moved the hot water heater

2016 11 05

today derik and i moved the point of use hot water heater closer to the kitchen sink. this decreased the time to hot water from about 30 seconds to about 25 seconds. more importantly, the installation is now far neater than it was before.

unfortunately, i did not take a before picture but both the plumbing tubes and the electrical lines were an aesthetic disaster. now they look great. it was a bit of a chore as it is difficult to get insulated pex tubes to look presentable.

the ecosmart point of use hot water heater is now neatly installed

the ecosmart point of use hot water heater is now neatly installed

might have passed blower door test

2016 11 02

today the house might have passed the blower door test. this test determines the air leakage in the house. although the house has a very small leakage, it is more than passive house will allow. so i have been trying hard to find leaks and patch them. today the measured leakage was
339 cfm. the requirement is 345 cfm. i have my hopes up that the passive house institute of the united states will say this is a pass.

michael's computer shows the leakage to be 339 cfm

michael’s computer shows the leakage to be 339 cfm at 50 Pa

more drywall excavation

2016 10 23 and 2016 10 22

another portion of drywall was excavated to locate and caulk air leaks. the first photo shows an entire area where the air barrier was removed. this is definitely bad. it was apparently done so that the ceiling wall board would fit properly under the falling roof line. a bad mistake.

shows an area where the house's air barrier was removed. this is where the OSB is cut and the white fiberglass insulation shows

shows an area where the house’s air barrier was removed. this is where the OSB is cut and the white fiberglass insulation shows

the second photograph is of the same southwest corner of the master bedroom but shows more area. thermal imaging found air leaks in the excavated areas. the areas leaking were caulked with prosoco air dam. note that the gap in the air barrier is repaired. also note the siga tape that replaces the black tape. the latter was laid down over the “mesh” used to hold the fiberglass in place. this completed defeated the purpose, sealing, of the black tape.

a complex construction in the ceiling was leaking. it was caulked with prosoco air dam

a complex construction in the ceiling was leaking. it was caulked with prosoco air dam. the gap in the air barrier was repaired.

more air leaks sealed

2016 10 15

Some more air leaks were uncovered and sealed. the improvement was difficult to measure but perhaps the house leaks about 30 cfm less after all of the recent work. the photos below show two different areas of the living area that were excavated and then sealed with prosoco air dam.

the picture on the west wall shows a quarter inch hole to the right of the excavated area that was used to assess the quantity of air coming from the volume defined by the framing under the hole.

all of the areas excavated were determined to be leaky from thermal images.

excavated area on the south wall of the living area

excavated area on the south wall of the living area

excavated area on the west wall of the living area

excavated area on the west wall of the living area

 

 

air leaks sealed

2016 10 07: unfortunately the house’s air barrier is leaking to such an extent that it does not meet passive house requirements. we have recently sealed one of the leaks and reduced the air leakage by 10 cubic feet per minute.

the picture shows wallboard and insulation excavated in the master bedroom’s bathroom on both the wall and ceiling. the areas were earlier identified as leaky using a thermal image. at
-50 Pa the house was leaking about 410 cfm. after sealing the area pictured the leak rate was about 400 cfm. the leaks were occurring between the 2 x 6 boards and the plywood attached to them. of course the difference is small enough that it could be measurement error; but, i suspect that the decrease is real. by the by, the leak rates are higher than the house’s real leak rate due to leaks in the erv and hrs that would be sealed in a more careful measurement.

ceiling and wall drywall excavated to expose the house's air barrier

ceiling and wall drywall excavated to expose the house’s air barrier

a grove of young sassafras in stiltgrass

2016 10 06: i spent an hour or so this evening pulling stiltgrass out of a grove of sassafras trees. the stiltgrass is an invasive and also an annual. i am pulling it so that it does not go to seed and re-grow next year.

sassafrass trees in stiltgrass

sassafrass trees in stiltgrass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

there is some hair grass amongst the stiltgrass. the hair grass is desirable

hair grass is growing between two young sassafras trees

hair grass is growing between two young sassafras trees

new monarch butterfly

2016 10 02 below is a picture of a monarch butterfly that one of my landscape architects, mary sper, believes recently emerged from its chrysalis. i think it was still drying its wings. wonderful.

the home’s landscaping is paying dividends.

a brand new monarch

a brand new monarch

 

today mary and i spent several hours pulling and cutting stiltgrass, an invasive that crowded out native plants that are much more desirable.

monarch butterfly caterpillar

2016 08 25 I have read that the monarch butterfly population has decreased 90% in the eastern united states. a part of this is because the population of the plant that the monarch needs to reproduce, milkweed, has been significantly decreasing. unfortunately, many consider it a weed and rid their yard of it or rid their roadside of it.

the house has been landscaped with plants native to the mid-atlantic region including milkweed. below is a photograph of a monarch butterfly caterpillar on a milkweed that is a part of the house’s landscaping. love it. the caterpillar’s eat a lot of milkweed!

monarch butterfly caterpillar

monarch butterfly caterpillar