Retrofitting for the Future and Fixing the Bad Air Mixing

by Cody Farmer

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Are you Siding your Home?  Here are 3 things to get correct when siding that will save money on the life of your home and also LOWERS CARBON EMISSIONS😊.  

When it comes to residing in your home before you put that Tyvek on, think about Air Tightness and Home Health. These are a few areas that often get missed in big build, big box, and code-driven construction practices and materials.  That said, most homeowners that want big energy savings on their home look to state incentive guides which often stipulate using better windows and doors as well as caulking leaks and weather sealing areas around doors and windows.  While high R-value windows and doors are important, there are better ways to reap energy savings and comfort in your homes, which is why if you’re considering re-siding your home you should take a moment and tape your seems first because this is the easiest and cheapest way to do airtightness and secondly because it keeps the wind and dust out of your walls which means less dust inside.

 

  1. Get Air-Tight from OUTSIDE IN. Foaming walls won’t do it, spray gaskets seal on the wrong side too. To seal a building, you have to start with the exterior most substrate. Airtightness is achieved by wrapping the entire home in an air-tight barrier or shell. This may seem daunting, however, in construction, this is easily done by taking the existing wall and taping all the seams of OSB with #ForeverTape, special German tape.  This is important because each OSB to OSB seam is an area where leakage happens. (The seam between the floor/basement and wall assembly also needs to be taped).  At MainStream we have experimented with many tapes for this purpose.  The tape that outperforms all is Tescon Vana tape.  We call it our blue-jean tape for its texture and property of being airtight while vapor open, allowing moisture in the walls to dry out (made by Pro Clima and available here through MainStream).  Our younger associates call it Forever Tape.

  1. Get rid of the bathroom fans and use this instead! #KillTheFartFan Bath fans leak air constantly, contributing to the stack effect and pollution pull into a home, and when the bath fans are turned on it’s worse! Physics demands that the vacuum caused inside your home be filled with air. If the windows are closed as they often are in the winter, then this air, also known as make-up air, comes through the cracks and openings in your airtight envelope. Most of that makeup air is not fresh and often worsens our indoor air quality. In addition, all the energy that went into heating the air such as showers, your heater, and kitchen cooking, is pulled out of the house. The heating or cooling system now needs to rev up and expend more energy to bring it to previous levels. 

Zehnder_CSY_Accessory_ComfoAir_Q_Iphone.jpgUse a Zehnder Comfo Air Q instead.  Please welcome to the #PHamily the Zehnder ComfoAir Q, a whole home purification recovery ventilator. The Comfo Air Q (ERV) purifies indoor air 24-7-365 days and substitutes for the bathroom fans where it removes the warm stale air and exchanges it with fresh, filtered warm air.  Here is where it gets REALLY GOOD. During the exchange up to 90% of the temperature of the stale bathroom air is passed to the incoming cold, fresh air.  The result is that the makeup air is fresh and warmed, delivered to your bedroom and the building has a more balanced pressure with mother nature.  #GoodSleep

3.#NoLidLeakage Seal up or #airtight the ceiling drywall and make a solid separation from the fresh air and dust-free environment we just made in steps 1 and 2. Creating an airtight lid, which is best achieved when you have access from the attic or inside a vault if it's vaulted. Can lights become the ultimate enemy and LEDs are often no better. I rogged ( #RantingBlog ) about it a few blogs ago in the above link. The insulation companies seem to do this pretty good though. They seem to be #prettygood about removing insulation, foaming around all the electrical wire penetrations up through the top plate, foaming around fire alarms, rough-in boxes, outlets, and all the other drywall holes that lead into the attic. In-fact, IF EVA, this is a case when it is REASONABLE to use a splash of foam in places. If the contractors have their PPE on (Personal Protective Equipment) they love to foam and I’m #Okay. Foam is PFM, a military term for really cool! Not to mention it’s fast.

4. If you’re still here you caught me throwing in a step four. For the sake of you and your loved ones, feel free to call or email us as your step 4!

Here at MainStream our goal is to help you build or fix any shape or sized shell to become more comfortable, healthy, wealthy and wise, which is PHriend tested and carbon low.  Some of our buildings have become the Olympians of the built environment. These buildings are known as certified Passive House.

No matter what your building goal is, if you like our work, we’d like to work with you.  You can check out how we can apply passive house principles to your current home, or upload your plan sets for a new home so that you can reduce your energy bills to nearly nothing per month! We provide passive house services for Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and provide passive house consultation for anywhere in the US.