Something that I’ve known more or less since we moved into this house is that it tragically lacks ventilation.Â The furnace takes its combustion air from the workshop and make-up air comes in via a 3″ diameter plastic pipe that sticks out of the side of the house. Â The range hood in the kitchen is primarily decorative. Â It takes the air from under neath it (which may be smoky or steamy or what have you) and speedily redistributes it throughout the kitchen. Â Many homes have a range hood that is vented outdoors which actually does some good. Â Ours does not. Â Until fairly recently, our bathroom also lacked any sort of mechanical ventilation relying only on a window that we almost never open.As I noted in a previous post, this sort of thing wasn’t really a problem when the house was built because the windows provided only the most token resistance to air flow. Â Now that there are rather nice looking vinyl-clad double-glazed windows throughout, things are sealed up a bit more tightly.
As part of my quest to limit the water damage to the house, I decided to put in a 70cfm exhaust fan. Â I borrowed my in-laws’ step ladder and had a look into our attic. Â Since I don’t have a construction light (typically a fluorescent or incandescent bulb in a cage on an extension cord), I brought one of the living room lamps up, sans lampshade. Â The original insulation is still present. Â It’s about an inch thick and covered on both sides with paper. Â I think it’s a mineral wool of some kind. Â At some point in the past, some enterprising soul brought in a whole lot of pink fibreglass insulation batts and laid them haphazardly over the old stuff. Â This works tolerably well. Â There was also quite a lot of spare insulation up there, mostly heaped over one of the back bedroom ceilings and one entire, unopened bag of batts that I’ve decided to save for a future project.
Pulling the insulation out of the way was fairly easy and it turns out our ceiling is drywall and not plaster as I had feared. Â Maybe feared is too strong a word but when one has taken as many plaster samples as I have, one is pretty sick of dealing with plaster in any form. Â The initial inscisions were quickly made with my new drywall saw (which now looks as though it’s been in heavy use for several years. Â Any new drywall-related tool develops a look of old age within about ten minutes of first use). Â The fan is meant to be clipped to a joist. Â I nearly dropped it into the bathroom four or five times before I figured out how to mount it properly.
The excess insulation proved to be a very useful resource. Â I used some of it and some duct tape (the first time in my life that I have actually used that product for anything even slightly related to its named use) to try to limit the amount of heat lost to the attic.
Our house was owned by a “handy” man. Â He was sort of halfway competent at plumbing and electrical. Â I only grant him half because of things like all the fixtures in the house having no local shut-off valves. Â Also the fact that both back bedroom lights, all the lights in the back half of the basement, the outdoor plug and the motion-activated light in the back yard are all controlled by the same breaker. Â Add to that, now, the bathroom fan. Â I managed to get the fan in and running well without crippling or electrocuting myself and so far, the house has not burnt down. Â The fan already makes a noticeable difference to the air in the bathroom and I am hoping it will help to dry out the room before the rest of the tiles fall off.