Basements

Post image for Should I Insulate My Basement Ceiling – Infrared Chimes In

The most popular post on this site is,’Should I Insulate My Basement Ceiling‘. Yay, 1st spot on Google searches! The number of reader comments is also a pretty good measure and I get a number of emails. There are tons of questions and some dissenting opinions. My view is that the easiest, most consistent approach […]

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Post image for Problems with Crawlspaces – Venting and other Underhouse Ills

  Crawlspaces are like the Loch Ness monster; talked about, rarely seen and potentially a bit scary. The crawlspace is that empty, barely accessible pit under the house filled with swampy water, cobwebs and spiders the size of dinner plates (that was the Google result for ‘spiders the size of dinner plates…enjoy). At least that’s […]

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5 (Fairly) Simple DIY Projects to Save Energy

by Erik North on June 17, 2013

Post image for 5 (Fairly) Simple DIY Projects to Save Energy

    I like simple projects because, hey, simple. It’s like whipping up a nice tortellini and pesto dish versus tackling a full blown chicken mole (and for the non-culinarily inclined, check out this epic you-gotta-be-kidding-me recipe for Rick Bayless’ Oaxacan Chicken Mole). They’re both satisfying but one is liable to make the average home […]

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Post image for Reader Questions – Basement Ceiling Insulation and Moisture

  Erik, I have been trying to educate myself so that I may finish my house. I have a garage/basement that is above ground. Above that is the finished house. I want to fire safe my house, i.e.. separate the garage from the main house using 5/8 drywall in the ceiling. What I am not […]

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Post image for The Worst House Ever Audited (Was Built in 2008) Part 3

    To recap: Last post I started reviewing possibly the worst house I ever audited. The house had built in 2008, which hit one of my pet peeves: That new automatically means good. But to reiterate a buddy’s favorite saying, “a house built to code is the worst house you’re legally allowed to build.” […]

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Post image for Journal of Poor Homebuilding – Blobs of Cellulose Mold

      This was a first. I’ve never seen dense pack cellulose in a basement. The sills had been netted and packed with cellulose. The netting and been pulled down in some places but the packed cellulose remained. This may not have been a problem if not for the surrounding swamp. The house had […]

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Post image for Journal of Poor Homebuilding v.12 – The One That Got Away

    While going through the archived photos, I had a few specifically in mind. Some old boilers, specific construction issues I’d seen, etc. But one image I keenly wanted was from a Westbrook turn of the century old-style colonial. It was one of my first audits for the old Maine State Housing HELP loan […]

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How Much Insulation Do You Need?

by Erik North on June 8, 2012

Insulation

  OK…We’re back after that brief incident of real life. Besides the obvious answer – MORE (but you knew that just based on your heating bills, didn’t you?), how much insulation do you need? There are loads of different standards from Energy Star to PassivHaus to your dad (“about this much” … holds hands apart). […]

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Fiberglass vs. Cellulose

by Erik North on December 22, 2011

Fiberglass vs. Cellulose

  The two least expensive and most commonly used residential insulation are fiberglass and cellulose. Granted fiberglass is about 50 times more common but a distant second is still second. Unless the homeowner opts for spray foam, their insulation choice usually comes down to fiberglass vs. cellulose. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of […]

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What is an Insulating Concrete Form?

by Erik North on December 19, 2011

What is an Insulating Concrete Form?

  ICFs (insulating concrete forms) have gained popularity but still live in that middle ground with SIPs and geothermal heating: move further than 10 feet outside the energy industry and homeowners may give you an odd look when discussing them. Everyone is familiar with poured concrete foundations but what are insulated concrete forms and how […]

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