John and Jane Doe's report is basically written. I have a template that I use that has been slowly built and improved over the past projects. It's a fine start but still requires a fair amount of custom writing, since each house has enough unique issues that need to be addressed.  There's report software out there such as Recurve's, EAI, or BizEE, but none have that personal touch that comes from a written report.  So here's some items from the report:

Target Infiltration: 0.25 ACHn (1962 cfm50, down from 3110 currently)
This one's controversial, or at least is a moving target.  BPI recommendations are currently 0.35 ACHnatural.  From there down to 0.7 of that, which is 0.245 ACHnatural, I must recommend that the homeowner installs mechanical ventilation in an amount that makes up the difference, ensuring 0.35 ACHnatural. Below that, below 0.25, I must require that the homeowner installs mechanical ventilation in the total amount of whatever 0.35 ACHnatural would be.  In the Doe house, that would be 133cfm, running continuously.  That's a significant additional heating load in the winter - heating that extra 133cfm of cold outside air - that a Heat Recovery Ventilator might be worth the investment.  The problem is, HRVs are expensive, in the thousands.  And since I believe in getting a house as tight as possible, my compromise is to aim for 0.25 ACHnatural and recommend that the homeowner install mechanical ventilation, but then also tell him my position on this issue and let him make up his own mind. Perhaps he's happy cracking a window if the house gets stuffy or having an intermittent time switch on a bath fan.  But I've yet to find anyone that wants me to stop air sealing at 0.35.  Anyway, that's my thinking and you're welcome to comment if you feel differently.

Insulation Improvement:
Insulation Improvement:Insulate attic access door in master closet with rigid 3.5” foam, cover a small attic kneewall in master closet with FSK as an air barrier, add loose fill attic fiberglass insulation to R-38, and insulate the floor to R19 and strap every 2’ to hold in place.  The problem with this floor is that, being built in 1968, it has 4X6 floor joists on 4' centers and holding batt insulation up tight against that is a real challenge.  Some may say it can't even be done and that spray foam is the only solution.  But, with a snug crawlspace as this house has, that's impossible.  I've considered stapling R4 FSK across the bottom as a support but plastic plumbing straps every 2' ends up doing an adequate but not perfect job.  If anyone has method think works better, share it.

I'm meeting with Zero Energy Associates in 3 hours to get a bid on replacing the HVAC & DHW with direct vent units.  Since those take their combustion air from the outside, we can seal up all the vents in the closet and no longer have to worry about combustion pollution entering the home.

I'm also proposing that the older recessed ceiling fixtures in the kitchen be replaced with ICAT LEDs, which I think is a great technology that outshines CFLs.

And last, the crawlspace can really use remediation. That is a sizable issue itself since there seems to be annual flooding and it's lower than the surrounding area outside the foundation. Ideally, we'd install a french drain around the outside, slope and channel the crawlspace towards one area where we'd install a sump pump, and then completely air seal over the soil with a 12 mil barrier glued and pinned to the stem wall.  Being a costly process with relatively minor financial benefit, it can be a tough sell. But it will still be a recommendation in my report.

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Comment by David Willson on May 2, 2011 at 3:40pm


I didn't do a zone pressure test on the attic or the crawlspace with respect to the interior because both are well vented to the outside.  My personal approach is to always air seal the crawlspace from the bottom as thoroughly as possible.  The government research report that said 60% (!) of indoor air with windows closed in the winter comes from the crawlspace has affected my thinking.  I used to think the ceiling was the most important but now I think the subfloor is, though the ceiling is a close second.  So I air seal both while monitoring the blower door and not going tighter than 70% of 0.35ACHnatural.  Most clients, when I say I need to recommend that they add mechanical ventilation if the infiltration is between 70% and 100% of ACHn, say they'd rather open a window if they feel it's too stuffy and skip the additional cost.  Below 70%, we're required to provide mechanical ventilation and that's often a deal breaker for the client so 70% is usually my air sealing limit.

Comment by David Willson on May 2, 2011 at 2:43pm

William,  thanks for the suggestion.  Here's what I'm looking at right now.

I'm meeting with a spray foam company at the site soon.  He says he can spray 2 inches of closed cell on the bottom of the subfloor with only the standard 18" of clearance.  Sounds iffy to me but he says he can do it.  If so, that'll take care of both infiltration and insulation issues in subfloor.  I'd love to fully seal the crawlspace; I've done enough of them now to believe in it but this one's tough: completely below the outside soil so considerable ditching and a sump or two will be in order or there's no use putting a barrier on the ground because the water will still seep through and sit on top of the barrier.  I use Americover's 12mil barrier and weld the seams but rising water will still seep through the seams somewhere.

Comment by William H Nickerson on April 28, 2011 at 7:54pm
Seal the crawl space walls,vents and all.Foam the seams at the joist bays fillwith 6" filber glass vaper wap and heck with the termite guys.Vaper 6mil on the ground and let it roll.Spend your time where your time can be spent.
Comment by Tim Swinkels on April 28, 2011 at 10:46am
How do you determine where you will be able to achive the infiltration reduction. Do you use Zone Pressure Diagnostics (add a hole method) on the attic to get an idea of the leakage from the attic or any other zone?

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