Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Roofing, the septic goes in - and troubleshooting a pesky .2 ACH

Today was a fairly quiet day on the site other than the septic system being installed through the woods - this is not the septic system I'm familiar with but it's a pretty interesting concept.  The dig shallow trenches and install a "cloche" looking device that covers the pipes which spray the effluent over the ground. The trenches have to total up to the required length as specified on the permit so they had to dig 3 parallel trenches.  Small trees were removed to install the system but the stumps were left and large trees were avoided.

We spent the day troubleshooting the air leakage that we found with yesterday's blower door test (was that really only yesterday?).  We removed the interior fire blocking but found that provided very limited access to the space we suspected was our major source of leakage.  We felt confident this was a significant source due to the amount of air flowing during the blower door test and the cold air we could feel blowing though that area once it was exposed.

Our next attempt was to go through the end of the soffit which turned into a dead end; the fascia was attached to a solid 2x12 board so we couldn't access the space.  Final and successful attempt was to remove one small piece of roofing which gave us good access to the space.  We indeed found that there was an area that wasn't sealed completely with spray-foam or housewrap and was a superhighway for air infiltration.  Our plan of attack was to seal off that space with rigid foam glued over the space and then use sprayfoam to seal any further cracks.  Tomorrow we'll get a backpack icynene sprayer and coat the entire inside with a good layer of foam.  Once that's done we'll put new roofing down and seal it off again from the inside and make sure the fireblocking is replaced.  We'll then do the same procedure on Northeast corner of the house because the two corners were constructed using the same technique which boxed off the corner sections and prevented a good air seal from being established.

One thing we're going to try is troubleshooting the air leakage using a common variable-speed industrial fan connected to a "door" that we install over the same opening we've used for the blower-door test.  We'll then use smoke to determine if there are any other leaks. With the numbers so close to Passive House standards we fully expect to meet the requirements with the repairs we're undertaking now.

  In addition to repairing the air leakage tomorrow, we'll have the framers on site to finish off the front of the garage (prepare it for the garage door) and finish off the transom windows, kitchen island wall, and some other minor modifications.  Roofing will start in earnest tomorrow and we'll have cellulose installation starting on Tuesday next week.

The backhoe at work starting on the trees and digging trenches for the septic system.
Here's the makings of the drainage field for the septic - those black pieces will cover the effluent "spray" system from what I know.
A closer view of the septic field components

This is the 3 crates containing the smaller pieces of roofing and the ridge caps. 
These are the longer sections of the roofing system - the longest crate is 37' long.  That blue isn't the roof color but rather is the protective film over the metal.

And here's one reason we like our location - Fall Colors as you approach the property (you can just see the white sign to the right).  The only real risk is damage injury from the falling acorns as evidenced by the dents in my car from parking under the trees. 

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