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21 Answers

Heat-pump water heater in Canada?

I live in Nova Scotia in zone 6B. We're thinking of installing a heat pump hot water heater (my husband would do it himself) and not sure of how efficient it would be. We just bought the house, and the inspector told us (he used an infrared camera) that the house is well insulated. It was a Kent Home built in 1986; a split entry. We are going to have someone install a mini-split ductless heat pump in the living room upstairs. The rest of the house is heated by baseboard heaters. We pay 14.8 cents per kwh (no time of day billing).

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Sarah Poulin | Jan 25 16
0 Answers

I thought I was done for a while...


I just found 1280 sqft of 2 inch reclaimed xps for $320 on kijiji. Fingers crossed I can get it before it goes. And I thought it was going to take a few thousand to insulate my basement slab.

In General questions | Asked By Calum Wilde | May 18 18
2 Answers

High Sierra showerheads


My spouse and I are building a new home in Colorado. This website and the Q and A have been extremely helpful.

We are looking at showerheads that are durable, ie made of metal, water efficient and stylish. We looked at the typical brands including Kohler, Moen, etc and were impressed by the price. Wow, and not in a good way. Future searching brough me to High Sierrra shower heads.

Does anyone have experience with this company?
Does anyone have suggestions?

Thanks in Advance,


In General questions | Asked By Lydia Segal | May 17 18
7 Answers

32'x42' concrete slab, 4"-5" thick, on foam and stable sand base: Do I need saw cuts?

Just poured the garage and had it sealed with a cure and seal compound. Slab ended up 5" in places (nominal 4"). I sits on 1 inch of foam and Ampex radiant panels (3 inch foam equivalent total). It's a floating slab, with 2 inches of foam separating it from the frost walls. The whole thing is on 4' of compacted sand, that sat for a year before the pour. Slab is 32 Mpa concrete with microfiber, no steel reinforcement.

My question is, do I really need the saw cuts? I would be willing to deal with the odd crack. I figure it would be a lot easier to keep the floor clean without the saw cuts.

In GBA Pro help | Asked By Mai Tai | May 17 18
6 Answers

Insulating hot water pipes?

Hi folks -
At some point we'll get a roof and then be able to close up the walls. While we wait - I have long thought about wrapping our hot water pipes with insulation. At the local big box - I have a couple option: 1. Rubber, Foam, and a fiberglass product.

- What are the thoughts on insulating hot water pipes? Any risk of condensation that would be problematic?
- We have installed a hot water recirculation loop - insulate that?
- Probably too big to insulate - but we also installed a drainwater heat recovery pipe...

We are in northern Virginia.

In Green building techniques | Asked By Adam W | May 15 18
6 Answers

Just moved into new house (actually 20 years old, just new to us). It has fuel-oil baseboard heat with six zones.

The system works well, but now that hot weather is here the furnace runs a lot to just heat the Hot Water Heater. That seems very inefficient to me. Running a 100,000 BTU/Hr. system just to heat water. Would not a well insulated electric HWH be more efficient and then the furnace could be totally off for 8 months a year?

In Mechanicals | Asked By Richard Byrd | May 16 18
6 Answers

Mini split commissioning and warranty conditions

I like to compare USA and EU. Simply because I'm curious :)

So I am interested how does commissioning of mini splits and warranty conditions work in USA.

The situation here in EU is as follows:
I have to buy the mini-split from the HVAC contractor to get the warranty on parts AND labor.
Mini-split manufacturer only gives the warranty for parts, and HVAC contractor only gives warranty for labor, but only if you buy from him.

This means, I can't buy a mini-split where I find the best price, then have the local HVAC contractor install it, and have the complete warranty.

In General questions | Asked By davor radman | May 17 18
5 Answers

Can I re-insulate my cathedral ceiling using the stack-of-pancakes approach with a vent?

I have a gable roof with a cathedral ceiling built with 2x8 rafters 24” on center. There is a ridge vent already installed and the roof assembly to the north of the ridge has soffit vents while the assembly to the south ends in the main attic space which is also ridge and soffit vented. I have spent several hours reading through the “musings” and other online resources and decided to move forward with the stack-of-pancakes method.

In Green building techniques | Asked By Trying harder | May 17 18
1 Answer

Air sealants/caulks

Any recommendations for air/acoustic sealant caulks in Canada? Other than the extremely messy and hard to work PL Acousti-Seal (aka 'black death')? Application is for cracks/seams on the interior prior to dry walling.
Thanks in advance!

In General questions | Asked By Quinn Sievewright | May 17 18
11 Answers

Conditioned Attic - Roof Construction in ICF Home


We are building an ICF home in northern Indiana, climate zone 5A. It will be about a 3k sq ft ranch with a 1k sq ft unfinished basement. Exterior walls will be made from Build Block, using 4" concrete forms above grade with thicker forms below. The builder tells me that they are effectively R-50 walls.

In Green building techniques | Asked By user-7022224 | May 11 18
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