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Attic ventilation
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While in the attic checking the insulation, see if the area is adequately ventilated. As discussed in chapter 9, attic ventilation is necessary not only to prevent condensation problems during the winter months but also from an energy-conservation point of view to reduce the heat load on the structure during the summer. Because of trapped air, attic areas can become excessively hot during the summer, reaching temperatures of about 150 F. If there is an air-conditioning blower coil located in the attic, the high temperature will tend to lessen its efficiency of operation. Attic ventilation 255
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Insulation Exterior siding Interior wall surface
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Vapor barrier Exterior siding
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Insulation Exterior wall
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Vapor barrier
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Interior wall
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Cold dry air
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Cold dry air Warm moist air
Cold dry air
Warm moist air
Interior wall
Wall with no vapor barrier
Wall with vapor barrier incorrectly positioned
Wall with vapor barrier correctly positioned
Fig. 19-3. How a correctly positioned vapor barrier prevents condensation in the exterior wall. Ventilation in an attic should be provided by at least two vent openings located so that air can flow in one opening and out of the other. Vents in the eaves and at gable ends are better than gable vents alone. One of the most effective methods for ventilating the attic is a combination of vents in the eaves and a continuous ridge vent. Remember, the attic must also be adequately ventilated during the winter. As long as the attic is adequately insulated, the benefits of ventilation greatly exceed any fuel savings that might result from blocking the vent openings. storm sash, panel, or combination unit, reduces the heat loss through a single-glazed window by about 50 percent. In cold climates, it also adds to physical comfort by reducing an apparent draft. Body heat radiates toward a cold surface. Also, warm air hitting a cold surface loses its heat, becomes dense, and falls to the floor. This combined effect creates what appears to be a draft to someone sitting or standing near the cold surface (window). If the storm window is a sash or combination unit (both of which cover the window frame), it also helps reduce coldair infiltration through the movable and fixed joints around the window. Basically, a storm window is effective because it traps a layer of air between itself and the window. This dead air space acts as an insulator and thus reduces heat loss. If installing storm windows is not economically
Storm windows
Most homes with single-pane windows will benefit by the installation of storm windows. (See chapter 5.) A storm window, whether a 256 Energy considerations
justified because you are planning to move or your budget does not presently permit the purchase of storm windows, you can still make your windows energy efficient. Simply cover them with plastic sheets and secure the edges with tacks, molding strips, and caulking. Although temporary, these inexpensive homemade storm windows are an effective approach to reducing heat loss. They will more than pay for themselves in fuel savings in the first year.
and the foundation wall, (4) between dissimilar siding materials (such as a masonry-andshingle wall), (5) where the chimney meets the siding, and (6) where storm windows meet the window frame (except for drain holes at the windowsill). If the caulking is old, brittle, broken, or missing, the joints should be recaulked. Good home maintenance includes an annual check of all exterior joints, particularly in view of rising fuel costs.
Caulking and weatherstripping
In a well-insulated house with thermal-pane or storm windows, air leakage is the greatest source of heat loss. To conserve energy further by reducing the cold-air infiltration during the winter and the loss of air-conditioned air in the summer, the movable joints (such as those around windows and doors) should be weatherstripped, and the fixed exterior joints should be caulked. (See chapter 5 for types of caulking compounds.) Check windows and doors for weatherstripping and tightness of fit. Loose-fitting windows and doors not only lose heat but result in uncomfortable drafts. All window sashes, exterior doors, and interior doors or hatches leading to unheated areas (such as an attic, basement, or crawl space) should be weatherstripped on their sides, tops, and bottoms. Periodically check the condition of the weatherstripping. Over the years, some types of weatherstripping will wear, tear, crack, and generally deteriorate so that replacement is required. The condition of the caulking on the exterior joints should be checked during your energy audit. Specifically, look at the joints (1) between the exterior siding and the window and door frames, (2) at the inside and outside corners formed by the exterior siding, (3) just under the bottom side of the exterior siding
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