Jerry McIntire

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since Jan 15, 2013
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Temperate deciduous forest (Massachusetts) - zone 5b - 47" rain/year
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Recent posts by Jerry McIntire

Mike, as someone else mentioned above, please don't use black plastic, an impermeable barrier, inside the insulation. Using vapor-permeable fabric will stop the wind and allow some moisture out, which is what you want. Someone suggested piecing the vapor barrier into each stud bay, against the exterior siding. That won't work, it should be as continuous as possible and taped at joints.
The floor: the cheapest step you can take is put down a vapor barrier of black poly on the ground. That will greatly reduce the moisture coming up. Instead of plywood attached to the bottom edges of the floor joists, use builder board/Homasote which offers much better insulation, is cheaper, and will make it quieter inside.
I have to agree with everyone who has said avoid kraft paper behind the interior siding. The best recommendation I read is to put up a vapor-permeable house wrap on the inside of the studs and then blow cellulose into the cavity, unless you want to spend lots of money on rockwool or recycled denim or natural wool insulation.
3 weeks ago
It sounds like it is cold enough to use an HRV instead of an ERV. You will get some humidity control, especially in winter. If your only humidity problems are in summer, use the ERV. You could add a passive ventilation system with a long 4" or 6" duct placed below frost line in the ground, a trick from greenhouses.  Another humidity control is to put a 1-2" layer of rock wool or, even less embodied energy: Homasote sound board, behind thin wood paneling inside your metal shell. It will absorb moisture and later release it when it is dry inside. Nicer surface than the metal also!
3 weeks ago
Nicole, I did $25 three times when I had pledged twice. Oops! So put me down for $25 three more times. I really appreciate the purple moosages when a boot "rings the bell" as a reminder to make good on my pledge. Thanks Greg!
2 months ago
Congratulations Clayton! Thanks for all the pictures and info, and for enhancing the restoration of your little corner of the earth.
Edit: Oh, and I sent my pledge today.
2 months ago
I don't think that lowering the price will increase the sales or especially the reading of it significantly. The book is worth its price. Helping people see that is the task.

Those who use deep fryers, including turkey fryers, at home inevitably have used vegetable oil. Restaurants produce lots of it. I used to collect it for the biodiesel co-op in Portland, Oregon from small restaurants and bars who were willing to put their used oil in empty five gallon totes-- the ones the fresh oil arrived in.

Thanks folks for the use suggestions! We still use a deep fryer.
4 months ago
A dark floor will help, not necessarily black. I don't like black as an interior design color. But if you don't wear shoes in the house you want to think about the floor getting too hot.

A white ceiling is always a brightening idea, but gloss would look strange. I would stay with matte or pearl finish, otherwise it will look like a hospital-- or a kitchen or bathroom, where semi-gloss is usually used (I used to be a painting contractor).

Light shelves help bring light deeper into the house so you can save the skylights or sun tunnels for the places that really need them. Skylights are a big hole in the area that needs the most insulation.

4 months ago

Robert Dickinson wrote:My can't help but shake the feeling this house might end up being too hot. Even in winter. If the RMH is as good as is touted, the solar gain/thermal mass ratio is right combined with the mechanical ventilation heat recovery and air tightness this house might be an oven.

Robert, if the thermal mass is sufficient it shouldn't get too hot or too cold-- as long as there is plenty of insulation outside the thermal mass. A good residential energy program should be able to take into account the factors and let you know if you need a small RMH or none. I have a friend in western Wisconsin (cold! not near Lake Michigan: -20F many nights) with a 1000 sq ft, 3 BR, 2 bath house who has two 1500 watt heaters and they usually only use one during the winters. Lots of insulation: R60 walls, R50 under the floor, R90 in the ceiling.

I like the baths exposure to light, some of the houses I've drawn have the bathroom on the S wall.
4 months ago
I like the Greensulate idea because it is a rigid, fully insulating and air-sealing panel to cover the window. But I think it is still second best to outside storm windows. We had those made by an Amish carpenter for our 1920 house and they made a tremendous difference, and ended the inside condensation problem. They were double-pane glass units in a wood frame, but you can make them single pane if you already have double pane windows.

And add another pane of glass to those singles in the door!

5 months ago

Jennifer Richardson wrote:Rufus,

The cast iron does take a bit longer to heat up, but in my book that’s a good thing—the extra thermal mass of the thick pan holds heat, which means your bread cooks evenly and forms a nice crust all over, and things don’t stick as easily to the heated pan.

Jennifer, I've baked bread for gobs of years and used many pans. The key to the bread not sticking is to grease the pans with animal fat of some kind. Butter works, but lard is better. And as many artisan bakers do, no washing the pan after use, just wipe it out with a kitchen towel or paper towel. Give it a try if you're not sticking with vegan food.
5 months ago