Energy Efficiency Alberta Rebate

The Energy Efficiency Alberta Rebate was announced on April 18th and is designed to help Albertan’s improve their home’s energy efficiency through improvements in insulation.  As a leading residential insulation contractor in Alberta IDEAL Insulation & Roofing is proud to participate in this program.  As more details are released on the mechanics of this program we will communicate & facilitate with our customers.

To date we know that each home is eligible for up to $3500 in insulation upgrades.  Applications such as Attic insulation upgrades/top-ups, Main floor exterior walls and Basement walls have been mentioned to qualify.  The scope and ranges of these dollars figures have not yet been communicated.  We will post more information as it becomes known.

The posted start date for this program is April 28th, 2017.

You can read more on the Energy Efficiency Alberta Rebate HERE.

CBC News also reported on this announcement HERE.

Global News reported on this announcement HERE.

 

Energy Efficiency Alberta

Managing moisture sources in Attics

This past winter was one of the worst for condensation issues in Calgary’s attics.  The prolonged, deep cold spells exposed issues that caused extensive damage and frustration to homeowners and contractors alike.  IDEAL was called to dozens of projects each month this winter where each homeowner was experiencing the same thing: moisture sources in the Attic.  While the causes vary; from the building materials in place, proficiency of trades involved, design of the home & nature of how each homeowner used their home; one of the most common culprits was moisture sources in the attic.  Predominantly these moisture sources included bath fan vent hoses/pipes and clothes dryers that exhausted through the roof.

We have discussed the importance of properly insulated hoses/pipes that pass through the unconditioned attic spaces before.  In 2017 IDEAL moved our focus to the Gooseneck roof vent which exhausts these moisture sources out of the roof.  We now place a high importance on installing a quality gooseneck vent with a dedicated collar that allows for a more secure connection to the vent hose.  This increases the likelihood that moisture will vent out of the roof rather then expel into the Attic space and cause damage.

Whenever we do find examples of hoses like the one pictured below we absolutely must do something.  This hose is the wrong product for this application and in our experience will lead to problems.  It’s a simple fix while we are in the attic working and we can install the gooseneck at the same time to ensure proper venting.

non-insulated hose incorrectly venting a bathroom exhaust fan

primex gooseneck vent includes interior damper, exterior grate & size specific coupler to attach vent pipe/hose

Repairing Attic Insulation

One of the challenges of  repairing Attic insulation is properly identifying the scope of work.  Attics are out of sight and hence out of mind.  Quite often our customers are not aware of the issues present as so few homeowners ever go up and explore their attic spaces.  One of the common problems we come across is Trade damage.  This occurs whenever anyone goes up and disturbs the attic insulation.  It is very common if an Electrician or HVAC contractor has to do any work in the Attic.  They must pull away the attic insulation to access the attic floor and it is very difficult to repair afterwards.  Truly the only way to fix the footprints and disturbed insulation areas in an Attic is to blow in new material.

Far too often we find bare spots in Attics where other Trades, or residents, have worked in the past.  Like these photos below you can see how much insulation is missing from around this potlight.  There is significant heat loss in this area which can lead to frost in the attic, condensation issues, Attic rain and potentially Ice damning on the roof.  If an electrician goes into an attic to install several pot lights this damage is multiplied leaving the Attic and Home in a vulnerable position.

If you are having work done in your home which involves a trades person working in your Attic it’s best to keep in mind that some extra insulation work after the fact can go a long way to ensuring your Attic is properly insulated and healthy.

Pot light with missing insulation

Pot light with missing insulation – Thermal image

Sources of Attic Rain

Calgary has seen some severe Attic rain episodes this Winter.  IDEAL has been called to dozens of homes that are experiencing water damage in their Attics, ceiling Drywall and in extreme cases water “raining” into their living spaces.  We’ve talked before about the causes: penetrations that allow moisture in the Attic, insufficient insulation causing heat loss & ventilation problems.  What we’ve seen the most this winter is Bath fan & Dryer vent exhaust pipes that are not fully 100% exhausting hot moist air out of the roof vent.

Why is this happening?  Well the standard exhaust vent for bath & clothes dryers is called a Gooseneck.  It is curved in shape & contains either a flapper or grate (or both) to manage air flow & accessory ingress.  But what this standard aluminum vent does not have is a dedicated internal pipe or collar for said bath fan or dryer vent hose/pipe to clamp onto.  Instead the standard method in both new construction and renovations is to push the hose/pipe up to the interior opening in the Gooseneck vent and use a piece of chloroplast cardboard or sheet metal to hold in place.  In effect the exhaust hose/pipe is adjacent to the opening of the Gooseneck vent, not actually connected.

The issue that many Calgarians have experienced is the hot, moist air that these exhaust pipes expell is spilling out of this connection and coating the underside of the plywood roof deck with moisture.  During prolonged periods of cold weather this moisture causes frost to build that over days and weeks can become quite thick and prevalent.  Once this cycle begins the connection of hose & roof vent begins to build with ice and subsequently opens up further allowing even more moisture to spill into the Attic.  Lastly our classic Calgary chinooks blow in and quickly warms our climate causing the thick frost to melt quickly.  The ensuing melting, or Attic rain, quickly overwhelms the attic insulation, ceiling vapor barrier, drywall and eventually comes raining down into your living spaces.

The solution that IDEAL advocates for is to replace the standard rooftop Gooseneck vent with one that has a dedicated interior collar.  We’ve talked before about the Primex vent which is an excellent product for this application.  When we replace & install the Primex we can ensure a proper connection between the hose and gooseneck and hence provide greater assurance that moisture will be vented outside as designed in reduce the chances that it will be trapped in your Attic space.

 

there is an air space between this exhaust pipe and the gooseneck roof vent which allows moist air to spill into the Attic

Note:  you can see in this photo that there is a space between the metal flange used to hold the bath fan hose up against the bottom opening of the Gooseneck roof vent.  If ice begins to form in this gap it will quickly grow over times of prolonged cold and push the gap even wider.  Eventually a large portion of the bathroom or dryer warm/moist air that the homeowner is attempting to vent will instead be spilling into the attic and causing frost to grow on the plywood roof deck.  When this frost melts Attic rain & damage ensues.

How to hire a Contractor

IDEAL has been working with the Better Business Bureau for decades.  They do a terrific job of identifying credible companies as well as supporting consumers with legitimate concerns.  The BBB recently shared this FAQ sheet on how to hire a contractor.  It clearly lays out some important factors to consider when choosing a reputable company to work on your home.  Check out the link below and feel free to ask your IDEAL representative for any of our corresponding documentation.

 

Tip Sheet – Hiring a Contractor

Moisture Issues in Attics

Last month Calgary experienced a significant cold spell where temperatures dipped below -10C for almost 3 weeks.  Cold snaps like this expose moisture issues in attics as the prolonged cold leads to the development of frost.  A healthy home in our climate will have limited heat and moisture loss into the attic space.  Said heat and moisture should be vented outside with proper intake (via soffit or lower roof intake vents) and exhaust.  When there are breakdowns in moisture control, insulation & ventilation the result can be the frost in the Attic.  What many Calgarians found last month was that after 3 weeks of deep cold there was significant frost build-up in their Attic, usually on the underside of the roof.  When the temperature rose this frost melted rapidly causing attic rain which overwhelmed the insulation, ceiling vapor barrier and drywall.

While inspecting dozens of Attics affected by Attic rain we identified a common culprit.  Exhaust vent pipe connections to exterior roof vents.  As you can see in the photos below the spillage from these connections can create a significant amount of moisture in the attic that over time can build several inches of frost.  So how does this happen?  Common causes include vent hoses that are too short, pulled tight, that put strain on the connection to the bath fan and/or roof vent.  Or simply using roof exhaust vents that do not have an interior connection which the hose can clamp onto.

IDEAL is now recommending the use of Primex gooseneck vents for bath fans and dryer vents.  These vents have a dedicated coupler which the vent hoses/pipes can be clamped onto created a secure connection.  By ensuring this connection, coupled with a long enough vent hose with ample slack in the line, we can ensure that all air is properly vented outside of the home and hence reduce this moisture source from the attic space.

the connection between bath fan vent hose and exterior roof vent is comprimised leading to moisture exhausting into attic

dryer vent near exterior of attic is venting hot moist air along roof sheathing causing frost

primex gooseneck vent includes interior damper, exterior grate & size specific coupler to attach vent pipe/hose

Thermal fireproofing

IDEAL has been working to develop our thermal fireproofing services.  Recently we completed a project where the metal exterior walls of a warehouse/workshop were fireproofed using Hibar cementious fibre.

hibar thermal fireproofing over metal walls

hibar thermal fireproofing over metal walls

hibar thermal fireproofing over metal walls

Energy Efficiency Alberta

The Alberta Government has established a new Energy Efficiency Alberta Agency that will administer & incentivize Albertan’s to invest in upgrading their home’s energy efficiency.

Here’s a snippet of their press release.  You can read the entire post here.

“”Energy Efficiency Alberta will promote and support energy efficiency and community energy systems (including micro-generation and small-scale generation) for homes, businesses and communities.

Initial programs include a Direct Install Residential Program, a Residential Consumer Products Program and a Business Non-Profit and Institutional Rebate Program.

  • Direct Install Residential Program will offer direct, no-charge installation of low-cost energy efficiency products to residences, such as lighting, water and heating components.
  • Residential Consumer Products Program will offer point of sale rebates to residential customers at retail outlets with products such as lighting, insulation and appliances.
  • Business, Non-Profit and Institutional Rebate Program will offer incentives for high-efficiency products and installation of electric and gas based products such as lighting, heating and
  • cooling systems and hot water systems.””

Here at IDEAL Insulation & Roofing we are not certain what this new Energy Efficiency Alberta commission will mean to our business but we are certainly poised to service any requests for insulation upgrades.  Give our office a call to discuss your thoughts or projects.  Site inspections & quotes are always Free.

Open vs. Closed Valleys

There are 2 different methods to roof valleys: open vs. closed.  What are the differences?  Are there advantages to either application?  Open valleys refer to trimming back the shingles along the valley metal, hence exposing the flashing and allow water to run-off.  In closed valley applications the field shingles are installed across the valley.  Closed valley applications can pose some challenges in the Alberta climate.  If water does get behind the shingles in the valley it can freeze and cause the shingles to crack (freeze-thaw cycle).  Water that collects in these valleys can lead to the shingles deteriorating at a faster pace, as they are in the photo below.

Grand Sequoia shingle incl. vented ridge

Grand Sequoia shingle incl. vented ridge

field shingles deteriorating in closed valley application

field shingles deteriorating in closed valley application

Gooseneck Roof Vent

Household appliances that are exhausted through the Attic space must be connected to the proper roof vent.  Bathroom fans, Clothes dryers and Kitchen hood exhaust fans are all vented using a type of Gooseneck Roof Vent.  Goosenecks are installed much like an exhaust vent but do hold one key difference: an interior connection that allows exhaust pipes & hoses to be fastened directly to the vent.  This provides for continuous air flow and eliminates any heat or moisture from escaping into the unconditioned Attic space.

gooseneck-vent

gooseneck-vent

Moisture, condensation, mold and wood rot can all result from breakdowns & errors in how vent hoses/pipes are exhausted.  A very common error we find in Attic inspections is a bath fan vent pipe simply pointed at or leaning against a turtle exhaust vent (pictured below) instead of connected to a proper Gooseneck.  Although it may look harmless the gap between the vent pipe and hole in this roof is a recipe for problems.  Although some hot moist air will escape of out of the turtle vent, much will spill back into the Attic space.  The plywood in this picture looks quite new which may indicate that it was deteriorated and replaced during the last roof replacement.  Where most likely the roofer made an error and installed an exhaust vent where a Gooseneck Roof vent should have been used.

bath fan exhaust pipe pointed at incorrect turtle exhaust vent

bath fan exhaust pipe pointed at incorrect turtle exhaust vent

The good news is that this is a simple fix: the shingles can be taken apart in this area, the vent pipe can be replaced with a new pre-insulated flexible exhaust hose, the hose connected to a new Gooseneck roof vent and the shingles put back together to continue to shed water.