Is your families health worth $10 - $20 a year?

by tamtech 10. April 2013 12:51
Is your families health more important than saving $10 to $20 a year? The homes we built over the last 15 years are very tight. They simply have very little air leakage. So if we look at this in depth what’s really going on here? If your house doesn’t allow fresh air in, what are you breathing? The answer is polluted air that contains any number of toxins. So I pose the question can we as living human beings live in a plastic bag? The answer is yes but for only a very few minutes. What we are living in today are plastic bag homes that don’t allow enough fresh air in. Why are these home so tight? It’s all based around saving energy. Saving energy is a noble thing to do but, if saving energy has a major impact on your families’ health is it really a good idea? So in my way of thinking should we apply some common sense. Too tight “major health impact” too lose “high energy cost”. I think we all understand what this means. If we apply common sense and allow fresh air in. The health benefits will outweigh the small cost of lost energy. The answer to this problem 90% of the time is a bathroom fan running 24/7 at 20-50 cfm. We call this the “dilution solution”. A slight negative indoor air pressure allows you and your house to breath in fresh air. Please look at our Bathroom Fan Kits and Controls they’re a simple, cost effective solution, that will reduce the airborne toxins in your home. Do This For Your Family Today!!! Nelson Warner



by tamtech 20. September 2012 11:47

Freddie Mac released its US Economic and Housing market Outlook for September showing consumers and businesses have become more energy-efficient thereby dampening the negative impact of recent fuel price spikes on the economy.  Monetary policy is unlikely to be affected by short-term fuel price inflation, thus allowing for extended and favorable interest-rate environment. Between 1973-2011, energy consumption fell by 0.3 percent (annualized) to 314 million BTUs per capita.  Fuel economy of passenger cars has also improved, rising from an average of only 13.4 miles per gallon (MPG) in 1973 to 22.6 MPG in 2008.  Measured relative to square footage, homes built since 2000 have fuel costs that are about 30 percent lower than that of homes built before 1960.  Anticipate a favorable interest rate environment to remain at least through the end of this year to help energize the housing market.


Tamarack invited to the White House

by tamtech 4. June 2012 10:07

On June 15th, Tom Colasanto, CEO and Nelson Warner, VP Engineering have been invited and will be attending the White House Conference regarding the Weatherization Supply Chain.  Since 2009 the Obama Administration has completed efficiency upgrades in over one million homes - over 860,000 of which were through the Department of Energy's Weatherization assistance program.  This event will focus on the economic impacts of jobs created by the Weatherization Supply Chain, featuring senior administration officials and two panels of experts in the areas of Weatherization Business Policy.


General Information

Blower Door Test - Energy Vanguard

by tamtech 26. March 2012 10:25

This article by Energy Vanguard will help answer your questions regarding Blower Door Testing:


blower door test for air leakage infiltration building envelopeWhether you want to build a new home or fix an old one, the way to ensure that you get the best performance is to do the building envelope right. That means installing the right amount of insulation and installing it well, and it means having an air barrier with minimal leakage. But how do you know when you've done enough air sealing? How tight is tight enough?

I get asked this question a bit, and I love to talk about the measures for air leakage anyway, so let's dive in. First, of course, you have to be able to measure how much air leakage the house has. That's what a Blower Door is for. (If you're completely new to Blower Door testing, make sure you read our section about testing for air-tightness.)

Then you have to choose how you want to specify the air leakage. The most common unit used by Blower Door is ACH50, which stands for Air Changes per Hour at 50 Pascals. I prefer cfm50 per square foot of building envelope, or better, cfm50 per hundred square feet of building envelope (sfbe). (A cfm50 is a cubic foot per minute at 50 Pascals.) The two reasons for that choice are that (i) air leakage happens at the surface, not in the volume, and (ii) it's the best unit, in my opinion, to express what a Blower Door is really good at - measuring the amount of air moving across the building envelope at elevated pressure.

Please don't talk to me about ACHnat ('Natural' Air Changes per Hour). I loathe that measure!

Now we're ready to discuss the actual question: How much air leakage should you aim for? OK, we're not really there yet. I lied. First, we have to know about your house. Are you building new or fixing an existing home? If the latter, what's your budget and how complex is the building envelope?

New Homes

Let's start with the easy one: new construction. The rule here is that a house can never be too tight. The Passive House program takes houses about as far as you can go with air tightness, and their threshold is 0.6 ACH50. I tested a net zero house a couple of weeks ago that was at about 0.5 ACH50. That's really tight!

A target that's more achievable for anyone - and which the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will require for most climate zones - is 3 ACH50. That's also the level that Joe Lstiburek identified as a good target in his great article on Blower Door testing new homes, Just Right and Airtight.

That number — 3 ACH50 — translates to about 0.25 cfm50 per square foot of envelope, or 25 cfm50 per hundred square feet of envelope. Since roofers have already abbreviated 100 square feet as 1 square, I like the latter form the best. It gets it into a whole number form and is easy to remember. Get your Blower Door number down to 25 cfm50 per square (or below), and you've got a tight house. The house I built ten years ago came in at 14 cfm50 per square (1.7 ACH50).

The places to pay careful attention to in new homes are funky transitions in the building envelope, band joists, top plates, bottom plates, and myriad other details. The simpler the building envelope, the easier it is to find and seal the air leakage sites. We've published quite a few articles on this topic here, so click on the air sealing, air barrier, or building envelope tags to tags to the right to read about some of these details.

Existing Homes

This can of worms is really too big for the little article I'm writing here, but let me try to shed at least a little light on it. (Hmmmm. Do worms even like light?) The amount of air sealing you're going to be able to do in an existing home is limited - unless your budget isn't. Generally, with a good attack on the holes, you can get about a 20% to 30% reduction in your Blower Door number (whether you specifyBig holes in the building envelope are big opportunities for reducing air leakage. it in cfm50, ACH50, or cfm50/sfbe). Sometimes you can get much more when you add surface area or volume by moving the building envelope.

The first thing you want to know here, though, is: How leaky is your home to start with? If you're already at 25 cfm50 per square, it's going to be really hard to get a 20% reduction. If you're at 100 cfm50 per square, it should be a snap to reduce it to 75 cfm50 per square or even lower. The higher that number is, the more big holes you probably have in your building envelope.

If you're starting at 100 cfm50 per square, however, don't count on getting down to 25 cfm50 per square unless you're doing a Deep Energy Retrofit. Sometimes Deep Energy Retrofits are called Deep Pockets Retrofits, for obvious reasons. The cost a fortune! Check out Martin Holladay's recent post called The High Cost of Deep Energy Retrofits at Green Building Advisor.

I've done a number of air-sealing jobs when I was in the contracting business, and the results varied. Sometimes it was a frustrating 5-10% reduction, and other times it was an easy 20%. The most reduction I ever achieved was about 40% in a house that started with about 120 cfm50 per square. We encapsulated the crawl space and did a lot of work on the kneewalls and can lights on the upper floor.


If you're looking to make your home tight and you really want some numbers to go after, here are my recommendations:

New Homes:  25 cfm50 per hundred square feet of building envelope (or 3 ACH50)

Existing Homes:  Get a Blower Door test, and see if you can reduce the number by 20% or more.


The Home of the Future

by tamtech 3. February 2012 12:07

The Home of the Future - For all of us who are over fifty, what would you have said to someone 30 years ago if they told you that in 2012 selling bottled water would be a multibillion dollar business? Well think of it this way - what if in fifty years from now you’re going to be buying tanks of fresh air for your house. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? If you look at the way new homes are built today they are built very tight. Simply no outside air leaks. With this in mind, tell me how’s your health? Are your kids well? In today’s world childhood Asthma is higher than it has ever been. Why is this so? The air in your house is 15 to 20 times more polluted than the air in Time Square at rush hour “maybe”. So for all of us that care about our kids health, we at Tamarack have the answers you have been looking for. We have just introduced a new line of ducted fan products called the Infinity series. Let’s take a look at the “Infinity 2200”, it can filter your supply air that’s coming into your house. The “Infinity 2200” can be adjusted to a wide range of airflows using our Airetrak Advantage control. It’s also your choice as to the type of filtration you want. The filters are simply a 10”x10” on-line purchase from Home Depot. So, if you don’t want to be the first one to start buying fresh air supply tanks to feed you house clean air, call our sales department, 1-800-222-5932. Our knowledgeable staff can guide you to the products that best suit your Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation needs. View our entire product line at Nelson Warner


Consumer Beware

by tamtech 4. January 2012 08:02

“Consumer Beware” Look before you leap into purchasing one of the high priced humidity sensing bathroom fans. These fans can cause more harm than good. If the fan you are looking at purchasing doesn’t have an adjustable humidity set point don’t buy it. If you have one you may want to remove it. In most parts of the country humidity is high in the summer and low in the winter. If you’re looking at any of the Humidity Sensing Bathroom Fans that don’t have an adjustable humidity sensor (and most don’t) don’t buy it. These fans have a nonadjustable set point in the range of 50%. Here lies the problem if you have just taken a shower, the bathroom humidity will spike and the bathroom fan will turn on to try and remove the humid air. The outside air is 50% humidity or higher (in the summer over 60% is common) your fan will not turn off until your AC unit has bought the entire house down to below 50%. That’s if you have AC. If you don’t you’re going to have troubles. The fan that is running your house is now under negative pressure and if you bring in high levels of humid air, this humid air is a killer for many reasons. Moisture on walls, floor or ceilings will destroy the house and will lead to mold growth. So the simple answer is purchase a bathroom fan that uses a wall mounted time/speed control like the Airetrak Advantage. This control gives you everything you need to run the fan correctly. The airflow is controlled properly and it has the added feature of light control as well. So don’t spend lots of money on what you think is a better idea, automatic humidity control fans, buy what’s right a bath fan and a Airetrak Advantage that will give everything you will ever need. Nelson Warner


Holiday Greetings

by tamtech 21. December 2011 11:22

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of our friends and customers a Happy Holiday Season and Great New Year. Tamarack will be closed December 26th 2011 through January 2nd, 2012. 2011 has been a good year for Tamarack We have introduced several new products: The Perfect Balance Indoor RAP (Return Air Pathway) and a new line of ducted Whole House Fans. We will continue to develop new products for fresh ideas in 2012. During the year in 2012 we will be at national trade shows and 6 homes shows from New Hampshire to California, please visit the website for a complete listing of where we will be, and be sure to mark your calendars and stop in for a visit if we are in your area. Our sales and technical staff are always available to assist you in your ventilation and Indoor Air Quality issues. Tom Colasanto~CEO


General Information

Foreclosure Crisis

by tamtech 12. December 2011 09:02

Foreclosure Crisis Isn’t Even Halfway Over – posted on Dec. 1st, 2011: Source NY Times

A new analysis suggests that the tide of home foreclosures isn’t going to recede soon.


The report from the Center for Responsible Lending, finds that at least 2.7 million mortgages loaned from 2004 through 2008, or about 6 percent, have ended in foreclosure and that nearly 4 million more home loans (roughly 8 percent) from the same period remain at serious risk.


Put another way, “The nation is not even halfway through the foreclosure crisis, says the report, which analyzed 27 million mortgages made over the five years.


While most of those who have lost their homes are white, the report found, African-American and Latino borrowers have been disproportionately affected.  Roughly a fourth of all those borrowers have lost their home to foreclosure or are seriously delinquent, compared with just under 12 percent for white borrowers.


And across the country, low-and moderate-income neighborhoods and neighborhoods with high concentrations of minorities have been hit especially hard, the report found.


The Center for Responsible Lending is a nonprofit group that works to eliminate abusive financial practices.


Its report also noted that certain types of loans have much higher rates of completed foreclosures and serious delinquencies.  They include loans originated by brokers; hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages, option ARMs, loans with prepayment penalties and loans with high interest rates (subprime).  African Americans and Latinos were more likely to receive a high-cost mortgage with risky features, regardless of their credit.  For example, among borrowers with good credit (a FICO score of over 660), African-Americans and Latinos received a high-interested rate loan more than three times as often as white borrowers.


General Information

RESNET Energy Smart Teams

by tamtech 9. December 2011 16:17

RESNET has launched RESNET Energy Smart Teams which represents a new approach to comprehensive retrofits of existing homes.  The approach teams up the various facets of the contractor trades with a certified RESNET HERS Rater to offer a comprehensive solution to homeowners.  Team members work together to develop a scope of work and complete home performance retrofit projects.

Here’s how the RESNET Home Energy Team works.  A certified rater would undertake the initial inspection and testing of the home following RESNET’s standards.  This would include the combustion appliance testing and preparation of a work scope.  The contractor members would then complete the upgrades in accordance with the work scope agreed to by the homeowner.  Once the project is completed an independent rater would complete the test out and undertake a quality assurance inspection to ensure the work was completed to the specifications of the work scope.

Published by RESNET Dec. 9th, 2011 -


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