Space heating

Your renovation may create new spaces that need to be heated, but are hard to reach with your heating ducts or hot water pipes. You may also want to warm up some cold areas in the house that are hard to heat. In these cases, the best solution may be a space Can be used in existing woodburning fireplace. Should have own source of outside combustion air. Electronic ignition preferred over pilot light. Chimney liner may be required. Hook up to existing gas lines. Use vent pipe through wall to...

Healthy Renovation

Renovation can go a long way toward making a house healthier. However, if you're not careful, your renovation may cause some health effects you had not foreseen. When you renovate, you create disruption and bring in new materials that can actually make your indoor air quality worse. A renovation aimed at reducing energy consumption, for example, could actually decrease natural ventilation rates in your house and cause new problems such as too much humidity, stuffiness and lingering odours. In...

Air Conditioner Worksheet

Size of unit (BTUs) Cooling load (hours) Electricity cost (per kWh) - Operating cost Plus 25 - Total yearly cost _ X _ X By comparing this to the price difference between the two, you can calculate the number of years it will take to make up the difference. Capacity (BTUs) Cooling load (hours) Note The total operating cost includes the electricity needed to run the fan motor in the air handler or furnace, which circulates the air through the house. This adds 25 per cent to the annual cost....

Air Conditioning Options Worksheet

Rooms, the number and orientation of windows. It can tell you how big a heat problem your house has and help determine the size of air conditioning unit you need. Installing a central air conditioning system is usually practical only if you have a forced-air heating system with ducts for carry the cooled air throughout the house. Otherwise, you'll have to install ducts for all the rooms you want to cool, which may not be feasible unless you're already ripping out the walls for a renovation...

Air Quality Questionnaire

Before doing the test, close all the windows and doors, and stay outside for at least 15 minutes. This will help clear your senses, You may want to seek professional advice before undertaking reno ations specifically for suspected indoor ait quality problems. Professional residential indoor air quality investigators are being trained across the coumrv. Contact the CMHC office nearest von or the l.ung Association for rhe availability of experts in your area. By seeking professional help you arc...

And Sealin

In the Canadian climate, protection from the cold (and to some extent, the summer heat) is a basic part of house construction. The main means of protecting yourself from the cold and heat are with insulation and air sealing. If you're doing a renovation that involves any building or remodelling of exterior walls, this protection will also be a basic part of your renovation plan. In many cases, insulation levels and air sealing will require upgrading. If your renovation project includes an...

Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with long, flexible fibres that can lodge in your lungs. Prolonged, high-level exposure to asbestos fibres in industrial settings can cause scarring that can lead to asbestosis (a severe impairment of lung function), or cancer of the lungs or lung cavity. Asbestos may also cause cancer in the digestive tract if fibres are inadvertently swallowed. It is unlikely that asbestos will pose these health risks in your home. However, it is important that you...

Attic

Topping up Add extra batts or loose fill insulation over top of existing insulation to bring it up to the desired RSI value. Cover the tops of the joists to stop thermal bridging. Install a retainer to keep insulation 50 mm (2 in.) away from chimneys, if there is not one already in place. Finishing a room Use batts to insulate walls around the space to be finished. Install batts between the rafters before finishing ceiling, leaving space above for ventilation this may require reinforcing the...

Backdrafting

Rackdrafting is a problem often caused bv competition ' among diflereni iuel-buinuig appliances for air, or by the operation of exhaust fans and ventilation systems. 1 his competition can cause conditions in which combustion gases are drawn back into the house instead of going up the chimnev. Cold weather and certain wind conditions can also cause backdiafting to occur. a burner which burns oil, gas, propane or wood, or it can use electric elements. The boiler heats water, which is circulated...

Being your own general contractor

Being your own general contractor can save you up to 20 per cent of the cost of a job, according to some estimates. However, this is among the hardest jobs in the project. You have to be the co-ordinator for the whole process, and if it's a sizable one, that can be a daunting job. You have to get everyone and everything to the site when needed, shuffle schedules, deal with emergencies, strikes and changes of plan, and supervise the job while it's going on. Remember also that renovation...

Buying healthy

Next, take a close look at the health, energy and environmental impact of (fflp all the components and materials you're considering. Ask a few questions, such as Do they emit polluting chemicals (see Chapter Two) Are they made from threatened resources Do they use a lot of energy in a complicated manufacturing process, when you could buy others that are in a relatively natural state Are they locally produced to cut down on the energy required to transport them Do they have recycled content Can...

Central air conditioning

Most central systems are called split systems because they have two parts. A compressor unit located outside the house sends cooled refrigerant inside through copper tubes to the evaporator coil, which is usually located in your furnace's forced-air duct. The furnace's circulation fan delivers the cooled air to the house. Putting in a central air conditioning system involves a significant cost. However, once it's installed, a central system operates much more efficiently than small,...

Changing Fuels

One ol the m> i.st common ways to reduce your he.it mg hills is to ch.inge to .1 less costly type of fuel. A numbet of different fuels .ire used in different parts nl C.in.id.i the ni.un ohls .m ml. 11.u111.1l g.is. propane, electricity and wood. Hohcut. ntir choices mav be limited bv what's av.nI.iUe in vour .ire, . Natural g.i.s is riot ai.itlahlc ever win le in C .in.id.i. As vll. some types of lurtuces ,md oil km lii-.inng equipment ui.iv nor be available in umr .ite.i. lo iind out...

Choosing an Option

In some cases, the choice of how to approach the renovation is clear in others you may have to compare a number of different options. Which strategy will serve your purpose best If you're in doubt, having an expert come and look at your house may be wise. Once you've picked a strategy, you can also pick the materials, appliances and any other components that will go into die project. A sizeable project has dozens of pieces, and each one should be chosen with care. Everything must be functional,...

Cigarette smoke

Cigarette smoke is a common and serious indoor air pollutant. It contains about 2,000 chemicals, including more than 50 components known to cause health problems, and 12 carcinogens. The list of harmful elements includes carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde and carbon dioxide. Exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, dizziness and loss of appetite. As well, it increases the risk of lung cancer, aggravates asthma and may...

Clear

air pollution an indoor problem filling out the family health profile hazardous indoor pollutants making sure your house is healthy A CMHC study shows that one in four Canadian households has someone with allergies or a breathing problem. Indoor air quality is a significant source concern for Canadian homeowners, and concerns has grown in recent years. Health problems such as asthma, allergies and recurring respiratory ailments are becoming commonplace. Health problems can be caused by a...

CMHCHome to Canadians

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is home to Canadians. In everything we do, we help Canadians live in safe, secure homes. As the Government of Canada's national housing agency, we play a major role in Canada's housing industry. CMHC develops new ways to finance home purchases. We encourage innovation in housing design and technology. Our mortgage loan insurance helps Canadians realize their dream of owning a home. Canadians benefit from our work with public, private and...

Common Types Of Insulation

Made of glass fibres felted together into batts or blankets. Walls, attics, floors over unhealed spaces. Sharp fibres can cause itching skin and irritation, permanent eye injury, irritation of the respiratory system and, possibly, lung injury if inhaled. A mask eye protection, gloves, a cap and a thick long-sleeved shirt should be worn. Wont rot or burn, but binders and facings wilt. Made of metal slag or volcanic rock spun into fibres. Walls, attics, floors over unhealed spaces. Dust and...

Comparing air conditioners

When considering an air conditioner, look first at its efficiency, as expressed by its seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating. The higher the number, the less electricity it will consume however, the price is likely to be higher as well. Try to look at several models and ask for the manufacturer's literature on the models you're considering. It's also critical that air conditioners be sized properly, especially central air systems. Your unit must be big enough to do the job but, since...

Conserving Natural Resources

Making your renovation healthier also means wise use of resources. Choosing building materials made from recycled wood, metal or plastic can reduce the amount of natural resources harvested. If you can refurbish or reuse the old sink, bathtub, cabinets, doors or fixtures you remove in the demolition stage, you can spare the natural resources required to make new ones, and stretch your renovation budget further. Taking care to use leftover lumber and other excess materials during the building...

Contributing to Occupant Health

Health Canada says indoor air quality is a significant issue. Reducing levels of pollutants in household air to minimize health risks should be a guiding principle in both new and renovated housing. This can involve choosing building materials with low emissions and techniques that can minimize irritants to the eyes, noses, skin and lungs. This is called source control, and you'll read more about it in see Chapter Two Let's Clear the Air It can also involve supplying better controlled...

Controlling your losses

One of the most cost-effective ways of saving money and energy on a heating system is by adding a If you are installing a ventilation system that will use the furnaces forced-air system to circulate fresh air, you may have to install a control that allows you to operate the fan independently of the furnace so it can do its job year-round. A switch that allows continuous operation may be provided on your thermostat or on the furnace cabinet. Since this full-time use can increase energy use...

Counting the costs

To figure out which option makes sense financially, you should have some idea of how much it is going to cost to make the changes initially and how much the system will cost to run each year. In addition to the initial outlay, ask potential suppliers to provide an estimate of the annual operating expenses of the systems they are proposing. This estimate should take into consideration the energy content of the fuel used, the cost of the fuel, the heating load of your house and the seasonal...

Crawl spaces

Batt or rigid insulation Install insulation batts between floor joists above the crawl space or board insulation below the floor joists. Or have foam insulation sprayed onto walls and ceiling of the space. The crawl space will be unheated. Rigid insulation Excavate and insulate outside the wall with extruded polystyrene, polyurethane, polyisocyanurate or glass fibre panels. The crawl space will be heated by heat from the house above. It is vital that a moisture barrier be installed on top of...

D

Whether you spend a lot of money for fancy architectural windows or stick to basic units, it pays to make sure you're buying good-quality windows. A window has a life span of 20 to 30 years, and a high-quality model should work properly and keep the weather out better than a cheaper, low-quality unit. Also, think about durability and maintenance. Good detailing and design are more effective than caulking when it comes to keeping out the cold and the rain. And the longer the window lasts, the...

Ductless split systems

These intermediate systems can provide a cooling solution for houses that don't have forced-air ducts. They use an outdoor condenser unit, like a central air conditioner, but deliver the cooled refrigerant to wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted room units, which circulate the cooled air using a fan. You can get ductless split systems with up to three wall units that can be located in different rooms, and some systems allow you to attach limited ducts to run cool air from a wall unit to a second...

Eating System Cost Comparison Worksheet

Estimated yearly cost (including maintenance) Estimated yearly cost (including maintenance) furnace or a mid-efficiency furnace might be a better choice. (See What do the numbers mean , page 68) Use the Heating Options and Heating System Cost Comparison worksheets to list and compare the most likely options for your heating system.

Ees

However, these are minimum values to get more light you may want to increase the size. The final decision depends on what you're planning to use the room for, how much light you need and the atmosphere you want to create. Since windows are an energy component, think about how they'll affect the comfort and temperature of the rooms they're in (see Exposure concerns, next). In the Canadian climate, it makes sense to install fewer and smaller windows in the north walls of your house, since...

Electric systems

The most common type of electric heating system in many areas uses baseboard heaters, also called resistance heaters. These have an electric element which radiates heat into the room. There are also wall heaters, which work on the same principle, and electric furnaces or boilers, which use an element to heat the air in a plenum or the water in a boiler. Electric heat systems are considered 100 per cent efficient since they convert all of their energy to heat. However, the facilities that...

Financing Your Dream

If you can't pay for your renovation with the cash or liquid assets you have to spare, you'll have to finance the job. Before you proceed with your plans, you need to know how much you will be able to borrow. Most banks or other lenders will be happy to help you calculate the amount of loan you qualify for. There are a number of ways to finance a renovation project. Credit cards For small jobs where you can repay the money within a few weeks or months, putting the expenses on a credit card can...

Fixing Forcedair Distribution Systems

Loss of air through leaky joints in the ductwork Fnsure supply air grilles are open and not blocked by furniture or drapes. Check ducts and dampers to make sure they are open. Check furnace fan. Clean or replace aii filter. Use dampers in ducts or floor registers to tune the duct system to restrict air flow to rooms that don't need much heat and to increase air flow to colder rooms. Seal joints with foil-type duct tape 01 with a special water- based mastic available at hardware stores. Heat...

For More Information

These CMHC publications and fact sheets offer more information on the topics in this chapter. The publication order number is shown in brackets. Moisture and Air Problems and Remedies ( 5968) About Your House Fighting Mold ( CE8) Building Materials for the Environmentally Hypersensitive ( 6742) Radon A Guide for Canadian Homeowners ( 6989) Soil Gases and Housing A Guidefor Municipalities ( 6728) About Your House Combustion Gases in Your Home ( CE2) Renovation Lead in Your Home ( 6624) '...

Formaldehyde gas

Urea formaldehyde is the active ingredient in urea formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI), which was banned in Canada in 1980 after homeowners reported health problems. However, urea formaldehyde, and the more stable phenol formaldehyde resin, are still all around us. They are used as glues or binding agents in scores of products and materials found in almost every home. Formaldehyde gas is pungent and colourless. In high concentrations it can cause symptoms such as eye, nose and throat...

Gas and propane systems

Natural gas furnaces ignite natural gas as it flows out of a burner. Older systems use a pilot light to ignite the fuel, while modern ones have electronic ignition. There are both forced-air and hot water systems. Conventional gas furnaces have a seasonal fuel efficiency of about 60 per cent. Gas is a popular form of heating in parts of Canada where it is a relatively low-cost fuel. Propane, a liquefied natural gas, is also popular in many parts of the country, especially in rural areas that...

Healthy Housin Renovation Planner

CMHC offers a wide range of housing-related information, For derails, call I 800 668-2642 or visit our Web Cette publication est aussi disponible en fran ais sous le titre R novation tic Li maison saine, LNH 2173 The information contained in this publication represents current research results available to CMHC, and has been reviewed by a wide spectrum of experts in the housing industry. Readers are advised to evaluate the information, materials and techniques cautiously for themselves and to...

Healthy Housing

Through Healthy Housing, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) promotes improvements in designs, techniques, technologies, products and materials that will result in the construction and renovation of housing and communities that are healthier for the global environment in the long term more affordable to create, operate and maintain

Household Pollutants

Household pollutants can trigger reactions for people with asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions, and may cause or affect other health problems as well. One particular contaminant may cause some symptoms, in other cases, the effects are less direct. Indoor pollutants may make you more susceptible to disease, or may aggravate an existing condition. Household pollution is a health concern because of its cumulative effect. The average household contains gases and particles from several...

How Heat Comes In

With low-F co.irings, which reflect he.it energy while letting visible light through. fFor more on passive solar gam. shading and low-L, gla , see Chapter Six.) with low-F co.irings, which reflect he.it energy while letting visible light through. fFor more on passive solar gam. shading and low-L, gla , see Chapter Six.) Putting it between two closely spaced houses can magnify the sound. The condenser should be in a shaded area, and the area around it should be kept clear to allow good air flow,...

How much insulation do you need

The level of insulation you need in a specific part of the house depends on two things. ' Your location Different parts of Canada have drastically different climates. Houses in Edmonton, for example, need more insulation than those in Ottawa, and houses in Ottawa need more than those in Vancouver. Contact your municipal building department to determine the level of insulation recommended for your area. * Your own strategy You may be content to install the recommended insulation levels. However,...

Indoor pollution

If you have any concerns about health problems or even if you don't consider your heating system as a possible source of indoor pollution. Check the basement for any combustion odours that could be caused by backdrafting of installing a higher-efficiency air filter on your forced-air system. Talk to your contractor about filtration options for your system. As mentioned, assessing a heating system can be difficult for the average homeowner. So, if you think your system may not be performing...

Indoors

The most problematic spots inside the house are the frames around doors and windows, which often are not insulated or sealed in houses built before the 1970s the baseboards, which often cover gaps leading into the wall cavities the holes where plumbing pipes and electrical wires come through the outside walls or through the basement ceiling 8 the header the spot where the floor joists and first-floor wall structure sit on the foundation wall in the basement the gaps in the attic floor around...

Info

As with windows, you can have new doors supplied and installed by your renovator, buy them separately and have your renovator or an outside contractor install them, or buy them and put them in yourself. Most door repairs can be done by a handyman with some carpentry skills, and installing pre-hung replacement doors in an existing frame may also be within your reach. However, the installation must be done right or the door won't work properly (see Installation notes, below). Don't attempt the...

Insulation

If you're doing some new construction, insulation will come into the planning at an early stage. The type and amount of insulation you use goes hand in hand with the way the walls are built. You must decide on the kind and quantity of insulation you'll need, as you decide on the type of construction you'll be doing. For example, your wall structures must be capable of holding enough insulation to offer an adequate level of protection. That means building them deep enough to accept the...

Insulation Materials Worksheet

Or batt insulation well sealed so the fibres can't be spread around. As with any type of dusty or polluting work, use polyethylene sheets to make a dust barrier between the work area and the rest of the house. Provide extra exhaust ventilation in the work area, and vacuum the work site at die end of the day an outside-vented central vacuum or one with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) filter is recommended. As well, vacuum any clothes you wear while installing fibrous insulation...

Ints And N I S H E S

Painting and wallpapering can be a standalone project or the last job in a bigger renovation. However, while choosing and applying the wall finish may not be a major structural job, don't treat it merely as an afterthought these final touches can significantly affect how you feel about your house, and they can make or break a larger renovation project. Whether you're renovating or just changing some of the furniture, you've likely spent a lot of time choosing the right styles and materials for...

Living with a renovation

Many homeowners remember their renovation projects as a very stressful experience sleeping in the kitchen in a house filled with building materials and demolition dust, dealing with a different problem every day. Because of the very nature of renovation, it's hard to avoid having your life disrupted in one way or another. The whole thing can be a little less traumatic if you know what you're in for and prepare yourself for it. Surveys show that one of the most stressful parts of renovation for...

Maintaining Your Heating System

While you can do your part in helping keep your heating system working properly changing the furnace filter, for example your system should be checked and maintained periodically to keep it working efficiently. Many heating contractors and fuel suppliers offer service contracts that include routine maintenance and emergency visits if something goes wrong. However, the needs of different types of furnaces vary. New heating equipment should need only regular maintenance, so price may be the...

Making a Healthy Plan

If you're about to renovate you have a golden opportunity to tackle some of the indoor pollution problems in your home. If you're planning a major job, it may not cost much more to tackle an existing or potential health problem while you're at it controlling surface water run-off and installing better ventilation for your damp basement, for example. If you have an existing health problem, it could be worth the cost and effort to undertake a renovation project aimed specifically at addressing...

Making a Plan

Once you have an idea of your needs, you can choose the course of action that makes the most sense in terms of cost, energy conservation and lifestyle. The first step is to define what you want to accomplish with the changes you make. On the Heating Goals Worksheet, write down your goals for your heating system improvements under the headings provided. For example, under the Heating costs heading, you might want to decrease your heating costs substantially under the Comfort heading, you might...

Making Your Fan Effective

If you're planning to install a new exhaust or intake fan, Locate the outdoor opening close to the fan so the duct run will be short. Use smooth-sided sheet-metal ducts, in as straight a run as possible. Don't use flexible ducts, except as a short, vibration-absorbing connection to the fan. Tape or seal joints to prevent air leakage. Wrap ducts in insulation if they carry warm air through unheated spaces (such as an attic or crawl space) or cold air through heated spaces, with an air vapour...

Materials

Since different types of insulation are made of different materials manufactured in different forms, their RSI ratings can't be measured simply by how thick they are. Rigid and semi-rigid insulation, for example, have much more insulation value per centimetre or per inch than loose or batt forms. Your choice of insulation should take in both the RSI value and other characteristics that make it suitable for the renovation project you're doing. For example, when insulating the outside of a...

Minimizing the Effect on the Environment

Making renovation choices that will help you reduce energy and natural resource consumption will minimize the effect of your home on the environment. You can also reduce pollutants generated in the operation of your home, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by improving energy efficiency and reducing fossil fuel consumption. You can install a high-efficiency furnace that gives off fewer combustion gases. You can avoid adding to toxins to our water and land by safely disposing of paints, stains...

Oil System Replacement

Use high-static flame-retention burners, low-mass combustion chambers and improved heat exchangers. Some vented using a pipe through the wall, eliminating need for a chimney. Extract more heat by condensing combustion gases. Some vented using a pipe through the wall, eliminating need for a chimney. Conventional oil furnaces have a seasonal fuel efficiency of about 60 per cent. Many people who have older oil furnaces in their houses have already moved to upgrade them since the energy crisis of...

Oil System Upgrades

Downsize an old system by installing a smaller oil burner nozzle. Smaller burner runs more efficiently. Some improvement on old-style system (must be verified by a professional heat loss calculation). Burner runs longer and more efficiently. Significant improvement on old-style system. Install a flame retention burner with high-static pressure. Stops air from flowing through the system and up the chimney when furnace is off, resists backd rafting. Helps reduce pollution levels in house. Install...

Os

These have two or more panels that slide on a track. Some units have one moving panel, some have two or more. The most common type is the sliding glass patio door, which is essentially a big horizontal sliding window. Their energy efficiency can be low check the Energy Rating, as you would with a window. Aside from the basic construction types, there are different styles of doors to choose from, such as French and bifold doors. Because of the energy efficiency issue and the variety of demands,...

Oust and airborne particles

Common household dust can include microscopic particles from fabrics, soil, plants, insulation, human and animal dander, food, dirt, paint, plastic, soot and cigarette smoke. The mix also includes plant pollen and spores from molds and yeast. The particles themselves can carry harmful chemicals, as well as dust mites (tiny insects that live on the dust itself). Many of these things are biological allergens that can cause reactions ranging from sneezing and running eyes to palpitations, internal...

Outdoors

There are also places that need attention on the outside. Here, the main focus is not air but water leaking into the building structure. This can cause wet insulation, rotting wood and mold inside the walls. If you're going to air seal the inside of the house, you should also take a few minutes to go outside and check for cracks and holes that could be allowing rain and ice to penetrate the walls. The most common trouble spots are the cracks where the wall meets window and door frames the holes...

Radiant heating

This produces heat by running warm water through a series of pipes under the floor. Some systems embed the pipes in concrete floors, but they can also be installed directly underneath a wooden subfloor. These systems are efficient and comfortable, since the heat comes up from the floor however, they can be expensive. A radiant system could be an alternative if you have a source of warm water for space heating, if you're installing new flooring or if you need to get heat to a difficult location.

Radon

Radon is an invisible, odourless gas produced by the decay of uranium in the soil. Mixed with other soil gases, it leaks into houses through cracks and openings in the basement, and then breaks down into chemically active elements and attaches itself to dust particles, which we breathe in. The known health risk associated with radon is an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Any area can have radon, although in some regions of the country high radon concentrations are more likely. The only...

Re Information

These CMHC publications offer more information on the topics in this chapter. Order numbers are shown in brackets. Inspection Checklist for Maintenance and Repair Renovator's Technical Guide ( 6993E) Renovators' Series Construction and the Environment ( 67I9E) a best way to a healthy house what you should know ahout heating systems finding and fixing ventilation problems One of the best ways to make your house healthier and less expensive to operate is to upgrade the heating, cooling and...

Reducing Energy Consumption

Partially due to Canada's climate extremes, we are among the world's heaviest energy users. More than 20 per cent of our energy use goes to building, heating, cooling and operating our homes. That adds up to a big energy bill for you to keep your house supplied with heat, light and power. It also adds up to a huge drain on the country's energy supplies. Through the R-2000 Program, industry and government have developed technical requirements and a program to support testing and registration of...

Renovating the Healthy

Every year, more than a million Canadians renovate their homes. Changing lifestyles and an aging housing stock have contributed to the growing trend more money is now spent each year on renovation than on new home construction. With all that renovation activity, it's important that it be done in a way that will do the occupants and the environment the most good now, and in the future. Our homes have a major effect on our health, and on the health of the world around us. Everything that goes...

Sealants andyour health

Caulking and sealants are made using a variety of binders and chemical additives in order to make them flexible and durable. These chemicals are released while the caulking cures or hardens to its permanent state, and they can be strong irritants. Some have strong odours, and some can have health effects. Generally, you can minimize the health effects of caulking by buying a material that has low emissions, such as acrylic latex. Caulking that cleans up with water is better than that which...

Sealing Your House

Aside from adequate insulation, the best way to prevent your house from losing heat is to stop air leakage. This is partly accomplished by installing a good air vapour barrier. However, for a really effective job, you have to fill all the small cracks and holes in the building envelope. In most cases, the air flows in different directions in different parts of the house and under different wind and weather conditions. Because of a process called the stack effect, warmer indoor air tends to leak...

Seeing The Big Picture

L 'hanijiug vour lie.it inu vsteni niav be onh half < > l our goal. If you want to provide cooling as well, there are other considerations tli.it will influence your decision. For exampli. the added benefit of cooling could make .1 he.it pump a better value. As well, a forced-air delivery system is necess.irv to distribute the cooled air lor a central .u'-conditioning svstem. arid it must be si i d pioperU to match the output of rhe air conditioning linn. colder, they are not suitable for...

Separate

If you can't get rid of the offending material, the next best thing is to separate it from the rest of the house. If you're keeping that big wall unit made out of particleboard, seal all the unfinished surfaces with plastic laminate or multiple coats of acrylic sealer. If you're allergic to outdoor pollutants like pollen, seal the house so outdoor air can't get in and install an effective filter on the air intake for your ventilation system. You can also try the oasis approach try to isolate...

Sheet materials

The most common air barrier in modern housing is spunbonded polyolefin, often called house wrap. This is a polyethylene paper that comes in large sheets which can be wrapped right around the walls you're building, to form a continuous cover. Olefin retards air flow, but allows moisture to flow out of the building envelope. In older houses, tar- or asphalt-impregnated building paper was usually fastened over the sheathing. In hot weather, the tar bonded the layers together, making the system...

Soffits And Soffit Vents

A soffit is the area that forms the underside of the overhang at the edge of a roof. Small vents called soffit vents are usually installed in the soffit to allow air to circulate into, and out of, the attic or roof space. condensation, thoroughly seal all holes where pipes or other services enter the roof space from the house. Insulate the outside walls surrounding roof spaces with batt insulation. Stud walls Install batt insulation in stud frames built deep enough to accommodate the required...

Soil gases

In some areas especially near landfill sites and refineries or gas stations that have had leaks other gases can migrate through the soil and get into your house. Gases from landfills can contain volatile organic compounds (see VOCs, page 12), such as methane which can cause explosions in high concentrations, water vapour and carbon monoxide or dioxide (see Combustion gases, page II). Gasoline and heating fuel generate petroleum vapours including benzene, toluene and xylenes (see VOCs). Soil...

Sound barriers

In some places, you may want to add some insulation as a sound barrier between the main living space and a separate apartment or rec room, for example. Both insulation batts and rigid insulation can be used for this purpose, as long as they're installed tightly, with no open spaces between the batts or boards. And remember that to make a really effective sound barrier, you have to fill all the cracks and openings between the living spaces with caulking, weatherstripping or other sealers. Sound...

Sources

composite wood products, including particleboard, fibreboard and plywood furniture, cupboards and cabinets made from composite wood products glues, cleaners, waxes and other common household products Choose building materials that don't contain urea formaldehyde, for example, solid wood instead of particleboard. If solid wood is not feasible because of cost, use construction-grade (softwood) plywood, which uses more stable phenol formaldehyde glues, rather than finishing-grade plywood...

Specialty caulking

Other caulking is especially formulated for particular jobs. This includes glazing caulking which can be used in place of putty for sealing window glass, and duct caulking which is used to seal the joints in metal or plastic ducts. For caulking around chimneys, light fixtures or other Most caulking comes in 300-mL (millilitre) (IO-oz.) tubes for applying with a caulking gun. For some jobs, however, its more convenient to use the rope type of Caulking, which comes in long strips that can be laid...

Taking Stock

Before you get into the nuts and bolts of renovation, take a minute or two to make a few notes about your house and its history. Here are a few questions that can help you get a picture of your house. Were there previous owners How many How many square feet is the area of the house How much land does it have around it What kind of construction is it (wood frame, solid brick) How old is your electrical service Has it been upgraded What is the overall condition of the house Has it been renovated...

Tanding Insulation Values

As with most other types of building products, insulation comes in many forms. However, the performance of all types of insulation can be measured and compared using Resistance System International (RSI) ratings or R ratings, their imperial equivalents. These ratings measure how well the insulation blocks heat transfer and allow you to gauge what insulation level you're installing in a building structure. Insulation batts or boards are sold with a given RSI value, and there are recommended RSI...

The Numbers Mean

When comparing furnaces and other heating appliances, look carefully ar the efficiency numbers provided b the manufacturers and make sure the appliances arc being compared under the same rating system. Some may cite the steady-state efficiency of their furnace this represents its performance when it's fully heated up and operating at peak efficiency. I lowever. the unit, will not be able to match thai performance in ordinary use. Look instead for the seasonal efficiency, or Annual Kiel...

Vapour and airvapour barrier systems

Once you've installed insulation, the next concern is to make sure it stays dry. If water vapour gets into the wall, ceiling or floor structure, it can meet the cool outer layers and condense. This can damage the insulation, cause rotting studs and create mold problems which can make people sick. Water vapour can move by one of two mechanisms vapour pressure and air leakage. Vapour pressure can be retarded by the placement of a vapour barrier. Air leakage can be stopped by an air barrier (see...

Ventilation Options

Replace old exhaust fans with high-quality fans and control devices sucti as bumidistats. .Replace ducting that restricts air flow. May be sufficient for loose house. install new and ii.o-- efi active exhaust, fans use low-noise, 'eitrifugalfans. 'Bathrootos and kitchen are most effective locations to cb> a I win pollutants and moisture generated there. Can mate significant difference. Gets rid of moisture and pollutants at source. WMwt necessarily provide fresh air as required at desired. ....

Ventilation Options Worksheet

If you're unsure about what needs to be done, or if someone in your household has a particular health problem, it may be wise to call in a consultant or contractor who specializes in indoor air quality. These can be found in the Yellow quality, or through your local CMHC office. An indoor air quality expert can help identify the problems in the house and recommend the best way of getting rid of them this can make the job more effective and could help control the cost. Once you've decided what...

What Are the Issues

1 here are a number of reasons why you might consider upgrading or replacing your heating system. High heating or maintenance costs Many heating systems are unreliable or operate inefficiently, because of their age (beyond reasonable service life) and their use of old technology, or because they're not working the way they should. This wastes fuel and raises your heating costs. Your heating bills may also be high because the fuel your system uses is no longer as economical as it once was....

What Are the Options

Once you have an idea of what you have and what needs to be done, the next step is to look at your options. This involves some research, and it can take some time, especially for a major or complex renovation. In many cases, there are several different ways of making your renovation a reality. For example, you may have to choose between expanding a room and just using the space more efficiently, or between installing a new furnace and upgrading your old one. The options section in the rest of...

What Do The Numbers Mean

Aii conditioners are si ed according to their cooling capacity, which is Mated either m ron.s or in British thermal units .'BTL's per hour. One ton ol cooling equals I2.1HX) BTUs per hour this should cool .in area of roughly 46 nr (500 sq. ft. . although different houses have different needs. Central air conditioners range from one to five ten . Some manufacturers also state the air flow of their units for comparison purposes. How much cooling capacity you need is best calculated bv a qualified...

What to do

Choose non-odorous, non-toxic products, or don't buy them at all. Select low-emission building materials and furnishings. Store chemicals in sealed containers. Take leftover toxic chemicals to local household hazardous waste collection sites. Use bleach only when absolutely necessary. Wear respiratory protection and ventilate the area. Install exhaust fans, vented to the outside, in work and hobby areas where chemicals are used. If you can detect ozone's pungent, sweetish smell, have your...

What You Should Know about Air Conditioners

Air conditioning systems cool the house during hot weather using refrigerant. The refrigerant circulates through condenser coils, usually located in an outdoor unit, and releases its heat to the outside air, becoming cool. It then flows through tubes to an evaporator coil inside the house. Indoor air is circulated over the evaporator coil, becomes cooled and is delivered to the room or the house. This process also takes humidity out of the household air that flows past the evaporator coil....

What You Should Know about Insulation and Sealing

One of the main ways heat and cold travel in and out of your house is by conduction through the walls and other building surfaces. Insulation is simply a material that cuts down this movement through it, in most cases because of air spaces inside that stop heat transfer. Insulation is built into most external walls, attics and other exterior surfaces in Canadian houses. Air leaking in and out provides a second way for heat and cold to get through the building envelope. Wherever two building...

Wholl Do the Work

One of the basic decisions in a renovation project is who is going to carry out the actual work in your renovation. This has a significant impact on how much you will pay for the job, how long it will take and what kind of job you'll get. There is a range of choices. Hire a professional renovator or architectural design firm to design and build the project for you (manage the project, prepare the plans and hire Hire a renovator, and do some of the work yourself. Be your own general contractor...

Whos at Risk

The people most vulnerable to indoor pollutants are those whose natural defences are weak or compromised, especially if they spend a lot of time in the home. Those with high sensitivity to household pollutants include people with respiratory ailments such as asthma people with medical disorders or chronic illness people with nutritional deficiencies people who are heavy consumers of drugs or alcohol Many of the most common household pollutants can affect anyone, and some, like carbon monoxide,...

Window air conditioners

These self-contained units have all the working parts in one module. They perform less efficiendy than central units and are the least energy-efficient choice since they run on regular household circuits. As well, they can be noisy, allow air or water to leak in, and are a security risk. However, if you need to cool only the living room or a bedroom, or if a larger system is not feasible, they can do the job with less cost and overall energy consumption. Window units still need to be sized to...

Wood turning appliances

These include woodburning fireplaces, stoves and furnaces. Wood is burned in a chamber called a fire box, producing heat which is distributed in a number of ways. Traditional fireplaces and woodburning stoves depend on the natural flow of warmed air and radiant heat from the fire, while some modern types use a fan or an improved air flow system for more effective heat circulation. Woodburning furnaces can distribute heat using a conventional forced-air or hot water system. Woodburning...

Working healthy

When choosing insulation, think about using a type that has jjj limited health impact, especially if anyone in your household is sensitive to chemical pollutants. The health concerns of the different types are listed in the Common Types of Insulation chart. If the insulation you choose has significant health hazards, think about having a contractor install it otherwise, plan to use the proper safety clothing and equipment. There are other steps you can take to protect the people installing...

Working with your renovator

Once the job is under way, you'll be seeing a lot of your renovator and the crew, and the job will go much better if you cooperate with them. Talk regularly with the renovator so you know what's going on and what might be needed from you an empty driveway so the delivery van can bring in the new bathtub, for example. But don't call every five minutes make a list of your questions and save them for a time which you can both arrange to be available for in advance. If a problem arises during the...

Environmental Hypersensitivity

There's evidence that a growing number of people suffer from environmental hypersensitivity disorder. These people have severe reactions to very small amounts of chemicals and particles commonly found in our air, food and water. Hypersensitivity occurs at all ages, but usually appears in people in their late '20s or older. It is more common in women. Researchers believe the hypersensitivity is triggered by heavy exposure to a particular pollutant at a time when other stresses on the body are...

How To Use The Healthy Housing Renovation Planner

The Healthy Housing Renovation Planner is a step-by-step workbook to planning a healthy renovation. Chapter One explains the links between your home, your health and the environment It presents the key principles of Healthy Housing contributing to occupant health, reducing energy consumption, conserving natural resources, minimizing environmental effects and balancing cost and practicality. Chapter Two discusses the health effects of indoor air quality, with special attention to environmental...

Inerguide Ratings

EnerGuide ratings are found on a sticker posted on new household appliances. These show both the appliance's yearly energy consumption and where it ranks on a scale of similar models. A handy guide to getting the most energy-efficient appliance that meets your needs is available from Natural Resources Canada see the publications list at the end of this chapter . Another important question is the effect of your renovation on the market value of the house. After all, your house is likely the...