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13 Answers

Hardie vs LP vs Cedar

Looking to remove the old clapboards on our house (remove the vinyl first), reinsulate the walls and reside with either Hardie Plank, LP Smartside or Cedar. Any opinions on pros and cons of each in climate zone 4? I hope to use 1" Zip R sheathing with the Obdyke Slicker Max rainscreen.

In Green products and materials | Asked By Michael Mohr | Sep 12 17
19 Answers

Pros and cons of gas vs. electric for DHW, cooking, and in-floor radiant heating?

We are building a 2000 sq.ft. Single story, 'pretty good house' in zone 6B in Colorado in a small town with both reliable electricity an natural gas. We are weighing the pros and cons of gas powered v electric powered system for DHW including the infloor radiant heating. If we set aside the issue of fossil fuel use, what are the pros and cons of each? Thanks in advance.

In Mechanicals | Asked By user-6885857 | Sep 10 17
2 Answers

SES Spray Foam, anyone? (Sucra Seal)

Anyone have experience with this foam product? Suppose to be "Green". It is rated R6.5 for their closed cell.

I received several quotes from different foam installers (different products). The installer that sprays SES (Sucra Seal) quoted me significantly lower than the rest (25% less). I was wondering if anyone has experience with this product which suppose to be the most environmentally friendly foam product out there (not sure how true this is).

Other products i was quoted on were (Icynene and Covestro)

Please advise.

In Green products and materials | Asked By eldarchik | Sep 18 17
8 Answers

SIP house — Backup heat source?

I am going to be building a 26' x 32' SIP enclosed house (6 1/2" Walls and 12" Roof) that will be heated with a Ductless MSP (1 outdoor unit and 2 indoor heads). My coldest day requirement will be around 17k BTUs per hour. The design temp for coldest temp is -15. I know I will need a backup system for when the Coefficient of Performance drops down... I have tentatively designed for a woodstove as backup but I really would rather avoid it.

In Mechanicals | Asked By John Brown | Sep 16 17
3 Answers

SIP "Larsen studs"

From my local SIP maker I can get 10' lengths of 1 3/8" wide 7" deep SIP for about twice the price of a 2x6, I'll complete the stud by Adding a strip of Thermoply 7" wide on one side.using polyurethane glue and some staples. This makes a quasi "Larsen" truss that I'll build my outer walls with. I can insulate between these "studs" with ordinary low cost mineral wool bats for r30 in the cavities. These SIP studs with he Thermoply "web" are about r23, pretty awsome, I think.

In Plans Review | Asked By Jerry Liebler | Sep 15 17
3 Answers

Radon mitigation with sealed crawlspace and partial walkout basement

Does anyone know of a resource that addresses radon mitigation for a foundation area with a sealed crawlspace and partial walk-out basement on new construction in Zone 3A?

I am assuming the crawlspace and basement mitigation systems can share an exhaust pipe and I have a good understanding of the under slab portion for the basement. So, what is the best method for the crawlspace?

In Mechanicals | Asked By Norman Bunn | Sep 10 17
3 Answers

Spider Tie concrete house?

Showed up on Facebook today; I didn't find it in a search on GBA.


(I live in a home with an ICF foundation. We had a "miss" on bracing at one location and ended up with a small "bow" that, fortunately, we were able to take out by milling down the EPS. This video seems to infer that no external bracing is required?

In Green building techniques | Asked By Andrew Bater | Sep 16 17
11 Answers

Cape Cod--Building a maintainable insuated roof (on the cheap!)

We are purchasing a Cape Cod style home near Dayton, OH (climate 5A, but the southern edge). I've read many of the helpful articles here (thanks, Martin, for the notes about Capes here: http://lakesideca.info/articles/dept/musings/insulating-cap... . I can't say I wasn't warned!)

Other articles I found very useful:

This situation:

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Mark Waldron | Sep 11 17
13 Answers

My HVAC guy disagrees with PH Planning Package

The Passive House Planning Package indicates that the heat load for my house should be 7,722 BTU/hr (4.4 BTU/hr-sqft, and the cooling should be 3,573 BTU/hr (2.0 BTU/hr-sqft).

I gave these numbers, and the entire PHPP file to my HVAC person. He was dumbfounded by the low numbers and ran our plans through a detailed Manual J calculations. Now, he admits that he cannot account for the superinsulated slab, but he came up with much higher numbers.

The quote is for various versions of a Carrier 38Mxx / 40xxxx (3 ton heat pump. So much for heating the house with a hair dryer.......)

In Mechanicals | Asked By Steve Young | Sep 13 17
3 Answers

I am researching the capability of a 40-gallon electric hot water tank

If water is tested at 2 AM and it takes 3 mins to reach 143 degrees (no one used any water for the previous 9 hours) temperature outside is 62 degrees and someone used the water at 2 pm (washer, dishwasher being used) temperature outside is 89 degrees, would it still take 3 mins to reach 143 degrees?

In General questions | Asked By Durazo | Sep 15 17
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