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Next potential gig: Pflugerville house

Next potential gig: Pflugerville house

From:
Donny Goff
Date:
2014-09-30 @ 15:32
I inspected this house this past Friday.  It's a 1-story in a 
subdivision, I'd say roughly 2400 square feet.  All houses are 
different, and this one is certainly no exception.  Here are my notes 
and observations:
     1) The attic is half ventilated.  By that, I mean it has good 
outlet ventilation (vents in the roof), but almost no intakes.  The 
soffits around the outside have no holes - as in zero - and the only 
place to let fresh air IN to the attic is an 18" gable vent facing the 
driveway.  Those of you who've read my blog :)  know that having intakes 
and outflows that are out of balance yields terrible airflow, and that 
is definitely the case here.  The airflow throughput in this case must 
be limited by the 18" gable vent, and there is no way that is enough air 
to feed the half dozen outlet vents.  Recommendation on this below.
    2) The attic is well insulated.  Fiberglass insulation averaging 
perhaps close to a foot - like most attics it was uneven but that's my 
best guess... and that's enough.  No need to do any more, unless we find 
that it's thinner than I first thought.
    3) The attic is extremely tall at the peak - maybe 15', and like 
most attics, full of diagonal supports.  The only way we could do full 
radiant barrier here is to build scaffolding inside the attic, to reach 
the higher areas, and honestly, that's going to take so much work 
(moving materials into the attic, staging the construction, finding 
solid supports for our weight, THEN building) I can't recommend it.  
I'll put some options on this below.
    4) The house is open to the sun for more than half the day. There is 
no significant overhanging shade, and the back yard (which is west of 
the house) is bare.  They must BAKE through the summer.

So there's what we've got.  I'm going to make recommendations and of 
course it's open to discussion!
Recommendations:
    1) Cut some soffit vents for them.  I don't think this is trivial, 
but I don't think it's rocket science.  We should be able to work out a 
way to cut and screen vents around their soffits that will help feed 
cool air through the attic to the nice outlet vents they've already 
got.  This being pretty much a first for me, I'd someone more engaged in 
woodcraft to take a look at it and recommend tactics.  Andy, or perhaps, 
someone could ask Ruth?
    2) Leave the insulation as is.
    3) Install a partial radiant barrier - all the parts we can easily 
reach -- which might be about half way up.  Consider whether we can make 
a little tent-type ceiling out of the barrier draped from one support to 
another, to at least help cover the large central area that's too tall 
to staple to the rafters.  Any barrier we put up should help, even if 
coverage is incomplete. Note that this will be a sticky attic to work 
with in terms of random supports everywhere, as best I could tell.
    4) Recommend either a good oak tree in the back yard, or solar 
panels to either block or take advantage of the severe western exposure 
of the house.  Clayton may want to make a proposal on behalf of GEE to 
the homeowner (this is a rental house).

Ideas?  Thoughts?  I'd like to get an estimate out sooner rather than later!

--D