Sunday, April 13, 2014

What is really needed is a dry crawlspace instillation, and sealing the sill plates. I can crawl under there and seal the sill, but the dry crawl, might be too much money for us to do at this point. I can also add soffit vents, exhaust the bath outside, and even upgrade it to be used as a whole house exhaust. We are planning to replace our furnace with a heat pump and move the ductwork into the attic. These modifications may help improve the moisture issue. Our house is currently around 60% which is the highest you want. Above that the conditions area created for mold. Your home should be between 40-60%. The weird thing that happens is after we've been running the AC and then we need to run the furnace for what ever reason. Steam comes out of the vent and steams up the windows. The other night the system was on cool, and it was cold out and nothing was running and the house got down to 64 degrees and the bedroom we are in at the moment smelled like dirty laundry, and the humidity was at 74% when I turned on the heat, it shot up to 84%, then slowly dropped back down. So it's a double edge sword. To keep the house around 50% either the heat or AC has to be running regularly. That's not efficient, or cost effective. Our house sits in an ungraded foundation. Ungraded, being that there's a hill under the kitchen that almost touches the floor. I don't know if this was there at the time of construction, or if there was a flood at some point. The crawl is only about 24" high. In some places the ductwork is sitting on the ground. Gross. A lot of the duct insulation has been torn off and used as nesting material in the ducts themselves. I found one nest in the air return, and one in the vent in the kitchen. There's probably more. Some where along the duct there's an opening for vernon to get into. Or they're entering from the furnace or evaporator coil itself. Our furnace is in a grotesque house attached to the exterior wall of the house.
 The opens for the vent ducts are rectangles cut into the exterior of the house, with no attempts to seal the opening. So it would be easy for vermin to get into the duct work from the house. I really want to get rid of the rotting creep shack, remove the ducts from the crawl, seal the duct entries, and move it all into the attic. I'm currently working to chisel down the chimney which almost touches the roof. The chimney itself is a moisture wick from the crawlspace. I had noticed a moldy smell coming from the dividing wall between our rooms. I was able to look in the wall where they added a cable jack. But I didn't see anything. After some research I read an article about an old chimney causing mold, and paint failure due to it being a moisture wick. When it snowed the snow melted on the roof above the chimney and above the two places where the facia was gapped and had rotted a little. I'm pretty sure the chimney goes down to the crawl because the home used to have a floor furnace that vented out through it. Small house, with big problems. I'm hoping that if I reduce the chimney down and cap it, that it will solve that problem. Although, it will still be wicking moisture from the crawl. At least right now it's somewhat venting out through the ridge vent. Maybe I need to think about what I'm doing.
Gutters, heat pump, and a dry crawl would do this house a world of good. With out gutters and a dry crawl, it's going to continue to rot. Is it worth saving. Sometimes I just don't know. The house is sitting on compacted red clay that in places goes down at least 20 feet. Judging from what I saw at the gully. Clay is hold a lot of nutrients and water. I don't need to dig very far before I hit moist clay. Even if it hasn't rained in a while. Now that Georgia isn't in a drought, the gardenia's are turning yellow, and the paint is peeling off the walls. The house is basically sitting on one big moist terra cotta pot. It's just perpetually damp. I read that a 1000 sqft. crawl will release about 10 gallons of moister per day. Well that explains a lot. This isn't Arizona either. This is moist Georgia clay. I could make pottery out of this stuff, or a new house made entry out of cob. I just might do both. I'm actually gathering clay as I grade the yard. Here's what I can do right now. Grade the yard away from the house 1 inch per foot for at least 10 feet. Add gutters, and extend the downspout away from the house at least 10 feet. Or into my rain barrels. I'm not sure if we'll ever be able to add a dry crawl. If the crawl wasn't so low and damn scary, I'd have gone in there already and sealed the sill. The crawl is only about 24" in a good place, and 2" in the kitchen. When you build a crawl this low and you think you might ever want to venture in there, you're now going to need a chihuahua, or a primordial dwarf. I would love to rase the foundation, poor new footers, elevate the crawl to 3.5 feet, add a dry crawl, and really clean this place up. I guess if the paint in the master fails again, we might need to consider it. Plus, is the house still sinking southward? On the front of the house under the bedroom it's like the home is tilting towards the back and the sill plate is almost exposed. It has termite damage. Plus the bottom board of siding is rotted and ready to break off. The inspector missed that. As long as most of the sill plate is damage free then it's OK, but if most of the sill plate has termite damage, then we're talking terms of, "Just bulldoze this shack already". I'm seriously. It's only 1082 sqft. Was built more like an extra home, not a primary home. The rafters are weird and hand hewn with bark still on them in places. Replacing a sill plate is mucho dinero. Since the house is small maybe it can get away will sill damage. The house was not taken care of for a long time. Was covered with vines that went all the way into the gable vents, and under the exterior siding. It also had powder post beetle damage (hopefully that was the sill culprit), termite damage, dry rot, and wood fungus. Yikes. Maybe I need a dehumidifier to get things started.

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