts with Kraft paper as the retarder. When you live in a home the people give off vapor you cook clean breath etc.. All that vapor has to go some were most goes up and out the of the roof vents of the house, some goes through the walls if the walls can breath then you get mold mildew and rot. even if you don't use plastic vapor barrier. So what we are doing and I am guilty of this as well making toxic homes. that will rot out before their time. So to correct this problem Global earth warmers and carbon foot print worry warts have come up with is to, Make windows with holes in them and to have a whole fan suck out the conditioned air. It does not work that great. it's doing what you just blocked up to stop from happening in the first place.

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Old 06-07-2012, 03:56 PM   #14
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You need to have a vapor retarder i.e. slow down the vapor not block the vapor. Which can be plywood or drywall w/ vapor retarding paint; both of which will let moisture diffuse in both directions.

that is why you use faced batts with Kraft paper as the retarder. I don't recall the numbers, but I don't think Kraft paper is vapor open enough. I long ago scratched it off my list, anyway.

Maybe the PNW has special problems, but there are zero problems with vapor open, airtight houses here, and many other places, when built properly. If vapor goes in slowly (diffusion) it can diffuse back out. If it passes in via air movement (cracks, elect boxes, etc) the vapor amount may excede what can diffuse, as far as I know, and all is bad. Humidity is kept in check by sensible home operation and the HRV. I would much rather control the air going in/out than have it leak "wherever", perhaps carrying moisture into the envelope.
See after the bullets, too. I will stick w/ tight, vapor open walls and an HRV. I'll be using a double stud wall w/ dense packed cellulose and plywood on the outside of the inner wall (air barrier #2). The sheet rock will also be airtight. That is exactly how Thorsten builds (and others) and it works and makes sense. Everyone has to make their own call on this.

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