Spot the Design Weakness - For Northern Climates

If we had a dime for each weak building assembly detail we saw, we’d be rich. In our 14 years of diagnosing comfort problems for clients; the exposed floor ranks as one of the most stark discomfort features of a home, new or old.

Walking home from the coffee shop Sunday and came across the feature below. Have a look at the photo and see how many design errors you can pick out:

Exposed floor with duct

1- The 2nd floor cavity is exposed above the front door.

2- The metal duct travels in a floor joist cavity past eh stone veneer covering a steel beam.

3- There are pot lights in the eaves.

Even 2LBS spray foam won’t ward off the discomfort in this small but significant exposed floor. How can it, the poor design will handicap it and soon enough all will be covered with lovely aluminum perforated soffit and who will know better.

So here’s the blow by blow, spray foam doesn’t stick well to oiled metal, there’s not enough room between the bottom of the duct and future soffit and though code does allow R12 they won’t get 2″ on the bottom. The duct will lose flow and warmth as it passes so close to the outdoors only to come back in. It runs close and may even touch 2 uninsulated metal beams. Lastly, let’s keep our finger’s crossed that the open joist cavity above the stone wall is continuously sealed otherwise that whole floor cavity above the entire foyer will feel cold to the touch on both sides (main floor and second).

As for the pot lights in the eaves, they are hard to change when they burn out and often create too much heat enough at times to create and ice dam.

Views: 967

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros

Comment by tedkidd on October 25, 2013 at 11:24am

Nice post Greg! 

Mind if I add to your list?  

4 - furnace will be oversized, so cycle times will be short thereby insuring that in heating season this duct will deliver cold air to a cold room. (You don't deliver hot air through cold duct.)

There is only so much you can do when multiple design flaws occur.  Often correcting for a few means the penalty due to the unsolvable (overhang) becomes insignificant.  I'd move the supply in as far as possible and use closed cell spray foam to this whole area.  

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.

Latest Activity

Colin Genge replied to billy g pinnick jr's discussion Blower Door Question
"I didn't take your comment as a challenge. I agree that his impression of what was occuring is…"
6 hours ago
Tom White posted a blog post

Clean Energy Works Oregon: Total Home Performance

Clean Energy Works Oregon (CEWO) is the largest nonprofit home performance provider in Oregon,…See More
9 hours ago
Tom White posted a video

Twas The Night Before a Clean Energy Christmas

From the foothills of the Rockies, RMI editorial director Pete Bronski reads 'Twas The Night Before a Clean Energy Christmas. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
9 hours ago
Chad Mcaulife commented on Green Jobs Training Center's photo
9 hours ago
Chie Kawahara's discussion was featured

THC Candidate Shares Energy Data

Midori Haus, a Passive House retrofit in Santa Cruz California and a Thousand Home Challenge…See More
9 hours ago
Bob Blanchette's discussion was featured

How does Cycles Per Hour affect real world AFUE?

Some claim that modern furnaces have minimized off cycle losses to the point they no longer matter.…See More
9 hours ago
Dale Stephens's blog post was featured

LED Lighting 24-month update 18,240 hours & counting

Background:In November 2012 I replaced 80% of my home's interior lighting with LEDs (35 bulbs…See More
9 hours ago
Home Energy Magazine's blog post was featured
9 hours ago

© 2014   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service