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Whole House Ventilation - Tight Construction


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I inspected new construction less than a year ago and it is likely an energy tight building. During their first winter the occupants got excessive moisture around windows in front/northside, but all the windows in general had some condensation.

Mold was growing around the window framing at several windows and water was dripping down at least one of the walls beneath a window I am told. Pictures were taken but I have not reviewed them yet. There are very few operable windows.

Pella windows say the problem is not theirs. To the best of my knowledge the builder wants to take no action to remedy this other than telling the occupants to open windows during the winter.

I assume a blower door test is needed to decide whether a building needs or is required to have whole house mechanical ventilation.

I am working on a report to advise my client and their lawyers as to how to proceed. They are still within their one-year warranty.

These are references I am looking at that probably apply. Any advice is appreciated.

IECC, R403.5 Mechanical Ventilation (Mandatory)

IRC, Section R303.4 Mechanical Ventilation

IRC, M1507.3.

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All of these manifestations were reported to you by others or did you see them with your own eyes? Just wondering if the observations were emotionally tweaked by the residents. I get wildly exaggerated stories from some people.

Marc

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All of these manifestations were reported to you by others or did you see them with your own eyes? Just wondering if the observations were emotionally tweaked by the residents. I get wildly exaggerated stories from some people.

Marc

Maybe but I doubt it. I have a photo of a pool of water under a window taken during the winter. There was no water when i was there. There may be more to it than a tight building such as excessive humidifier use but there are two units/occupants complaining of the same thing.

As far as mechanical ventilation:

R303.4 Mechanical ventilation.

Where the air infiltration rate of a dwelling unit is less than 5 air changes per hour when tested with a blower door at a pressure of 0.2 inch w.c (50 Pa) in accordance with Section N1102.4.1.2, the dwelling unit shall be provided with whole-house mechanical ventilation in accordance with Section M1507.3.

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I think you have a lot more investigating to do before it's time to bring out the codes. A blower door test would be a good place to start. They should have measured the humidity during the winter if they wanted to diagnose the problem.

The newest (and fairly tough) International Energy Conservation Code didn't take effect in Illinois until January 1 of this year, so that's not in effect.

Plus, this being Chicago I think you need to start browsing Chicago code if you're going to try to compel the builder to do anything useful.

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I think you have a lot more investigating to do before it's time to bring out the codes.

Plus, this being Chicago I think you need to start browsing Chicago code if you're going to try to compel the builder to do anything useful.

Exactly. No one is going to give a shit about code cites. There's way too many unknowns to start dictating repairs predicated on codes that aren't in force in Chicago.

Absent any accurate observation of the last year's IAQ, how can one be recommending anything?

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