RE: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans?????
- John,The washer is a front loader - both water and energy efficient. We don't do the loads we used to now the kids are gone, but it cleans better, too.I can echo the blinds comments. I had good success with the honeycomb shades in Minnesota - properly sized and installed, they create an insulating layer of dead air. The nice thing about the orientation decision is that with the South side facing the street, we get the appearance and energy benefits of full plantation shutters - but only need them on the street side. Ordinary 2-inch blinds on the north side give us privacy and access to opening windows.Waiting for the new tech makes a lot of sense - I will discuss with the boss ("She Who Must Be Obeyed").karl--------------------------------------------------------Karl,
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of John and Mia
Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 12:10 PM
Subject: Re: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans?????
thanks for the info... my house is the same way... the best orientation
as far as the sun is concerned kit, BK, Living room and Master bath all on
north side bottom story... so the back of the house where most of my windows
are constantly in the shade. we just enjoyed breakfast outdoors in the shade
and after 6 years of living in an apartment it's a great thing to enjoy your
own home... is your washer one of the front loading ones? I like the
programmable thermostat in my home as well it's so high tech with a touch
screen but my favorite setting is off with cool fresh air coming into the
house thru open windows... I'm taking advantage of that while the weather is
still so favorable... I love Houston, Texas winters... I'd consider waiting
on downsizing as the technology is really improving in the Houston area in
the building industry... more and more builders are changing to a Green
Building program which re-engineers every single aspect of building homes to
benefit both the environment and make homes more energy efficient... you
wouldn't have to worry about sealing anything in these homes as that is a
standard consideration in this program..that's what we plan on doing with
our next home... I'd love to buy a "zero energy green building" in the next
5 or so years... I also think it's great you have other similar homes where
you can talk to your neighbors to compare results... see how much more they
are paying... and then feel good when you take the difference and throw it
to your mortgage to build more equity instead of giving it to the power
my wife and I looked into Lennar homes when we were looking into
building a home but couldn't find a model or location that we were both
happy with... I think it's a mixed blessing on how they offer "everything
included" into their homes which can be good but also limiting... especially
considering that builders mark up everything they install atleast 35% so
they profit in everything that's included which really adds up... and if you
are a do it yourselfer you can save a good amount of money by installing
your own fans and blinds among many other things... I worked as a
vendor/outside sales for a blinds company for 4 years and if anybody is
curious as to which types of blinds/ window coverings are the most effective
in keeping heat out of a home here is my list from personal experience.
from best to worst:
1. Plantation Shutters (they are pricey but add elegance to a home normal
blinds can't and block heat as nothing else can)
2. Vertical Blinds (they block almost all light and heat very effectively
but I don't think they look as good as horizontal blinds)
3. 2" Horizontal blinds ( by far the most popular... in every house I've
ever installed blinds in, and that is many hundreds of homes, once I put
these blinds in a closed them I Instantly felt atleast a 10 degree
difference in the room)
4. Plastic redi-shades I put these in the windows where my showers are as
they have no metal parts which can be damaged by very high humidity (rust is
an ugly thing to deal with in your shower)
5. Mini blinds (they are cheap and the plastic ones are a joke... the metal
ones block light but are no where near as good as the above mentioned blinds
use as a last resort)
also available are "honeycomb" shades which vary in thickness and ability to
block light and heat... I have not installed many of these so I didn't put
them on the list a I don't have enough experience with them to properly rate
them especially since they are so customizable in thickness but I'd say they
are atleast as good as the 2" horizontal blinds...
----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Rabago" <krabago@...>
Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 8:11 AM
Subject: RE: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans?????
My house was built by Lennar/Village. The windows are double pane, but not
filled. The insulation is good, but I wish I could have come round before
the sheet rock went in with a can of expanding foam - not the tightest house
in the world.
I found an aftermarket provider for the barrier - it was "Radiance," I
think - paint with fine aluminum mixed in. The brochure said 75% effective
(compared to 95% for the perf foil). Was advised against touching it - would
reduce reflectance, they said. (I don't know, but I don't have much reason
to touch it anyway.) They said my performance would be ok, but not as good
cuz the house is well insulated. I think I note a diff and have lower bills
than any neighbors (only 4 models in our subdivision all built within a year
or so of each other, so we have a good data set).
My big savings come from chosing a house with good orientation - kitchen and
living and MB are on the North side - cool and comfy in the summer. MB down
is easier to cool. House is way too big for us, we know. We are starting to
look for downsizing, but not in a real rush.
And I have CFLs everywhere - includng the floods.
Also, got the LG horizontal axis washer - it is great!
And I am a fiend about keeping my programmable thermostat programmed!
We don't have beer fridge, but do have a small chest freezer.
I will look into the fans - and the tip on the air leaks is a great one!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org on behalf of John and Mia
Sent: Sat 04-Feb-06 9:31 PM
Subject: Re: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans?????
this is John and I'm the one who recommended the soffit or ridge vents
or both... the soffit and ridge vents along with the plastic round or square
domes (the big or little plastic things on top of your roof which replaced
the metal spinning things) are all passive devices are the minimum
requirements for builders to install... they only work when there is a
breeze or alot of heat in the attic and they work on the principle that hot
air rises while cold air sinks... so, they only passively remove heat from
the attic which can accumulate very rapidly as you well know about Houston
area heat... I've seen the solar powered attic fans at Home Depot available
with the solar panel for around $150 which moves around 1250 feet of air per
minute which would be the equivalent of the entire air content of your attic
every 2 or 3 minutes (there is no way to match that kind of performance with
any passive device that I know of ) I would think that getting that much air
flowing by using a solar powered fan would really help out especially
considering how much electricity is going up... a 40% increase for me in
Katy within 2 weeks... that would really suck if prices stayed so high
during the summer and would really justify spending money on such
investments but hopefully as natural gas prices are going down so will
electric... just my .02
one thing I highly recommend for you and everyone else is to look for
air leaks in your house that can really increase the amount of money spent
to heat homes in winter or cool homes in summer... one real easy way to do
this is to go around your house and feel with your hand your electric plugs,
light switches and your windows especially around the sides of the windows
this works best when there is a good temperature difference between inside
and outside and if there is a breeze... when it's cold and windy then you
can really feel air coming thru these areas... try to figure out where the
air is coming in thru and plug the hole... in my 2005 Energy Star home I've
found over 21 areas where air comes in unimpeded which really make a big
difference in trying to keep my house warm in the winter... a bunch of
little holes add up to one big hole... just because your home is energy star
certified doesn't mean you don't have a good amount of air coming thru
different areas... and it's not considered a warranty defect unless it
causes your home to fail the door blower test used for EnergyStar
certification... some things I plan on doing are caulking the entire back
and side of my house where the hardiplank boards overlap to help prevent
outside air coming in and using the child safety plugs on every single
electric outlet to stop air from coming in from outside...
Karl, just out of curiosity, what type or brand of radiant barrier did
you have sprayed in? I plan on doing that soon and am looking for good
feedback from actual people who have tried different brands... also out of
curiosity, which builder built your McMansion? I've worked as a vendor for
new home builders for 4 years all over Houston and my wife currently works
for a Homebuilder... we built a Plantation Home and are pretty happy with
it... not as big as yours at 2359sqft but plenty of house for us...
another thing I've done to lower my electric bill was to switch to compact
fluorescent lights... they give the same brightness but only use about 25%
of the energy as regular light bulbs... the prices have really gone down...
you can get great bulk deals on eBay compared to buying them in packs of 5-6
at Home Depot of Lowes... hope this helps. John
----- Original Message -----
From: Karl Rabago
Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2006 7:40 PM
Subject: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans?????
This discussion is creating a question for me - Robert said "I'd recommend
soffit or ridge vents or both along with a solar powered attic fan(s)"
I considered adding one or two solar attic fans for my 2004 Energy Star
3,600 sq ft, 2 story "McMansion" in The Woodlands.
I have BOTH soffit and ridge vents.
But I talked to some folks who said that the fans would not be worth it -
they wouldn't move enough additional air (given the soffits and ridge vents)
to justify the cost.
I did have a radiant barrier sprayed in - couldn't afford to go back in
with the perf foil stuff. It has helped.
And I don't want to create a semi-conditioned space up there (and can't
afford it, either).
SO - what is the right answer for making my house envelope as energy
efficient in these matters as I can ?
And thanks for the great dialogue - I am new to the list but really
learning a lot!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Karl R. Rábago
19 Birchwood Park Pl.
The Woodlands, Texas 77382
home tel: 281.298.6429
"Thus, the task is, not so much to see what no one has yet seen, but to
think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees"
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of John
Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2006 6:15 PM
Subject: Re: [hreg] Southern Oklahoma architects/desigers/contractors
this is for Robert Johnston,
Robert... I've been studying the Green Building Initiative which is
the next level above Energy Star (it's a new way of homebuilding that
re-engineers every step of home building to be more energy efficient and
environmentally friendly) as I'm looking into getting a career in that field
and while I don't know of any specific professionals in your area but from
my research, almost anything else is better compared to paper and rock
shingles which doesn't reflect the heat but absorbs it... I'd recommend
soffit or ridge vents or both along with a solar powered attic fan(s) and
many places on the internet offer good deals on radiant barriers... I don't
think you need an architect per say but any good roofer should be able to
install a radiant barrier, and install a good roof with adequate
ventilation.... you don't need to re-engineer a roof as in change the slope
of the roof unless it has inadequate pitch for water to run off...
----- Original Message -----
From: Robert Johnston
Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2006 3:26 PM
Subject: [hreg] Southern Oklahoma architects/desigers/contractors
My sister recently moved to the Ardmore, OK area from Washington
state. They've bought a house that will need a new roof, and while they are
at it they want to increase the energy efficiency of their home. What they
need is an architect or other professional that can advise them on (a) the
roofing system, including venting, insulation, radiant barrier, metal vs.
shingles, etc.; (b) other energy improvements they can make to their house,
possibly including solar water heater.
Do any of you know reputable people that can do that kind of thing?
Do any of our architects travel that far?
John Miggins, do you know anybody in that area? (and do you serve
that area with your water heater business?)
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