Chimney

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Things You Do Not Need

And a few things you do

Posted on Feb 9 2018 by Martin Holladay
prime

Houses are changing. Anyone buying a new home in 2018 expects the home to be quite different from one built in 1918, of course.

What “new features” is the typical buyer of a new home seeking out? It depends. Some buyers are looking for a foyer with a 20-foot ceiling and a master bathroom with a big Jacuzzi. Others, including the typical GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader, are looking for low energy bills and superior indoor air quality.


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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Midwest Construction

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Why Is This Wood Stove Misbehaving?

A basement wood stove should provide inexpensive supplemental heat, but this homeowner is never sure when it will backdraft and smoke

Posted on Jan 13 2014 by Scott Gibson

Clark Agnew should be the envy of his neighborhood. He has a tight house, a high-efficiency wood stove with its own fresh-air intake, and access to free firewood. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV(HRV). Balanced ventilation system in which most of the heat from outgoing exhaust air is transferred to incoming fresh air via an air-to-air heat exchanger; a similar device, an energy-recovery ventilator, also transfers water vapor. HRVs recover 50% to 80% of the heat in exhausted air. In hot climates, the function is reversed so that the cooler inside air reduces the temperature of the incoming hot air. ) keeps indoor air healthy. What's not to like?

But, as he writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor, the situation is far from ideal.

"I have run the stove about 6 or 7 times since we moved in," Agnew writes. "Three of those times it has backdrafted."


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Image Credits:

  1. Clark Agnew

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Providing Outdoor Combustion Air for a Wood Stove

We brought ducted outdoor combustion air to our wood stove by punching a hole through the back of the unused fireplace

Posted on Oct 14 2013 by Chris West

In November 2012, I started on a deep energy retrofit of my 1976 raised ranch in northwestern Vermont, in the shadow of Mount Mansfield. As a Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. consultant, I wanted to make my leaky (8.25 ach50) house with fiberglass-filled 2x4 walls and a tuck-under garage much more energy-efficient.


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Image Credits:

  1. Chris West

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How to Fix an Old Farmhouse Chimney

Persistent leaks and spalling bricks have the homeowners wondering whether the chimney should be repaired or replaced

Posted on Aug 26 2013 by Scott Gibson

Between the spalling bricks and a persistent leak that has damaged a mudroom ceiling, the chimney on Page Hyler's 1900 farmhouse is proving to be a problem that just can't get fixed.


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Image Credits:

  1. Page Hyler

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How Did Water Damage this Brick Basement?

Seasoned builders and a moisture expert debate whether rising damp or a blocked chimney caused this brick column to crumble.

Posted on Mar 30 2010 by Rob Wotzak

In a recent discussion from our Q&A forum, Chris Ermides tries to determine what caused severe deterioration of a brick column in the basement of his Victorian home. Chris knows that his basement could use some moisture remediation, but he is puzzled that none of the nearby brick walls have similar signs of decay. Fortunately, the chimney that the column once supported is long gone, and the load of the adjacent beams rests comfortably on lally columns, but Chris is still determined to solve this mystery.


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Farewell to the Chimney?

Bidding an old friend adieu

Posted on Jun 6 2009 by Martin Holladay

For thousands of years, the chimney has been closely associated with our concept of home. Upon spying smoke curling from a distant chimney, the weary traveler ends his journey with lightened steps.

When I built my house in Vermont, as a much younger man than I am today, I designed a house with two chimneys. The house has a cellar, first floor, second floor, and attic; because I wanted the chimneys to rise five feet above the ridge, they had to be 40 feet tall.


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Image Credits:

  1. Martin Holladay

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