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Now's the Time to Close Up Your Basement & Crawlspace

With another gorgeous Maine spring almost behind us, it's time to think about ways to protect our home from the heat and humidity that comes with summer.

A critical component to this is to make sure your basement and/or crawlspace are closed up to reduce the amount of hot air and high humidity that enter those spaces.

Featured Project: The Meserves, Manchester

We first conducted an audit on the Meserve residence in 2015 in Manchester, finding it to be well insulated and very air tight, maybe a little too tight. 

Just because a home is well insulated and air tight, (meaning very little outside air enters the home), doesn’t mean it can’t be made to be more efficient, comfortable and healthy.

We installed a Panasonic Whisper Green bath fan with a timer set to exchange air on a regular basis to replace the older, stale air with fresh air. Addressing ventilation problems has a lasting, positive effect on health and overall home performance.

Watch Your Humidity Levels

In a majority of Maine’s older housing stock, high humidity levels through the winter months is hardly a concern. Dry winter air and drafty homes often result in very low humidity levels, which requires owners to pump moisture into their homes to avoid itchy skin and dry coughs.

But, as we build tighter homes or work on air sealing older ones, high humidity levels can become a issue, having negative health effects on you and your family. Wet basements and inadequate ventilation in bathrooms or kitchens can introduce a significant amount of moisture to the indoors. Some molds can begin growing in humidity levels as low as 55 percent, and at that point, and even sooner, you would want to start drawing moisture out of your home with a dehumidifier.

Featured Project: The Halligans

The winter of 2014-15 took a toll on the Halligan’s roof. Poor insulation led to severe ice damming (and a place for roosting bats during the warmer months). But- with a finished drywall cathedral ceiling in the main living area,  we decided we needed to address the issue from the top down. Their roof was in need of replacement, so we got to work.

The Breathable Home coordinated with Kasie Jo Roofing in December 2015 to have the sheathing removed once the old shingles were gone. This allowed us to attack the insulation from the top so as not to have to deal with the expense and mess of going through the sheetrock from the inside.

Why we love heat pumps

It’s been five years since we began installing heat pumps, and we’re sold on the technology so much, that we’ve just added a van to our fleet dedicated to heat pump installations! While heat pumps are gaining in popularity, there are still some misconceptions about their effectiveness here in Maine’s climate. Since heat pumps are a viable option in most instances when a secondary source of heat (and sometimes primary source) is needed, I’d like to share what we’ve learned over the last couple of years:

Priority Referral Program

Do you have a friend or family member in need of an energy upgrade before next winter? If so, we have a great deal for you both. Our new Priority Referral Program is a great way to help introduce The Breathable Home to new customers while earning yourself some money in return. For every referral you give that leads to a completed project of $3,000 or more, we’ll send you a check for $100. Or, if you’re looking to have some additional work done on your home, we’ll double it to a $200 credit towards any $2,000 or more project you have us complete.

And, as a way to thank our new customer you referred, we’ll also give them a $100 credit towards their completed project.

Got Bats? Don't Panic, Stay Calm

We know bats play an incredibly important role in our environment, from naturally controlling insects to helping to pollinate our plants. Occasionally, we might find a bat flying inside the house or roosting in our attic or crawlspace. First and foremost, don’t panic!

If you find a bat flying around your house, chances are good the bat is trying to find a way out. The best way to help is to open a door or window and dim the lights, and if at all possible, isolate the bat in a single room. Eventually the bat will find the opening and free itself.

If this doesn’t work, find a pair of thick work gloves and wait for the critter to land on a curtain or piece of furniture. Carefully cupping the bat with the gloves and quickly getting it outside will minimize any harm done to the bat.

Video: Superinsulation Doesn't Work if the Windows Leak

Posted in: video

In this installment of Green Building Advisor's "Job Site Visits" series, building science guru Joe Lstiburek explains why insulating a house to the highest standards won't do much good if the home still has significant air leakage.

The Cree LED LLF Downlight - The Standard Bearer for Useful LEDs

At EnergyCircle we're repeatedly extolling the virtues of LED lighting.  Eons more efficient than anything else on the market, it looks good, and is what everyone will be doing.  There is still a lot of uncertainty regarding what's available right now, and rightly so.  LEDs are on the cutting edge of lighting technology, and they're being improved every day.  Just this week Philips announced that their Master LED Bulb, a good looking fixture available right now in parts