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Old 12-30-2009, 11:43 AM
 
1,061 posts, read 1,695,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianlion View Post
Maine builders are very slowly climbing the energy efficiency ladder, but Maine building supply houses are doing so very, very slowly. The reason for this is the supply is being driven by demand. An excellent example of this is in windows and door. There are NO retail sources for true, state of the art energy efficient windows in Maine. The reason for this is that the manufacturers of windows commonly available in Maine, do not manufacture windows that meet other than the 1970's insulated windows standard. The new Andersen "A" line window is a step in the right direction, but the window design and manufacturing process is still twenty years behind the current levels of energy conservation, insulation and manufacturing process of European and many Canadian manufacturers.

The entire subject of energy efficiency and energy independence is becoming a hot button for Maine in general, and Maine should lead the nation in developing new methods and materials to insulate and modernize old houses. So far that is really not happening, probably because there is more sizzle in the steak of wind turbines off shore than to improve the performance of what is already on the ground.
Wow, interesting point.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:38 PM
 
914 posts, read 1,844,872 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianlion View Post
There are NO retail sources for true, state of the art energy efficient windows in Maine. The reason for this is that the manufacturers of windows commonly available in Maine, do not manufacture windows that meet other than the 1970's insulated windows standard.
This is a pretty broad statement. Harvey Windows sold in many places here in Maine meet the NFRC standards. They have the Energy Star rating from NFRC. NFRC stands for National Fenestration Rating Council for those that want to know. A fenestration is a hole in your wall, bet some didn't know that. Here's a link to the 2010 energy star criteria. So to say window standards haven't changed since the 1970's is a stretch in my eyes.
I bet quite a few windows are energy star rated to the 2010 standard.

link...
http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partner...ents7Apr09.pdf
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 3,443,843 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellysmith View Post
This is a pretty broad statement. Harvey Windows sold in many places here in Maine meet the NFRC standards. They have the Energy Star rating from NFRC. NFRC stands for National Fenestration Rating Council for those that want to know. A fenestration is a hole in your wall, bet some didn't know that. Here's a link to the 2010 energy star criteria. So to say window standards haven't changed since the 1970's is a stretch in my eyes.
I bet quite a few windows are energy star rated to the 2010 standard.

link...
http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partner...ents7Apr09.pdf
There are many many windows on the market that are Energy Star rated. But that means very little. The Energy Star standard is pretty good, if it were 1980. But the real truth is that the windows that are really necessary have fully insulated frames and high efficiency window panes themselves, usually with Argon or Zenon gas. Those windows will have an R-rating between R7 and R-11, which is makes the Energy Star rating about 50% of what it should be.

There is only one manufacturer of windows in the US that has such a high rating, but their windows are primarily designed for high heat areas and for retarding cooling loss in hot climates. The Canadian manufacturers do a better job, and there are several in Europe who's window designs and systems are decades ahead of what is common here in the US.

Yes, and probably more expensive than Andersen or Marvin and all those, but not as much more expensive as one might think, with cost recovery measured in few, rather than many heating seasons.
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 3,443,843 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OutDoorNut View Post
I have never had to deal with a dirt cellar floor, but anticipating that one day I may need to, I have done some reading on the subject.

Covering the floor with cement is a nasty and expensive job.

A cheaper alternative is to use plastic sheeting and gravel.

Anyone interested in that method should do some reasearch to see how to do it right.

But if I remember correctly, there's a layer of gravel above and beneath the plastic sheeting, which sheeting is laid down in two layers.

And also if one dislikes walking on gravel, a wood floor can be laid above the sheeting.

Also, I think I remember reading something about leaving a trench around the perimeter of the celler walls, to act as a drainage ditch to catch any water seeping in from the cellar walls--but I can't remember for sure if that was in the case of cementing over the dirt or of using the plastic sheeting or both cases. (This drainage ditch is not meant to cure basement flooding--but only to catch some seepage; for chronic flooding, as Acadianlion mentions, work needs to be done around the foundation walls to either drain away water or to prevent water from accumulating around the walls to begin with.)
If achieving a truly well insulated house and therefore one with the highest possible energy efficiency, the basement will have to be insulated, including the floors and walls, and the sill plates or whatever framing sits on top of the foundation walls. Of course this means that any water that might flow through the basement will have to be diverted, so the process will have to begin with foundation drains that extend around the house and take water away before it can enter.

I am not sure why you think that pouring a basement floor is "nasty"...it really isn't any nastier than any other concrete pouring, but since it will be beneath a house, there will need to be good cross ventillation while the concrete cures. If the basement is low, then screeding will be a painful process, but the point is less to make a nice perfect floor, than to seal the basement so that the basement area will cool the floor above to the least extend possible.

Probably the best job would involve laying at least six inches of insulation down before the concrete is poured over it. Then the walls of the foundation should be sheathed with another four inches of insulation or more (!), and once that is done, the mating points between house framing and foundation wall could be sprayed with closed cell foam. The foam will seal off any air leaks between old foundation and framing.

Once the basement is sealed, if a conventional oil burner is used, the heat generated by the oil burner will be retained in the basement, and provide a higher temperature level in the basement itself, and the floor will be somewhat...even if only marginally....warmer than without basement sealing.

Air infiltration and thermal bridging are major components of heat loss, and to achieve true energy efficiency, the building must be sealed to the greatest extent possible and this means all the little places need attention as well as the bigger ones such as windows and doors.
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:30 PM
 
914 posts, read 1,844,872 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianlion View Post
But the real truth is that the windows that are really necessary have fully insulated frames and high efficiency window panes themselves, usually with Argon or Zenon gas. Those windows will have an R-rating between R7 and R-11, which is makes the Energy Star rating about 50% of what it should be.

U value is a measure of heat flow through a material, meaning total heat transfer. R value measures the resistance to heat transfer. I'm sure you are aware that U value is used for measuring window's insulating performance because of emissivity--the ability of a product to absorb certain types of energy, specifically infrared, and pass it through itself. Low E windows refer to windows that reduce emissivity of infrared rays. Heat travels from hot to cold so the emissivity can be sunlight heating a room or heat energy in a room escaping to the outside air. This is just based on which side of the window is warmer.
As a rule of thumb U value is the inverse of R value for a window so a U value of .2 would equate to an R value of 5. I can't speak for other window manufacturers, but Harvey windows are Argon filled. In fact their top window is Krypton filled with a U value of .18 which would equate to an R value of 5.56. I'd be skeptical myself if someone told me they had a window that equated to R11 because of emissivity. The bottom line is you want to see through the window and that will involve glass and that will involve emissivity of infrared energy. An inert gas sealed between several panes of glass will reduce U factor, but .2 is pretty good and that equates to R5. Cutting the heat transfer in half from that which is what one would need to do to get to .1 U would be quite a step.
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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I guess I am just plain screwed. Had fuses changed from 15 to 20 and got all the boxes and masthead fixed only to find out I'd best not connect the power until I've run EVERY single wire and make sure it's big enough for 20 amp first.

Not only is the cellar dirt, the sill is toast on one whole side of the house.

Did fix the roof and it's not raining inside as of now.

I want to cry... I cannot get help from the CAP agency unless I am living there and I've given up my apartment ... so I guess this is where I live now... No water no toilet no power no heat

I think I am a bit too old to deal with this and it's going to be years before I can live in my 'home'...

The windows aren't single pane but they're only a few years old and insulated glass...not really a big concern considering the kitchens are solid mold because some idiot put a porch on the side of the house but didn't bother to put flashing between it and the house so it's been raining in the kitchens for years. So I have to remove the porch, put the flashing up and stick the porch back on. screw the porch...I want to put it in the woodstove and fix the side of the house!

I need lolly columns and was told I'll have to dig two feet down and pour cement pads for each collumn before putting them in and that the collumns are not house jacks and won't life it back up...if I do jack it up that I risk losing all the windows...

Last edited by AuntyReni; 02-19-2010 at 11:29 PM.. Reason: posted before finishing
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Old 02-20-2010, 05:14 AM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 3,443,843 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellysmith View Post
U value is a measure of heat flow through a material, meaning total heat transfer. R value measures the resistance to heat transfer. I'm sure you are aware that U value is used for measuring window's insulating performance because of emissivity--the ability of a product to absorb certain types of energy, specifically infrared, and pass it through itself. Low E windows refer to windows that reduce emissivity of infrared rays. Heat travels from hot to cold so the emissivity can be sunlight heating a room or heat energy in a room escaping to the outside air. This is just based on which side of the window is warmer.
As a rule of thumb U value is the inverse of R value for a window so a U value of .2 would equate to an R value of 5. I can't speak for other window manufacturers, but Harvey windows are Argon filled. In fact their top window is Krypton filled with a U value of .18 which would equate to an R value of 5.56. I'd be skeptical myself if someone told me they had a window that equated to R11 because of emissivity. The bottom line is you want to see through the window and that will involve glass and that will involve emissivity of infrared energy. An inert gas sealed between several panes of glass will reduce U factor, but .2 is pretty good and that equates to R5. Cutting the heat transfer in half from that which is what one would need to do to get to .1 U would be quite a step.
Well and good, but it is not quite that straight a line. The low U, high R value windows that are available are triple pane and have carefully insulated frames, usually made of fibreglass. The German manufacturers seem well ahead of the rest of the world with their window design, but some of the Canadian manufacturers are close behind. One of the big difficulties is interpreting the measuring methods of both R and U, as it is different from the North American market to the European.

here is one company in California called "Serious Windows". Their most aggressive window has an R value of 11, but their literature indicates that their primary emphasis is on keeping heat out, and they do this by coatings on the window panes that limits light. This does not sound like a good combination for this latitude. German "Optiwin" and the Canadian Windows all deliver an R value of up to 11, with a U value of (if I remember correctly) around 2.2. The panes are not coated to the extent that the Serious Window product is, at least from the literature, but I think the difference is in the way the R value is measured, as well. Also, the frame insulation and construction is such that there is no chance of thermal bridging along the frame itself.

I will add here that the method of installation is somewhat different, and regardless of window manufacturer, the amount of sealing at time of installation is critical as well. Sometime in the second quarter I hope to begin modeling our new home using the Passive House Planning Package, which is a software package that takes all of these factors as well as construction method, square footage, perimeter footage and a hundred dozen other variables and computes the overall performance in terms of energy consumption of the completed house. Our goal is to be completely off grid and I am looking forward to seeing how the various windows available on the market perform once their manufacturer's specifications are quantified by the program. I will be writing about this on my website.
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Old 02-20-2010, 05:30 AM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 3,443,843 times
Reputation: 1393
Quote:
Originally Posted by AuntyReni View Post
I guess I am just plain screwed. Had fuses changed from 15 to 20 and got all the boxes and masthead fixed only to find out I'd best not connect the power until I've run EVERY single wire and make sure it's big enough for 20 amp first.

Not only is the cellar dirt, the sill is toast on one whole side of the house.

Did fix the roof and it's not raining inside as of now.

I want to cry... I cannot get help from the CAP agency unless I am living there and I've given up my apartment ... so I guess this is where I live now... No water no toilet no power no heat

I think I am a bit too old to deal with this and it's going to be years before I can live in my 'home'...

The windows aren't single pane but they're only a few years old and insulated glass...not really a big concern considering the kitchens are solid mold because some idiot put a porch on the side of the house but didn't bother to put flashing between it and the house so it's been raining in the kitchens for years. So I have to remove the porch, put the flashing up and stick the porch back on. screw the porch...I want to put it in the woodstove and fix the side of the house!

I need lolly columns and was told I'll have to dig two feet down and pour cement pads for each collumn before putting them in and that the collumns are not house jacks and won't life it back up...if I do jack it up that I risk losing all the windows...
\

OUCH! You've got a tiger by the tail, and in February, no less. Now, look at the bright side: it could be colder than blue blazes, the wind blowing sixty miles per hour and the snow could be coming down at three inches per hour! It isn't so that is one mark on your side of the column, and lets you get to work on the rest of the mess.

First of all, do you have an electrician to work with? If you are NOT an electrician, and feel that you do not have enough knowledge to work on electrical systems yourself, you will need one RIGHT NOW. Depending on the age and overall kind of wire in the house, you may not need a whole lot of wiring work. On the other hand, the wire could be too old to be anything except dangerous, so the first thing to do is to get an electrician to give you the quick and dirty truth. The first clue is fuses and not circuit breakers, so it sounds like you will have to have a new breaker box installed and new wires run. If you are handy, go to Home Depot and buy a book about house wiring. Read it. You CAN wire your house yourself, and believe it or not, basic electrical work, such as wiring a house isn't rocket science. Read the book: if you feel that this is something that you want to tackle yourself, then go ahead and try. Maybe there is a local electrician who will work some on the side and advise you while you do most of the labor.

For now forget about the cellar floor. Later, perhaps much later you will need to address that, and I think you will need to pour in crushed stone and then a solid floor of concrete, but that is for later. For sure eventually if you are living there, you will need to seal the floor up but that is a different pond full of aligators to tackle.

Is the chimney good enough to accept a woodstove? If it is, well and good. But if the chimney is not lined and in good condition (ask the fire department to inspect it), the screw the wood stove. That's why I think you need an electrician right now: get ONE circuit working in the house, and get a Toyostove Lazer 73 heater and get a exterior tank for kerosene mounted on a concrete pad. With one electrical circuit of 15 amps, you can run the heater, keep all the doors open inside the house and you will begin to warm things up and dry things out.

The porch roof sounds nasty. That will be a big job, as in back of the wall I am sure there may be an awful load of mold now....but for now, take one step at a time.

You can win the war, but pick your battles carefully, because it is still winter.

Good luck. I lived for several winters in an unheated camp without running water or much of anything else, and I feel your pain. But you CAN win!
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Old 02-20-2010, 06:10 AM
 
Location: 43.55N 69.58W
3,231 posts, read 6,541,357 times
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I'm so sorry to hear of your misfortune, this surely has to be extremely discouraging to you. While I hate to add insult to injury, where was the inspectors head when he did the inspection, or did you not need to have an inspection due to the fact that you paid cash for the house?

I wish you the best of luck and hope you're able to see your way through this entire ordeal.
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Old 02-20-2010, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
9,494 posts, read 14,291,662 times
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AuntiReni, Don't let these doomers and believers in superstition discourage you. I had blown in insulation installed some years ago by Bonsey Brothers. They did a fine job and it paid for itself in about two years. That was with 85 cent fuel oil. It would pay much faster today. Lets look at your problems one step at a time. You have electricity. You don't need a 2010 electric system. Somebody could try to sell you one, but what you need is a safe system. You should probably not use 1500 watt electric heaters because your system might not handle the load. Use a propane wall unit for supplementary heat in the room you want to use most. Use it only when needed.

"Had fuses changed from 15 to 20 and got all the boxes and masthead fixed only to find out I'd best not connect the power until I've run EVERY single wire and make sure it's big enough for 20 amp first."

How often will you need to use 20 amps? That is 2400 watts and is a big load. The only circuit needing that big a load should be the kitchen. If you really need it and live with a toaster oven you could have a single wire run to serve your kitchen. That is inexpensive. A good electrical handy man can do that. You don't have to rewire the whole house.

"Not only is the cellar dirt, the sill is toast on one whole side of the house."

That can be addressed a few years down the road. It should not be your first priority. We moved into our house in 1983. I replaced a bad sill in 2008 when I needed to redo the pantry floor. It was not a big job. I had a local contractor do it.

"I want to cry... I cannot get help from the CAP agency unless I am living there and I've given up my apartment ... so I guess this is where I live now... No water no toilet no power no heat."

Spring is on the way. Once you have the building warmed you can check the plumbing for leaks and move in. Tackle any renovations step by step. We have an economic stimulus package in the works and if it is administered honestly and efficiently you will benefit from it. You can be in this spring.

"screw the porch...I want to put it in the woodstove and fix the side of the house!"

That's the attitude! You can do this. Don't let the naysayers discourage you. There are honest local carpenters and builders who can help you. Found a church yet? People there can tell you who is honest and reliable. You don't have to be a member, just ask.

"I need lolly columns and was told I'll have to dig two feet down and pour cement pads for each collumn before putting them in and that the collumns are not house jacks and won't life it back up...if I do jack it up that I risk losing all the windows..."

They are called Lally columns for the guy who invented them. The person who told you that was only half right. You don't need to dig down two feet. You can buy round concrete discs about 20 inches in diameter and four inches thick in any building supply outlet. They are commonly called elephant feet. They will support your floor jack. A Lally column is a steel pipe filled with concrete. It is not adjustable. A floor jack is made from two pipes that telescope. There are holes to put a pin through and a threaded jack goes on top to push up against the floor joist above. A few floor jacks judiciously placed will prevent further settling and you can postpone any sill replacement until your heirs own the house.

There; feel better?

Oh yeah, the snow blower. I recommend at least 10 horsepower and a relatively narrow front. The auger will chew through hard packed snow. Nothing chews through ice. You just need calcium chloride for that. Get a blower with big diameter tires. They have better traction. If your driveway has much of a slope you will want to get chains for the tires. Go slowly. It is a powerful machine.

Last edited by Northern Maine Land Man; 02-20-2010 at 09:10 AM.. Reason: Added snow blower advice.
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