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do i have to be concerned - moisture reading

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by olliek, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Not around here! Don't confuse your ultra-low indoor relative humidity, falsely created by heating cool air of average humidity, with outdoor relative humidity. The average afternoon relative humidity in eastern PA is higher in December and January than any other months of the year. It's actually lowest in the spring, and stays fairly low thru July.

    philadelphia afternoon humidity.jpg

    In addition, the blazing sun of June - August go a long way to heating and drying your stacks, the same way heating air in your home in the winter makes your home so dry during those months.

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  2. scotvl

    scotvl Burning Hunk

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    southern ontario
    I burnt some 15% pine mixed with some ash uglies last night and the pine lasted almost 3 hours before it disappeared.
  3. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

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    Overall average for NJ year round varies from 66-76%. Not much of a swing with the high in Sept. and low in April.
  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Yeah... peak morning humidity is pretty constant year round, which tightens up the daily averages. Since wood does most of its drying in the afternoon (when it's warm, dry, and the sun is shining), I just posted the average afternoon lows. Still, not much of a range, but it does demonstrate the point, that outdoor relative humidity is not lower in the winter.

    The interesting thing is that absolute humidity is actually lower in the winter, which is what gives you the near-constant relative humidity, despite the lower temperatures.
  5. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    Hey and welcome from another 250 year old house owner. I feel your pain on the insulation. We had an energy audit done and the team thought the blower test was malfunctioning - could not BELIEVE that much air was escaping...

    We've done some airsealing, have learned that our ductwork is like swiss cheese (and possibly nonexistent up several walls, where cooled/warmed air pours out of electrical outlets and light switches). We insulated the attic last year as it literally had none, and this year are trying to get foam insulation into at least one of the 3 crawlspaces (that being the one below the wood stove room, and the largest room in the house). Definitely recommend the energy audit and all the goodies they will provide for you, if you are in MA. In MA they do work for you for free, in CT they offer you loans to pay for some of it. (grin).

    Last winter we burned some of those pressed bricks. We tried Bio, Envi, and the Tractor Supply versions. I liked the first two better as they were smaller and more dense, and they didn't get fluffy and fall apart like the TSC ones did. But the TSC ones are cheap so that counts for something. We bought several cords of "seasoned" wood but none of it was worth burning. We did get one cord (might have been a half) that really was seasoned, and found someone who was no longer burning and wanted some stacks removed, that provided the rest of our fuel. We tried burning some of the other stuff but it was futile - gave very little heat and burned dirty IMO.

    Can you put up some pics and history of your house in one of the forums?


    Mary
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Nothing is free. The only difference is that if you live in MA, the rest of us are taking out loans to pay for it.

    On behalf of an 239 year-old un-insulated homeowner, and top-bracket taxpayer, you are welcome.
  7. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    Um, OK. I live in CT, and I don't talk politics, or my own taxes, on web forums.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  8. olliek

    olliek New Member

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    Hey - I was thinking about having one done, but always thought, they will be stating the obvious. i have single glazed windows - old beautiful glas, but at least I put the storm windows over it for now. We got some insulation up on the attic at least. The basement and the crawl spaces are hih up on the list (if I manage to find away working around the tube wiring :) ). I might try and contact some tree services and see if I can scrounge some wood there. for this year, i ordered a ton of the bio bricks and will see how it goes. The costs corresspond to what I would pay for a cord of "seasoned" wood. And even a cord of unseasoned wood is only slightly cheaper. But maybe I will have them do an energy audit after all. never heard about TSC?

    As to the house, I don't have any pictures here at work but if you care to suffer through some insufferable sleazy sales talk you can find a video of the house here: http://www.wellcomemat.com/video/Unknown/Unknown/house-for-sale/AA67FFCFB6APT/

    Ollie
  9. olliek

    olliek New Member

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    Thanks, can I send you the rest of my tax bills as well?
  10. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    I'd recommend the audit. I think there's a thread in the Pellets forum that someone in MA wrote about theirs. In ours the audit team spent a few hours with weatherstripping and caulk hitting the big air leaks and left me with a list of others. And because I did the audit, I can get a $2500 loan at 0% to do some insulation or duct sealing this year - not bad. They also replaced a lot of our bulbs.

    We have single pane glass too, with exterior storms. The auditors were surprised at how little air actually leaked from these. Beautiful and functional too. :) The fireplaces on the other hand...total air sucks.

    Your house is beautiful and I really enjoyed the cheesy voiceover. Our houses are similar but I am drooling at your bedroom fireplace. Which of the hearths did you put a woodstove in? You may live local to Jeremy (JHarkin) - who you'll see here and on the oldhouseweb.com forums - and he has a house similar to our two as well. Hopefully he'll see this thread as well!

    Mary

    ETA: TSC=Tractor Supply Company.
  11. olliek

    olliek New Member

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    IThanks - the stove is in the old kitchen - i.e. now dining room, the red painted brick with a bread oven on the side. Because these houses were built around the chimney, the dining room is the most central. but i might put a smaller stove into the library as well. i know the fireplaces are air sucks but, i want to keet the one in the living room (romatic at heart). it is just nice sitting there. I actually found when I put a small fire into the living room fireplace, the rest of te rooms seem to heat up a little bit.
  12. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    So they weatherstripped, and caulked and replaced some of your lights for FREE??? Im still not understanding this. WHY would somecompany give you a free $80 service call, spend $50/hr labor at your house, replace $1/bulb lightbulbs and fill gaps with $3/tube caulk?
  13. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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  14. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    He basically got a grant. I have 2 properties on different company grinds. One is 1 of 2 of the big SC electric providers, it being the State electric CO OP, which inturn is almost double the price of the privite electric company operating in the same state. So much for those COOP's saving me money!! Anyway the farm property is on a small COOP that gets power from the big COOP so there even higher, but they do payout a portion of the profits to remain a COOP. I did use to live in the area where the other large privite company operated, powere was about 60% of what i pay now. And if you live across the state line your power costs 40% of what i pay in the winter???? And georgia is 30 mins from me!

    Anyway, my point other than cost sharing for annual maintence things i have not heard of any programs like this in this state. Plenty of grants from COOPs, from Obama's "stash" for stimulus spending or "wealth redistribution" but honestly i dont think we have the fee upgrades like light changeing and caulking?

    WHy does the company do FREE work, were they trying to sell you something, like better windows or a new roof or something?
  15. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    OK went to my power provider. I can Receive a free energy audit. But all they will do is walk around my house and tell me things, things i already know, like my water heater is 10 years old and would do better if new even better if it was an instant. Or you need more insulation, insulate pipes, calk ALL your mouldings. Or replace incandecents with CFLs, but every light that we normally would turn on in a week is already a CFL, some light in guest areas or part we dont use are incandecent lights. Or that i should replace my duct work as its old. Blah blah.

    I really would like one of the door blower tests but i think around here there several hundred $$ to have done. I just dont understand why they would be free? It has to be a fed or state grant that your power provider got.

    I could receive a few free CFLs i see.

    http://www.sceg.com/en/energywise-a...kup/default.htm?WT.mc_id=HP-PR-energy-checkup
  16. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Most of us have a few of those booboos every now and then.
  17. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Glad to hear you're keeping the original windows, but the auditors should not be surprised. It's well established and proven many times over that an old-fashioned single-pane window with a decent storm window, both in good repair, will outperform almost any modern double-glazed replacement window without a storm. You simply can't beat a 4" air gap with a 1/4" air gap, no matter what games you play with glasses and gasses. "There's no replacement for displacement," is applicable to more than muscle cars.

    For others considering the same, there are more reasons to keep your old windows than I can list here, but here's a few:

    1. A single pane window in good repair with a good storm window will outperform most modern double-pane replacement windows on energy savings.
    2. It's almost always cheaper to repair your original windows and/or install new storm windows, than to do replacement windows.
    3. If an old house, you will never make it look "right" with modern replacement windows.
    4. My old windows are still in good shape after 240 years, due to construction with quality old-growth hardwoods. The average life span of replacement windows is 20 - 30 years.
    5. It only takes one owner in a home's life to ruin it by pulling the original windows. Don't make every future owner of your house hate you.

    PS - The comment about "free audits" for those in MA was not directed at you, just a general statement about the over-reaching nature of our federal government. You're right... not a topic for this forum, although also not likely to upset or surprise many here.
  18. olliek

    olliek New Member

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    Unfortunately our previous owner wasn't overly diligent with the windows. They are all, painted or nailed shut, some of the sashes need replacement, etc. There is a woman in our town who specializes in these old windows, and we had her over. Unfortunately it is a$1,000 a pop. I want to do most of the work myself, and I can do a lot of things, but I am a bit afraid that I would break some of the old, original glass panes.
  19. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I have dealt with the same, and $1000/ea. is almost exactly what I paid to have two rebuilt here, when I was in the process of moving and they needed to be done in an emergency.

    Depending on your skills and equipment, I'd encourage you to do it yourself. There's nothing you'll break that can't be repaired with some effort. In my case, it appears my sashes are original to 1773, but most of the casings / frames were rebuilt at some point in the last 150 years. I'm rebuilding those again, and in some cases correcting fit issues, but more often just replacing rotten sills and lower stiles. It's a ton of work, and requires some thought and basic carpentry or woodworking skills, but it's not rocket surgery. I used Spanish Cedar for replacement components on the first few, but haven't decided if I'll stick with that or try something else when I get to doing the rest.

    Another technique I've used in wooden boat repair, but never in window repair, is outlined in this great article from Gougeon Bros.

    http://www.westsystem.com/ss/revisiting-a-church-window-restoration/

    And to stay OT, you can use your moisture meter to detect potential moisture problems in your window casings and sills. :p
  20. olliek

    olliek New Member

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    Oh I have stuck my moisture meter, in a lot of corners around the house including the windows! I will have to learn how to repair them, as with 24 windows i would have to sell mutliple organs...
    thanks for the link, I actually used epoxy (rot doctor) to repair a damaged beam. And it is something i contemplate continue doing, as I want to elimintae as much replacement as possible.
  21. olliek

    olliek New Member

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    just by way of update - nice shoulder das here. Wife has been begging for days now. So here I am it is 70+ in here and I have nice fire going....(from my "good" stack!)

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