Q: What is the best way to insulate an unvented cathedral ceiling in a detached workshop? I plan to insulate before installing an AC and heating system (thinking mini-split). Is closed-cell spray foam the best, or only, good option in this case? I don't plan on finishing the space with drywall, although wouldn't rule it out in the future. .And given that it's only a workshop … [Read more...] about Insulating A Cathedral Ceiling With Foam Board
Q: The foundation on my 1980s-era house is insulated on the exterior with sheets of foam board. Several inches of foundation are exposed above grade, where the foam is protected by aluminum flashing. The foam and flashing are unsightly. Would it risk termites or other problems to raise up the ground level with soil or river rock to cover up the foam? Are there better … [Read more...] about How To Protect Foam Insulation on Foundation?
Q: Do heat pumps work in cold weather? I have a leaky farmhouse in Vermont with an old oil furnace. One contractor recommended adding a couple of mini-split heat pumps in the main living spaces and to use the oil furnace as a backup when it’s below zero. How much can I expect to save on my heating bills? — Gary M. A: Until recently, heat pumps were mainly used in mild … [Read more...] about Do Heat Pumps Work In Cold Climates?
Q: How does the ZIP system compare to standard sheathing? It seems like 9 out of 10 new homes and remodels in my area (northern New England) are using green ZIP sheathing on the walls and some use the red version of the roof as well. How does this product compare to using plywood and a housewrap such as Tyvek? — Tom A: Zip System sheathing was introduced by Huber Engineered … [Read more...] about ZIP Sheathing Vs. Plywood & Housewrap?
Q: I have a century-old home with copper and cast-iron drain pipes. I recently installed a high-efficiency furnace but learned the condensate may be corrosive to the drain pipes. I am wondering what pH level can harm the drain pipes. Also should I filter the water though a material such as limestone to reduce the pH. Would this an effective solution for treating the water … [Read more...] about Will Furnace Condensate Corrode Plumbing?
Q: We are building a new home – a contemporary Cape – and are trying to decide between casement and double-hung windows. We like the look of casements, but have heard that they can be trouble. We are also trying to decide between vinyl-clad and solid-vinyl windows. Any suggestions would be appreciated. – Tom C. A: There are definitely pros and cons to each type of … [Read more...] about Casement Vs. Double-Hung Windows
Q: We live in Kingston, NY and cathedral ceilinged the main living space of our 1925 raised ranch. The rafters are 2×6's. we used R-21 fiberglass batts (5 1/2 " thick) and 1" pine tongue and groove boards. The roof is an unvented shingle roof. Is there an affordable solution to prevent humidity build up? – Kate A: In cold climates, unvented roof cavities can lead to moisture … [Read more...] about Air-Sealing An Unvented Cathedral Ceiling
Q: Jonathan asks: We recently purchased a three-level townhome in Virginia, built about 15 years ago. The third floor, where the bedrooms are located, stays about 5º F colder than the main living area on the second level. There is only one heating zone with the thermostat on the second floor. A heating technician has balanced the ductwork, but said he cannot get more heat to … [Read more...] about Is Attic Air Sealing & Insulation Worth It?