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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got some questions about air exchangers and insulation and I'm getting conflicting information to the point my head is spinning.

Living in the upper peninsula of Michigan near Manistique. HELP!
 

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Same as above. I am somewhat familiar with the WA codes in terms of insulation but that's not going to be of any help in this case.

If the questions are related specifically to codes, then I would suggest looking up what it states in the Michigan IRC/IBC. You could also call your local city hall and see if you could speak with somebody in the building dept.
 

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I guess what I'm really looking for is a referral to a qualified installer here.

We checked with local inspectors, talked to building material retailers, contractors and of course, the internet before installing insulation in the first floor and basement. Did everything according the best direction we were given until somebody else came along and said that it shouldn't have been done that way. All this despite the fact that when using one of those contraptions that sees where heat is escaping, it showed my insulation job was as good as what any pro could have done. However, the seed was planted and now Judy is convinced that mold is taking over the house.

Most everything done here so far by "pros" has had an issue of one sort or another except the electrical, and i did that.

We had spray foam installed on the second floor, and we've come to the conclusion that we're going to have it done to the first floor and basement as well. That means we'll be needing an air exchanger because this place will be like living in a beer cooler. One of the problems here with the U.P. is that the BBB's site treats it like downstate weather reporters do. the U.P. just doesn't exist.
 

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... However, the seed was planted and now Judy is convinced that mold is taking over the house.....
Too much moisture inside condensing inside the external walls with the cold temps we've had this year? Surprised you would have that much moisture to deal with there. They make whole house dehumidifiers and also some heatpump systems with operate in a dehumidify mode cycling the AC and heat. I think that would be a pretty costly way to dump humidity though. Or is it just a lack of fresh air in the house issue?

I don't even know the current codes here. This house was built 30 years ago and what was good then is not so good now.
 

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That's it exactly Mark. We've been told it all has something to do with the relative humidity and the relationship between the heated interior and the cold exterior. Since this house is a work in progress, the interior walls aren't completely finished yet.
 

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Here's a document from April Aire: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCcQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aprilaire.com%2Fdocs%2Fdefault-source%2Fdefault-document-library%2Frelative-humidity-defined.pdf%3Fsfvrsn%3D2&ei=bzAYVfG6M4mfNp3Xg_AL&usg=AFQjCNFDZi2G29Wyd3Uj3ft2nO5hEVKsOg&bvm=bv.89381419,d.eXY&cad=rja

This house has 2x4 walls with fiberglass bats and a plastic vapor barrier inside behind the drywall. Ceiling has about 15" of rock wool and no vapor barrier, attic is open ventilated year-round to keep from building up moisture there.

My sinuses don't like low humidity levels so we run a humidifier during the winter. But depending on outside temperature I have to be careful not to get too carried away with it or I start sweating even the double pane windows. Seems like about 30% max on the zero degree nights and 35% when 20°F and above works best for me. Only place that I know of that I have some condensation is between the floor joists in the basement above the sill plate. They did not put any moisture barrier there and during the cold weather it sweats and gets some mold on the wood. Drys out once the weather warms up. I bought some insulation with a vapor barrier on one side to put up in there but have not got it done yet. I did get most of the air leaks around there plugged with canned spray foam.

One plus to a leaky house is once you heat the cold air that is infiltrating back up the humidity level drops as it is heated. Warm air can hold more moisture then cold air. Course during the summer the opposite happens with AC when the cooled air cannot hold all the moisture it could when it was warm and the excess sweats out on the AC evaporator coil.

Having a house in a far Northern climate with too much moisture to me means you did a very good job of insulating. :2th: I have no personal experience with them but an air to air heat exchanger probably be the cheapest way to get rid of the excess humidity and as a side benefit keep the inside air from getting stale due to the very low amount of outside air infiltration.

:2cents:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thanks for that document Mark, it helps understand what is going on.

Yes, the contraption they use to show where heat is escaping showed that the insulation was doing a great job.

I just wish researching this sort of stuff and finding qualified installers we were comfortable with was as easy as looking up info on mowers.

The entire second floor and basement rim joist has been spray foamed. We followed all of the instructions we were given on installing the fiberglass insulation on the first floor and in the basement. We did the basement because of the rocky ground here, half of it stands exposed out of the ground.
 

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One block of 12 above ground here. Good and bad with that. The ground is good insulation against cold and heat. Bad is in this clay soil that's more weight against the wall expanding and contracting as the ground moisture level fluctuates trying to push it in. At some point I think I'm going to need to add a couple vertical steel reinforcing beams to the East wall. The builder added beams to the North Wall in a couple places right after the house was built. Right after the wall was back filled we had several inches of rain which settled out the soil immediately and opened up around an 1/8" lengthwise crack in it literally overnight. :eek: Pretty common problem around here and they never seem to get better with age. :rolleyes:
 
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