Household Projects

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 […]


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.” […]


Post image for How to Insulate and Air Seal Attic Pull Down Stairs

  Pull down attic stairs are super-sized attic hatches that just beg homeowners to store more stuff in your attic. Besides the issues stemming from the particularly large hole in your ceiling, it creates a storage headache. For homeowners, a storage problem usually means ‘not enough.’ For auditors, this means using space that ought to […]

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Wall Cavity Insulation – Installation Methods

by Erik North on March 23, 2012

Post image for Wall Cavity Insulation – Installation Methods

  In my last post, I touched on the different materials for wall cavity insulation improvement jobs and like anything each has pros and cons. An interesting aside: I just got a phone call (and I have to make this deliberately vague as there could be lawsuits in the offing) discussing material and moisture issues […]


Post image for 6 Ways to Make Your Home More Attractive to Buyers Through Energy Efficiency

  Greetings…today brings our first guest post from the folks at EnergyLink in Columbia, MO. And here we go… In today’s downturned economy, it is no secret that right now may not be the best time to put your home on the market. However, home sellers do not always have the time to let a […]

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CFL Bulbs - Your Curly Tailed Energy Efficient Lighting

  CFL bulbs, or compact fluorescent lights have developed quite a stigma over the last few years. Between their (very real) shortcomings and apprehension over the upcoming change in bulb efficiency standards, CFL bulbs haven’t exactly been warmly embraced. But right now, they are the best tool to effectively reduce lighting electrical use as long […]


Should I Insulate Between Floors?

by Erik North on December 10, 2011

Should I Insulate Between Floors?

  During energy audits, we get into a lot of building shell discussions. Should I insulate my basement or should I insulate my interior walls to pick two completely random questions that I totally haven’t written about. The question of whether you should insulate between floors is remarkably similar to that of insulating interior walls. […]


What is Damp Proofing

  Unless you’re in construction or building science, damp proofing sounds like the lamest level of water prevention possible. Wait let me get this straight, it’s not water resistant or water retarding? It’s damp proof … so I’m OK in a slight humidity but screwed if there’s a moderate rain? What is Damp Proofing? Actually, […]


Post image for Should I Insulate My Crawl Space (Yes, it’s A Mini-Basement)?

  A sister question to a previous post, should you insulate your basement crawl space? Are there savings and comfort benefits that make such a large project worthwhile? Through my energy auditor eyes, good insulation ranks right with a nice brown ale – Newcastle, maybe – within a list of the world’s great things. Should […]


What is Recessed Lighting?

by Erik North on November 7, 2011

What is Recessed Lighting

  In an earlier post about recessed lighting, we talked a bit about the problems: overheating, massive air leakage, lack of insulation because of the need to avoid overheating. In a way, the problems of recessed lighting cracks me up. Complaints about a leaky, uninsulated light fixture are somewhat akin to complaining about winter while […]