Sunday, September 25, 2011

Roof Vents and Solar Fan Installed this Weekend

The weather has been spotty this week, with rain, rain, and more rain.  We took a chance on Saturday, and decided we could install the vents and solar fan ourselves--we tried to get roofers out to look, but they were WAY too busy to even give this little job a second thought. 

From start to finish, the job took about six hours.  And two trips to HomeDepot prior to starting All up, the parts for the project cost around $1350, with the solar fan and roof curb eating up $1160 or so. Both the fan and the pop-vents have a lifetime warranty.  And they were made in TX and upstate NY, respectively.  

Assembling the bathroom vent
Kitchen vent waiting to be assembled

Finally, everything up on the roof

The two passive vents were easy; I just needed to cut the roof membrane--the previous roofer cut the roof-deck but forgot to install them....

Second passive vent.  I used

Loctite PL 10 fl. oz. Black Polyurethane Roof and Flashing Sealant in a caulk gun to seal the vents and curb to the roof.

Sunset at about 6:30p-kinda running out of time--roof curb will have to wait 'til tomorrow

Three down, one to go.  The bathroom vent is ready to go in.  The kitchen vent is on the right.

I had put a screw up through the underside of the roof to mark the center of the hole needed for the bathroom and kitchen vents.  Then it was a matter of making a 6" hole with the reciprocating saw.

Day 2, Sunday 8am.  Ready to install the roof-curb (top left).  The solar fan is on its side and awaits its solar panel with adjusting bracket.

Cut hole for solar fan.  Note the wire inside the hole.  The house's cornice is attached, tied off, and supported with a dozen or so of these wires along the front.  

Roof curb, installed.  We went with the pre-fabricated one Attic Breeze sells.          Super simple. 

Adding the solar panel with adjustable bracket.

Applying a coat of Karnak #19 and then Karnak #34 Utility Grade Cotton Fabric

Finishing up the roof curb flashing.  Solar fan installed, and functioning!

Finished front view.

Solar Fan.  Worth a $300 tax credit this year...

Finished rear view.  Polly is touching up some gaps under the parapet caps.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Boiler installed; hot water heters delayed

The plumbers are still waiting on the Bradford White water heaters we wanted--something about a supply-chain/stock issue. They should be in next week, and the basics of the renovation--the contractor portion--should be finished.

We were forced to go with an atmospheric vent model as we were not able to create a satisfactory direct-vent option.  This was also the case with the boiler--again, not a satisfactory direct-vent option.  So, we sacrifice a little bit on efficiency with the atmospheric vs direct-vent options. 

The boiler we chose, a Burnham ES2-5 (102,000 BTUs)  atmospheric vent, and designed to be an energy-star rated direct replacement to the type of boiler we used to have--and many many home heating systems set-up before the 1940s and 50s have--radiated water heat. 

The boiler is hooked up, but not tested.  It still needs the LCD panel added and the electronics hooked up.  Note the old H2O heater to the right.  It is in the spot designated for the first floor new heater--still working for now, so as not to interrupt the house's hot water.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Active and passive venting of the roof

This passive-active venting system, along with decent bathroom and kitchen fans vented through the roof, should keep heat and moisture levels in the walls and plenum to a minimum.  

 This solar fan will be mounted on the roof, at the front.  It has a thermal switch attached, which will activate the fan at around 75 degrees F.  Notice that it is not "Made in the U.S.A." but rather, "Made in Texas."

This is one of the two passive vents we are installing--in the holes left behind by the roofer back in 10/2009.  They are in good spots on the roof already, thus no sense in fixing them just to put two more holes in the roof...

We are in the pink!

For a while, we have been debating on how to ventilate the roof space.  I hemmed and hawed over types of insulation, whether the roof was going to get the ventilation it "needed," and how I was going to make this all work.

I realized early on in the process of thinking about insulation for the roof-rafters, I would need to provide adequate air-flow to allow the whole "unit" (insulation, roof, and ultimately the house) to breathe.

We are in the pink, so to speak.  R-30 on top of the ceiling, and below the roof rafters.
We will have a plastic (4mil sheet) "vapor barrier" installed on the ceiling rails, and the drywall placed on top of it.  We have not worked out the insulation strategy for the walls yet, however.

Our research tells us that our house, a two-wythe brick (with an air-gap between the wythes) load-baring house should really not be insulated, and if the walls are insulated, there be sufficient air space to allow the walls to breathe.  A typical fiberglass insulation with a vapor barrier is not the recommended way to go...

"Clearly, fiberglass batts should never be used to insulate the interior of a brick wall. (Since fiberglass batts are permeable to vapor and air, they permit interior moisture to condense on the cold bricks. That's bad.)" POSTED ON AUG 12, 2011 BY MARTIN HOLLADAY, GBA ADVISOR

So our thought process is leaning toward rock-wool (also known as stone-wool or mineral-wool), and no vapor barrier. Spray foam (closed cell) is the other choice, but we were not interested in coating the brick for a variety of reasons--With the exception of low-toxic cementitious foams, most foamed-in-place insulations contain hazardous ingredients and are toxic during application...also, the majority of commercial foams use ozone-depleting blowing agents....The EPA's concerns are discussed here.

Stay tuned...