Leads – Neil Moyer, Dave Chasar, David Beal (FSEC)
Building science can be used to cost- effectively
identify and solve moisture problems beyond the usual
plumbing and roof leaks. These techniques can be widely
embraced by industry, as in this case of HUD Manufactured
Home service managers and crews.
Building science skills can be integrated into standard
service procedures if managers and crews are motivated
Building science problem-solving in existing housing
can lead to changes in design and production processes.
Over a five-year period, BAIHP researchers conducted diagnostic and
systems evaluations in 98 moisture damage homes at the request of
four home manufacturers. Most of the homes were less than a year old
and thus still under warranty. These homes were on the brink of failure
from moisture intrusion that the factory service teams could not resolve.
Typically, service crews would have eliminated normal moisture problem
sources such as plumbing and roof leaks and replaced materials at
least once before requesting technical assistance from BAIHP. This
represented tens of thousands of dollars in labor and material with
the potential of having to replace the whole house if the problem
researchers were able to pinpoint problems that service crews were unable to diagnose and then make recommendations for solving the root causes for the problems, often related to duct leakage, inadequate return air pathways,
surfaces at extreme temperatures, and unexpected moisture sources.
After BAIHP recommendations were implemented, manufacturers reported
an overwhelming reduction in moisture problems achieved at a very
low cost. BAIHP continues to work with manufacturers regarding crawl
space moisture sources.
|Infrared image of vinyl-covered gypsum
that is being cooled by the throw of air from the air-conditioning
floor duct. Note the rectangle in the center of the image
(a picture frame) is about 68 degrees F. This image was
taken in August around noon when the outside dewpoint
was in the low 70’s.
Once the service crews and managers saw and understood the building
science techniques, they were eager to add them to their standard
procedures, saving thousands of man-hours and dollars in avoided cost.
BAIHP conducted field and classroom training in teaching the underlying
building science principles as well as the practical skills.
After the service teams were successful in using building science
in existing houses, they communicated with factory managers the need
to change the production processes to prevent recurrent moisture problems
and associated service costs.
The complete research paper can be viewed at: http://www.baihp.org/pubs/moistprob/index.htm.
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