Tuesday, November 20, 2012

PHIUS - Certification still in an endless loop, punchlist hanging chad

Still no certificate - we received a note from the current consultant asking for additional information.  They wanted elevation pictures, pictures of the window reveals, overhangs, and measurements of the lengths of the ERV supply and return as well as the hot water pipes in the house.  We've gotten most of that information to them so hopefully before the first of the year we'll have a certificate.  This has been a bit of a disappointment since we decided to invest the extra money to get the certification.  At this point it is not critical that we have the certificate but the longer we wait the harder it may be to finally get it certification.

We're also still waiting to get the punch-list items fixed - the plumbers are claiming we owe them over $1000 for "moving" a hot water heater. The interesting part of this discussion is they never installed the resistance heater because we saw it was the worst performing model in the Energy Ratings.  We opted to self-procure the heat-pump water heater and when they came back to work some punch-list items we had them install that heater as well as relocate the storage tank for the GSHP desuperheater.  This was important because the two needed to be connected and the HPWH would not fit in the space originally allocated for the water heater (too tall, drain pan needed would not fit).  One issue they did encounter when installing the water heater was the supply point was over the top of the GSHP so they had to do a bit of gymnastics to get the supply lines connected.    The two plumbers did not bring along a drain pan so we supplied that and overall they spent a total of about 4 hours on the job site to install the heater.  During the installation of our master bath tub the plumbers managed to ding the surface of the tub around the drain - we have complained to the GC about this numerous times and the plumbing company is now saying they won't fix the tub until we pay them their claimed charges for "moving the water heater."  I have repeatedly asked for detailed billing for the work but they have failed to provide anything other than a single-line charge for the total job.  This comes on top of the $1800 charge for the basement lift station which they failed to include in their original estimate claiming they always assumed there would be a gravity system for all the house fixtures.  From the start this house had a walk-out basement and the septic system was slightly lower than the main level but definitely not below the basement level.  

One additional problem with the plumbing we're seeing is the under-cabinet air vents they installed seem to be emitting odors.  We had installed make-up air for the range hood but had not done the same for the clothes dryer which made me wonder if that was pulling air through those vents.  Upon further investigation it appears that the current sensing relay for the make-up air had failed in the open position.  To repair that I had to pull off the cover and at that time I decided to relocate the sensor to amore accessible location.  I installed an electrical box in the refrigerator cubby so that should the relay fail again I can access it more easily.  In addition, I installed a current sensor for the dryer so that when either of the two appliances are running, there is a supply of fresh air provided to the house.  One of the risks of an ultra-tight house is you need that make-up air.  I also believe the dryer will be more efficient since it is not having to fight to pull air out of the house.  The next step in this process is to install air filters in the make-up air supply line and then to install a dryer "lint collection" system in the exhaust line.  We've seen these on home improvement shows and it seems like a great idea - the dryer exhaust transits the basement space so there is easy access to install it and that may alleviate having to crawl under the deck to pull the lint build-up off the screen at the exhaust.

1 comment:

  1. We moved into our Passive House this weekend. I just discovered your blog and look forward to reading through it. Good luck with certification! See our blog at newhudsonvalley dot com. Best, Susan