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10 Things Nobody Tells You About Basement Well-Being

3. At some point, you’ll have leaks. Your basement is, at its most basic, a hole in the ground. Think of it like digging a hole in the sand at the beach: Eventually, there will be at least some dampness, or even leaks, down there. (FEMA estimates, rather distressingly, that 98 percent of houses will have a wet basement at some point.) What’s important is what you do about it. Inspect your basement regularly for signs of moisture or leaks, and stay on top of it: Seal any potential sources of leaks or moisture and insulate pipes, run a dehumidifier,…


How (Older) Homes Work

An educational session for homeowners in Newton, Massachusetts. The two-day course is titled "How (Older) Homes Work." [Photo credit: Steve Snider] Opportunities for builders to obtain building science education may seem scant, but opportunities for people who own and operate buildings — particularly homeowners — are even rarer. About two years ago, this lack led to my developing a class for homeowners called “How (Older) Homes Work” (HOHW). My good friend and colleague, Steve Snider, really got got the ball rolling when he suggested that I come to his community (Newton, Massachusetts) to do this training as a two-evening seminar…


How to Select an Insulation Facing

When it comes to fiberglass insulation, there are a variety of facings available to meet the unique needs of varied HVAC and mechanical applications.  That said, when it comes to selecting a facing material, there’s are a variety of nuanced details that should influence your facing material selection. Facings serve a variety of purposes, ranging from aesthetics to limiting vapor drive. As you consider which facing is best for your application, there are a number of characteristics you’ll want to consider before you make your selection. Today, we’ll compare the characteristics of four different kinds of facing offered by JM:…


Moisture Control: Utilizing Vapor Retarders

A vapor retarder is defined as a material or system that adequately retards the transmission of water vapor under specific conditions. Building occupants, certain appliances, plants, and plumbing equipment generate moisture that is carried in the air as vapor. Moisture control through limiting water vapor movement in commercial buildings is essential. A vapor retarder helps prevent water vapor from moving into building assemblies, like walls, where it can condense into liquid water within the structure. Liquid water can accumulate inside exterior walls and in roof and crawl spaces. If enough water is present, rot and decay can cause significant damage.…


The Many Facings of Fiberglass Insulation

FSK, PSK, ASJ, poly-top and vinyl are all common insulation facing terms you may have heard referenced within the insulation industry. At the most basic level, these terms relate to the external, protective surface-facing or jacketing on insulations used for pipes or HVAC ductwork. Facings and jacketings serve several purposes in air handling and piping applications, including helping your system meet building codes, achieve better energy efficiency, and control condensation – just to name a few. We hope that this blog will be able to help you better understand the differences between the facings and jacketings used within the insulation…


How to Properly Seal Ducts

Duct leakage associated with forced air HVAC systems has proven to be one of the largest energy wasters in our industry. Just like many things in the HVAC business, the devil is in the details in regards to duct sealing. Depending on who you talk to, you could get a number of different answers on the proper way to seal a duct system. There are a lot of different tools, materials, methods, and testing that contractors are using to seal ducts. What gear do I really need to seal ducts? The type of sealant you plan on using for patching…

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