2006

A new water tank with solar option.After last year's construction extravaganza we took it easy in 2006. We updated a couple more windows, completed the air sealing the house needed, and had our final Energuide audit. Then we had a water leak in the basement. That meant tearing out the walls and floors in the utility room and redoing everything. Fortunately that floor was due to be replaced and I had the flooring all ready. We had the cracks in the basement walls filled with polyurethane and I finally got that basement ceiling painted (had to paint the whole room!). There are a couple of pictures on the insulation page.

For the draftstopping I used peel and stick membrane in the house to seal three interior closet spaces in the loft. That really cut down on the air losses as they had not had a vapor barrier installed when they were built. The big job was under the back porch. The floor joists from the house run right out under the deck and there was never any barrier to cold air coming in from outside. This was also why we had mice get into the house every fall. No mice since we sealed this up. There are a few pictures on the insulation page.

We finally got our permit for the geothermal unit. The biggest problem was the makeup air. The City inspectors insisted that we have a 5" duct run straight from outside to the return duct on the furnace. Since the geothermal heat pump only creates a 20C degree temperature rise in heat the thought of putting a 5" duct direct to the outside didn't appeal to me. They also wanted combustion air for the tankless water heater. In the end we added a heat recovery ventilator and ditched the tankless water heater. The ventilator extracts heat from exhaust air and uses it to warm up the incoming fresh air. That fresh air is ducted to the furnace. It works, and the City finally signed off on our permit. Check out the wild problem we found in the old ductwork. All this on the Geothermal page.

The biggest screw-up on this project was the water heater. The tankless water heater was a complete bust. Although you got as much hot water as you wanted once it was on it would often shut off when you tried to mix water to get a warm temperature. It also required that we take off all the aerators and flow restrictors on all our faucets and showerheads. The water heater would not operate unless there was 1.2 US gallons per minute of flow. I'd spent a lot of time getting our water usage levels down with low-flow fittings and this really pissed me off. The final straw was the requirement to add a combustion air duct to supply the heater. I wasn't going to put a hole in the side of the house now that I had everything buttoned up. The tale of woe continues on the water heater page.

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