Home-Performance Horrors ... in Homes Everywhere
What not to overlook in remodeling a home?
Mechanical problems like these, for starters.
"This is the mechanical closet that is open to the garage. I suggested that they build new doors and seal it completely from the garage to keep CO from getting into the house," said Carl Seville of Seville Consulting, who took all of these photos at Atlanta-area homes he's been asked to consult on prior to remodeling or adding on.
"The big unit to the left is a very nice dehumidifier that currently serves only one room. I suggested that they integrate it into the HVAC system to serve the whole house. They also have a humidifier (beige box in upper right corner) that is pretty much useless in a humid climate like Atlanta. Hopefully they will remove it or disable it."
Seville: "This is a return air duct at plenum in same mechanical room. If the HVAC is running when a car is idling in the garage (right next to this duct), it circulates carbon monoxide throughout the house. Fixing problems like this falls into the category of trying to avoid killing your clients."
Seville: "These attic knee walls are very poorly insulated and have no air barrier on the attic side, so they are essentially useless at keeping heat and cold from the attic from entering the living space. I recommended that they consider applying spray foam insulation to the roofline. Also, the attic decking is right on top of the old ceiling joists, so the ceiling insulation is well below recommended levels. It would probably cost more to upgrade the ceiling and knee wall insulation that to spray the roofline in this case."
Seville: "Stud cavities used to create sidewall boots. Note the careful air-sealing at the studs and drywall. Might keep a cat from getting through the gap if they're lucky."
image at right:
Seville: "This is a chase from the mechanical closet that is in the garage that goes up to the attic. It allows for a lot of air movement as well as exposing the house to carbon monoxide from the cars."
Seville: "Nicely crimped duct supported by plumbing pipes."
We share these photos to kick off the June contest on d5R: Home Performance Horrors! Sponsored by the Building Performance Institute, the contest seeks short, simple stories of how contractors solved dangerous, expensive or otherwise unwise home-performance problems in their clients homes.
Photos can demonstrate any number of comfort, health or performance issues with a home, along with clear demonstrations of how you solved the problem.
The prize? Your project will be featured in d5R during the month, and, if you are selected as the winner, you will receive a certification exam from BPI (written and field exam) valued at $550, for any of the following categories:
- Building Analyst
- Air Conditioning and Heat Pump
- Residential Building Envelope Whole House Air Leakage Control Installer
- Residential Building Envelope Whole House Air Leakage Control Crew Chief
See more examples of problem photos here.
Entering the June contest is easy and free.
Simply email a nasty “before” photo of home energy retrofit work (i.e., moldy insulation, dank damp basements, gaps in walls or ceilings, a dysfunctional HVAC system), along with one or more cleaned up “after” photos showing how you addressed the problem.
Send your entry to snapshots@daily5Remodel. Indicate the town or city where the home is, and include a brief narrative explaining how you solved your client's problem.
The winner, chosen at the end of the month, will receive one BPI certification written and field exam, valued at $550, administered by a BPI’s affiliate organization in your area. Cost of training not included.
update, 7/7/11: congrats to Allen Associates, the contest winner