“I don’t get it why would we want to make the house so tight that you would need ventilation?”

“I don’t get it why would we want to make the house so tight that you would need ventilation?”


I was asked this question by a potential customer. I think that this is certainly valid question. I answered it to the best of my ability within the short amount of time. I explained that the mantra of our industry is to seal it tight and ventilate it right. I explained the positive impact on IAQ and reducing the amount of infiltration from the dirty attic. I said our goal was make the house safe and comfortable and we would naturally become more efficient. That our repairs would work 24 hours a day hot or cold rain or shine.

I explained that the house was already tight and our measures would make it tighter and ventilation was necessary if the work was to be performed. ”but I keep windows open all the time” she replied. I explained that the ventilation would still be needed in case the windows were not open. And that filtered fresh air is a good thing. I explained that this is not a new thing as commercial buildings have been employing ventilation needs for decades. I also explained that current codes here in California have ventilation codes.

“Well I could see it if I had small children but I just don’t see the benefit.”  Our customer base is sometimes willing to listen and sometimes defiant. The fact is that these principals for a performance home are difficult for some folks to accept.  They do not understand nor see the benefit. Nor do they want change.

It is easy for most to grasp the concepts of insulation, duct sealing, windows (as misguided as much of the information is) high efficiency HVAC systems and Photovoltaic’s.  The highest hurdle for most of our customers to understand is Ventilation. The fact that we state we can save you energy and then require a device to be installed that was not currently in the home is counter intuitive. You can’t visibly see stale air or infiltration.

While good ventilation might have the highest positive impact it is in my opinion the hardest concept to sell.

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I think you're missing the point. Mechanical ventilation is one small part of indoor human comfort, and often not the most important part.

John, great post. I love real world examples that illustrate experiences that took people to new understandings. I recently realized how critically connected iaq is to comfort, and energy intensive behaviors in effort to attain comfort. A stale house is uncomfortable. Once you see it, you can't unsee it.

Some people are resistant to having perspective change or grow, and some simply aren't capable.



I would agree it is my loss. I do not have the internet stamina to exhaust such points. I choose not to play the game called the point is moot.

You have quite obviously made up your mind and are on your own path to righteousness. Good luck with your journey, I choose not to follow 

I will simply agree to disagree

On the contrary. I let the facts and evidence lead me to appropriate conclusions. It is you who seems unwilling to consider the facts if they interfere with your opinion.

You are still awake? I am on the west coast and will be in bed as soon as I hit send

my only opinion was that you are competent yet rude. I would also add I would most likely avoid conversation with you at a party. It is too bad as you indicate a real passion and wealth of knowledge for the industry. However you cannot convey that wealth of knowledge in meaningful discourse with respect for others.

Yes, I'm still awake. I don't go to parties. I don't engage in small talk. I am bluntly honest and forthright, and I don't suffer fools gladly.


I'm sorry that Mr. Feist posted information in another forum, (your links), that disagrees with the position you have chosen. That is a selfish and consuming reason to release your rant here. It is in fact a rant because none of the rest of us knew where you were coming from. When you were challenged you then posted the links. It would not be a rant if you had shared everything with the discussion.

Your comments on this topic, as stated above, disagree with everything I have learned from Day 1 in training. And they reinforce my 40 years of experience with people.  Usually people that have to state they don't suffer fools are themselves  _________ .

Since you have made your position clear, the rest of us can now discuss the issues we are concerned about.

To label a rational discussion a "rant" and to call the commenter "selfish" is exactly the kind of disrespectful (and intellectually dishonest) comment you claim to be inappropriate.

You are absolutely correct about the difficulty of getting this point across to consumers - and the importance of your advice. 

We were fortunate at an early stage (2005) of our business to have had an important experience that taught us why ventilation requires modification after sealing a building. Maybe our somewhat funny (and fortunately non-costly) experience will be helpful whenever you need an analogy to make this critical point regarding the "seal it tight AND ventilate it right" ditty.

SealantTech (using our initial Ag-Tite brand) pioneered the application of spray foam in poultry houses and through the years have sprayed thousands of these large buildings to improve static pressure. Farmers have been pleased with the resulting, substantial savings in energy and better breeding environment. Among the many, many "lessons learned" (the most important being that 2lb foam does not hold up because of darkling beetles) was that ventilation must be modified after we spray. 

As an example, in one early application, our customer was very happy that the static pressure in his 15 year old leaky house easily exceeded the minimum level required by his poultry integrator. Before our work, the grower was in danger of losing his contract to grow chickens and, of course, had no alternative use for 4 buildings (350' x 60') in the middle of nowhere Arkansas.

However, 6 months later the grower called us back (after two flocks of 20,000 birds each) to say that while the static pressure was fine, he had lost productivity. Neither he nor his integrator could figure out what was wrong so they wanted our opinion. After looking at a variety of their processes (we were neophytes in the poultry business then), we identified why they were achieving lower average broiler weights than were expected at 45 days. As a result, an inadequate number of birds were achieving the spec required for higher-value chicken breasts. That was a big number when you consider the wholesale price spread paid by KFC and McDonald's between breasts vs. other chicken parts times 40,000 birds raised since we sprayed.

Important lesson learned: 

After we sprayed, the farmer did not increase the flow of air ventilated through the house. The results was that his birds became oxygen-deprived and did not grow at the rate normally expected or achieve a consistent finished weight. As can easily be seen in retrospect, this was because air that had previously been coming through cracks and joints in the leaky house was no longer available because of our sealant work. After the "aha" hit everyone and additional air was provided to the next flock (at no additional cost), the farmer's results jumped off the page. In one flock he went from worst to best grower for this integrator in his Complex.

Hopefully the world will learn the wisdom of your recommendation - to "Seal it tight" AND "Ventilate it right". If they do, they will live a healthier life…not an option, of course, for chickens and turkeys - at least not beyond their 45 days in a well sealed and ventilated poultry house!



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