This house suffered from inadequate ventilation in some rooms, which was so noticeable during the winter months that the air conditioner was often used to reduce humidity and the sense of "stuffiness." A whole-house heat-recovery ventilation system was added, with a priority on ventilating these stuffy rooms, to very good effect.
insulate rim joist
The "rim joist" is the outside edge of the floor -- a piece of wood typically 10 to 12 inches tall sitting on top of the concrete foundation wall, accessible from the basement or crawl space. Until just a few years ago, it was common practice to not put any insulation on this joist at all, which means that there's nothing between the basement air and the outdoors but 1½ inches of wood! Adding insulation to this joist is usually very cost effective. We recommend using solid foam board rather than fiberglass batts.
A few of the insulation contractors in southeast Kansas:
- A Heating & Air Company, Chanute/Iola, 620-364-6028 pookie66783 [at] yahoo [dot] com
- All Things Exterior, Beloit, 785-738-2434 troy [at] directwholesaleinc [dot] com
- Brown Enviro-Control, Beloit, 785-243-3704 brbrown [at] nckcn [dot] com
- Coaltrain Insulation, Wamego, 785-456-4301 coaltrain [at] wamego [dot] net
- Faith Construction Services, Topeka, 785-266-3030 Brent [at] Faithroofingcompany [dot] com
- JWK Construction, Topeka, 785-331-5349 jwkconstruction [at] cox [dot] net
- Lighthouse Contracting, Topeka, 785-783-7884 lighthouse [dot] contracting [at] ymail [dot] com
- Miller & Heiman Construction, Seneca/Sebetha, 785-336-3793 CDDMILLER [at] yahoo [dot] com
- Nance Construction, Galesburg, 620-421-2571 bnance1945 [at] yahoo [dot] com
- Revolution Building Services, Topeka, 785-380-1162 R [dot] buildingservices [at] gmail [dot] com
- Superior Builders, Iola/Chanute, 620-365-6684 superiorbuilders93 [at] yahoo [dot] com
- Sutterby Insulation, Iola/Chanute, 620-363-2361 sssutterby [at] yahoo [dot] com
This house was in relatively poor condition compared to what we usually see. There were numerous significant problems, ranging from fire hazards (cumbustible insulation in the electrical boxes -- see photo) to mold hazards (rotting floor boards in the mechanical closet -- see photo), to toxic gas (water heater producing more than 63x the safe amount of carbon monoxide), to biological hazards (squirrels living in the attic).
This house was built very airtight -- we had to recommend adding at least 85 cubic feet per minute of heat-recovery ventilation. Humidity had become an issue in the basement, as evidenced by a dehumidifier unable to keep up. We recommended they consider a heat-pump water heater.
The owners of this house had only recently moved in, after renting it to others. The tenants had used the thermostat very frugally so that the heating bills were unusually low and the computer model could not be made to match accurately.
We found a gas leak at the end of an old disconnected pipe where an appliance had been. We recommended removing and recycling the pipe, capping off the junction.
This rental home had a humid basement and no ventilation in the bathrooms or kitchen, and it was 63% too airtight to meet guidelines for air quality. We recommended adding a heat-recovery ventilator to improve the air quality and reduce the possibility of mold growth.
This log home was built extremely air tight and performed much better than we expected considering there was no insulation beyond the logs that made up the walls! Even the exposed framing around a new bathtub (see photo) did not leak air from either the attic or basement.
This home was built quite air-tight -- 43% tighter than recommended -- and was having significant moisture problems both upstairs, where the walls would sweat in wintertime and grow mildew in summertime, and in the crawl space where water was standing. We recommended improving drainage away from the foudation, adding a vapor barrier to the crawl space floor, and adding a heat-recovery ventilator and a heat pump water heater.
This rural 2-story house was owned by a single mother of two teenagers. She qualified for the Weatherization Assistance Program, so they had come and blown insulation into the attic and replaced the windows, without first sealing air leaks or addressing other major problems with the house. I was very disappointed by the quality of work done by the WAP contractors.
This house presented us with some biological hazards, namely pigeons in the attic and a dead squirrel under the porch! There was also a significant amount of moisture in the crawl space, made worse by batts of insulation that had fallen from the flooring above.
This was one of the leakiest houses we have audited, due mostly to an open ceiling in the mechanical closet. This opening was left to provide make-up air to the natural-draft furnace, but it had the effect of opening the entire house to the attic via the ductwork.
An unusual feature of this house was a second-floor playroom, added on above the back porch in such a way as to be accessible only from a half-height door in one of the bedrooms. This unorthodox design resulted in a valley where the main roof of the house sloped into the wall of the playroom (see photo). This valley creates an opportunity for moisture problems. There was also no ventilation in the bathrooms, and the clothes dryer vented into a crawl space, creating more potential for moisture problems.