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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How to Avoid Mold? Avoid Water Sports

by Erik North on August 14, 2013

Post image for How to Avoid Mold? Avoid Water Sports

  Mold and moisture issues are a pretty common motivation for homeowners to give us a ring. There’s condensation on the windows, water dripping into the window box. One homeowner described how if they opened their front door during the winter, the glass panes on the storm door would fog up within 10 or 12 […]


What is Dew Point?

by Erik North on December 16, 2011

What is Dew Point?

  I’ve mentioned dew point in passing many, many times. You can tell from the name it has something to do with moisture. And moisture is a problem flash point in homes so it might be worth knowing a bit more about dew point. So what is dew point? How is it a driver of […]


What is Ice and Water Shield?

by Erik North on December 15, 2011

What is Ice and Water Shield

  In Maine (and New England), there’s a lot of snowfall. When there’s enough snow and melt, ice dams can form. If the ice dams get bad enough, they can cause roof damage and water leakage. One of the most common protections for ice dams is ‘Ice and Water Shield.’ Besides the totally awesome and […]

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What is a Capillary Break

    Because what is a capillary break but something that stops water? Sounds a little like a caterpillar taking a rest, doesn’t it? Capillary breaks are one of those things, like caffeine, that people have known about forever, but in the modern world have become way more important. You obviously know about the caffeine […]


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, […]


What is Humidity (And How it Affects Your House)?

by Erik North on November 23, 2011

what is humidity

  The building envelope is the border between your comfy indoors and the chilly/sweltering outdoors. I say this a lot. The building shell controls the air, heat and for the purposes of this discussion, the vapor controls retard moisture flows in the house. Humidity in the air affects people, paper, the wood, concrete and OSB […]


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 […]


How Do I Control Humidity In My House?

by Erik North on November 5, 2011

Post image for How Do I Control Humidity In My House?

  I get a few funny looks during audits when the conversation turns from insulation to water and moisture control. But the two are interconnected whether or not it is obvious. Your entire house is made of wood, paper, concrete and plastic. Every one of those materials either holds loads of moisture or stops it. […]


Should I Insulate Interior Walls (Umm, No…)?

by Erik North on October 17, 2011

should i insulate interior walls

  Another question that crops up in audits (have you gathered that questions about almost everything come up?), is whether it makes sense to insulate the interior walls in your home. Heat is escaping everywhere, so it makes sense to slow it down as much as possible right? Short answer: No. Longer answer: Noooooooooooo. Much […]