Trying to keep up with myself is hard at times, out and about and back again.
As you’ve read from me before, we spend a lot of time dealing with crawl space concerns. It seems like every summer I am telling the same story to different folks: Dew point is the key, not whether the ground has plastic or the vents are wide open. They tell me things like, “It’s not wet under the house,” and, “We don’t have standing water.” The wood is bad, they are sure of it.
Here is what I hope to get folks to understand: When the outside temp is 85 degrees with an RH of 74%, that makes the dew point 74 degrees. What do you think the temperature under the home is? 72 degrees—two degrees lower than the dew point. But getting folks to understand that the air can make moisture is the hard part.
When I share this story, it starts to kick in: In the summer, take your class of sweet tea outside porch, set it down and watch what happens. It is the same thing that goes on in the crawl space here. If you have been following me and the blogs, you might recall the insight from Denver. In that market they cannot get it wet enough—it moves but there isn’t much cupping like we have in the Northwest Tennessee market. My fix? An encapsulated crawl space.
Keeping the crawl space controlled and the same year-round is a plus for the flooring, home and overall health of the home. It has been proven that having a home controlled top to bottom is a plus for the HVAC bill, as well. The TVA in Tennessee did a study that proved the HVAC bill can be reduced by 15% over the year. One thing I want to look into more is the closed-cell foams being used today. I’m not sure if they are good or bad at this point. (Note from the editor: For more on understanding dew point, humidity and wood flooring, see the article “How Inside Air Affects Wood Floors.”)
On a different topic, I took some time to teach a service class with American Sanders; it was a good week. Somehow the machines still get my heart pumping, to say it’s in the blood might be an understatement. I took some photos of the class and a few of the guys taking the class. They were distribution service techs, but with luck and a push from the American Sanders product manager, we hope to hold a contractor-only class. Our plan is to show the floor person not only the best way to take care of the sanders but also how to fix and set up the unit per the manufacturer specs. Now that will be a fun class, I sure hope we can make it happen this fall.
Last week my days were all local and helping with an install job. The install was not a big deal, it was just that the walls were messed up and the home has no real walls to work off of. The stairs and landing are 5/8 out of square with the bedrooms, but the long hall has to be straight. I helped them lay it out and get started. It’s an odd thing to do—start out of square so it looks better for the total layout.
This week it’s time to get ready for something I have not done in many years: get a kidney stone removed. It’s been a few years and I don’t have to tell anyone that has had one—they hurt. I recall my first one, on the job in Madison, Wis. We were sure I had the flu and even went to the doc-in-the-box (another note from editor: that’s “urgent care” in Wayne Speak) to see if they could give me meds. They said it was a 24-hour bug and should fly right by. During the drive home through Chicago to see my parents, it hit me hard. I called Mom and told her I had the flu and would be staying a few days. Funny how Moms know … I walked in the door and she said, “Son, you do not have the flu.” My mom was from West Virginia and we always said she was an MD … Mountain Doctor. She took me to the ER and told them that it’s not the flu. She was right! Funny how Moms can take care of the babies even when the babies are in their 40s. So now I have to get ready to take some time off and make sure the down days won’t get me too far behind.
I will let you know how it goes, but keep in mind, it’s not the flu, so the pain meds might mess with me a bit. I am not the best with pain meds!