Podcast Episode 129 – Don’t Be a Heat Freak
Repairing termite damage, protecting sump pumps, high-efficiency boilers, and roof-deck insulation.
Justin Fink, Matt Millham, and Patrick McCombe dive right into some listener questions about a worst-case repair situation (termite damage to an inaccessible rim joist), radon pumps and their effect on sump pumps, high-efficiency vs. standard boilers, and insulating a porch attic roof.
Question 1, from Brent: After removing some old cellulose insulation between the floor joists and the basement, my wife and I stumbled on some pretty significant termite damage to our rim joist. This damage spans roughly 8 ft. and also about 2 ft. in another separate area. The termite issue has been resolved, however I would like to repair/replace the rim joist that is severely damaged, and I was interested to hear how you guys might tackle this issue.
Access to it from the outside isn’t really an option, due to the fact that this damage takes place behind concrete steps. The hole you can see in the picture is accessed right under the front steps; surprisingly there is minimal damage to the floor joist, however there are areas of significant damage to the sill plate. I’m guessing that needs to be replaced as well. I’d be very interested to hear how you guys might repair this, and what advice you have for these repairs.
Question 2, from Justin, is a video question about radon pumps and their affect on sump pumps: Click here to watch the video. (Justin doesn’t mention it in the video, but the basement drain is cracked and clogged with dirt so he can’t route the condensation to it.)
Question 3, from Collin: My wife and I are planning to build a new home for ourselves in the foothills outside Denver. We are planning to install radiant floor heat, and we are currently debating whether to install a high-efficiency combination boiler, or a standard atmospherically vented boiler. I like the idea of a high-efficiency unit, and since we’re planning to build a pretty tight house I also think that a sealed combustion chamber is a safer option. On the other hand, a few local mechanical contractors have told me that the lifespan on a high-efficiency unit is only 10 to 15 years versus 30+ years for a standard boiler.
Our fuel source is natural gas and we are planning to build at 8000 ft. above sea level. What are your impressions of the reliability of high efficiency boilers? Given the lifespan costs of both units, which would you prefer?
Question 4, from Bill:
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Links for this episode:
- The Dranjer F-S2, designed to fit into the sump cover.
- Here’s the high-efficiency furnace payback calculator Justin used.
- All FHB podcast show notes: FineHomebuilding.com/podcast.
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