Discussions

Great thoughts! Some ideas on the technical building side – I’ve never found a bathroom fan that came with a damper I like, but Tamarack makes a decent one that can be installed inline with the a 4″ duct: https://www.amazon.com/Tamarack-Backdraft-Damper-Diameter-TTI-CBD4/dp/B0089XVWT8 For cold climate heat loss, attic air sealing is probably the largest improvement one can make (assuming you don’t have ducts somewhere dumb like an attic or vented crawlspace). See https://www.buildingscience.com/documents/guides-and-manuals/gm-attic-air-sealing-guide/view Attic insulation should be added after the attic is air tight. Depending on where you are, insulating crawlspace and basement walls might be the 3rd item. In general windows don’t contributed much to building infiltration and their replacement tends to be unsuccessful at reducing infiltration (generally bldgs get a little bit more leaky after window replacement). People’s perception of leaky windows is partly a misinterpretation of cold surfaces as infiltration (I argue about this with clients for approximately 1000 hr/week in spite of having retrofit ~2k homes, all of which were tested 2x w a blower door). Don’t replace windows for energy efficiency. However, when you do replace windows for aesthetic or operational reasons, go with an energy efficient window. Sounds self-evident, but the dominant US window manufacturers have been producing garbage for decades. Consider upping to a triple glazed – Kohltech is good as a mid-budget window. For premium consider Intus from Germany. 

Protecting homes from water infiltration
12
6

Frost-free hose bibs ftw!! Since a lot of Texans are evidently going to be reworking their plumbing in the near term, here are some other tips. Consider updating trunk and branch plumbing a pex manifold with home runs. This will allow you to shut off individual runs in an emergency with minimal effort. Individual branches will contain very little water. In homes with circuitous piping or on-demand hot water, consider running an insulated recirculating loop to the manifold. Many on-demand water heaters have controls built in for this (I’m not specifically an advocate of on-demand hot water outside a narrow range of circumstances): https://www.amazon.com/Viega-50243-2-Inch-PureFlow-Manabloc/dp/B008J3TSH6/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=pex+manifold&qid=1613681750&sr=8-3=  Gary Klein has written extensively about hot water piping. Mainly with an eye for minimizing wait and reducing energy, but well worth reading. See: https://www.garykleinassociates.com/PDFs/15%20-%20Efficient%20Hot-Water%20Piping-JLC.pdf If you absolutely have to place plumbing in exterior wall, ceiling, or floor cavities place them as close to the warm side of the assembly as possible. Then insulate the cold side behind the pipes using polyisocanurate (foil-faced, yellow, rigid foam). Seal all connections with can foam, then seal the drywall to the foam as you install it. Don’t insulate on the warm side of the pipes!!! Think of it as building a foam bathtub around the cold side of the piping. Consider adding return grilles to the inside of the framed cavity to allow warm air to circulate. 


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Protecting homes from water infiltration
12
6
School Ventilation
10
18

Great thoughts! Some ideas on the technical building side – I’ve never found a bathroom fan that came with a damper I like, but Tamarack makes a decent one that can be installed inline with the a 4″ duct: https://www.amazon.com/Tamarack-Backdraft-Damper-Diameter-TTI-CBD4/dp/B0089XVWT8 For cold climate heat loss, attic air sealing is probably the largest improvement one can make (assuming you don’t have ducts somewhere dumb like an attic or vented crawlspace). See https://www.buildingscience.com/documents/guides-and-manuals/gm-attic-air-sealing-guide/view Attic insulation should be added after the attic is air tight. Depending on where you are, insulating crawlspace and basement walls might be the 3rd item. In general windows don’t contributed much to building infiltration and their replacement tends to be unsuccessful at reducing infiltration (generally bldgs get a little bit more leaky after window replacement). People’s perception of leaky windows is partly a misinterpretation of cold surfaces as infiltration (I argue about this with clients for approximately 1000 hr/week in spite of having retrofit ~2k homes, all of which were tested 2x w a blower door). Don’t replace windows for energy efficiency. However, when you do replace windows for aesthetic or operational reasons, go with an energy efficient window. Sounds self-evident, but the dominant US window manufacturers have been producing garbage for decades. Consider upping to a triple glazed – Kohltech is good as a mid-budget window. For premium consider Intus from Germany. 

Frost-free hose bibs ftw!! Since a lot of Texans are evidently going to be reworking their plumbing in the near term, here are some other tips. Consider updating trunk and branch plumbing a pex manifold with home runs. This will allow you to shut off individual runs in an emergency with minimal effort. Individual branches will contain very little water. In homes with circuitous piping or on-demand hot water, consider running an insulated recirculating loop to the manifold. Many on-demand water heaters have controls built in for this (I’m not specifically an advocate of on-demand hot water outside a narrow range of circumstances): https://www.amazon.com/Viega-50243-2-Inch-PureFlow-Manabloc/dp/B008J3TSH6/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=pex+manifold&qid=1613681750&sr=8-3=  Gary Klein has written extensively about hot water piping. Mainly with an eye for minimizing wait and reducing energy, but well worth reading. See: https://www.garykleinassociates.com/PDFs/15%20-%20Efficient%20Hot-Water%20Piping-JLC.pdf If you absolutely have to place plumbing in exterior wall, ceiling, or floor cavities place them as close to the warm side of the assembly as possible. Then insulate the cold side behind the pipes using polyisocanurate (foil-faced, yellow, rigid foam). Seal all connections with can foam, then seal the drywall to the foam as you install it. Don’t insulate on the warm side of the pipes!!! Think of it as building a foam bathtub around the cold side of the piping. Consider adding return grilles to the inside of the framed cavity to allow warm air to circulate. 


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