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PODCAST: Energy Efficiency Comes Last

Today, the three-legged stool breaks down and digests the recent podcast about insulation with Patrick Huelman

Tessa starts the discussion by talking about Patrick’s applied research and development in residential houses with the Building America Program that is led by the Department of Energy. This program focuses on energy efficiency and building performance issues, (durability, quality, affordability, comfortability, and indoor air issues) by upgrading the insulation in exterior walls. She shares the nationwide data about homes that could benefit from this project and the type of homes this can be applied to. They also talk about insulation R-values.

Reuben highlights that identifying the best method to retrofit an uninsulated wall depends on the type of the house, the design, materials, climate, and water management strategy, among others. He discusses the drill-and-fill method which he thinks is the best method. He also discusses other methods and the possible return on investment on energy costs. Bill asks why the concept of the perfect wall is not a priority among homeowners. He also asks about the best value-for-money method. 

As a takeaway from the session, Tessa shares that the order of changes and improvements in the house matters. She adds that before focusing on energy efficiency, interior issues should be addressed. 

For comments and questions, send an email at podcast@structuretech.com or visit structuretalk.com 


TRANSCRIPTION

 

The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.

 

Bill Oelrich: Welcome, everyone. You’re listening to Structure Talk, a Structure Tech presentation. My name is Bill Oelrich, alongside Tessa Murry and Reuben Saltzman. As always, your three-legged stool coming to you from the Northland talking all things houses, home inspections, and anything else that’s rattling around in our brain. Welcome to the show today, boys and girls. Tessa, Reuben, I hope things are well. On today’s episode, we are going to dig into part two of the Pat Hillman conversation. There are so many things to unpack in our last conversation with Pat. It’s like, where do you even begin? And initially, we were going to discuss his most recent research regarding residential building sites. But like any conversation with Pat, the depth and breadth of his knowledge hits you kind of in the face like you’re drinking from a fire hydrant. And so we’re kinda left spinning here from that conversation, and I bet many of you were as well. So on today’s episode, we’ll try to highlight some of our key takeaways, as well as dive a bit deeper into a few of the concepts that Pat was talking about. Tessa, we’re gonna lean on you heavily today, so let’s start out. How you doing? It’s been a bit since we’ve talked in person.

 

Tessa Murry: Yeah, hey. Thanks, Bill. I’m doing well. I’m really enjoying this nice spring weather we’re having. I think I mentioned I was… I took a trip out to the East Coast with my family, and we were in Delaware for a weekend. It just rained the entire time we’re there, super cold and windy. And so finally getting to see some sun and some warm temperatures, which is nice. How’s your cabin doing up north? I know you mentioned there was a threat of flooding. Is that still going on? 

 

BO: Oh, there’s a threat of flooding, there’s actual flooding, and there is more to come. So I just read an update today, we’re breaking the 2014 flood level today, which was very high, and we’re expecting another 12 inches of water on the lake before it stops rising if the weather cooperates, which means we will be rivaling water levels not seen since 1950 on the lake. And it’s ugly for a lot of people. Thankfully, the things I have that are underwater right now are not very important. And we hope when the water goes down, they’re still there, but we’re very lucky. Not too many people are, which is sad, but that’s the way it is when Mother Nature decides to get extreme.

 

Reuben Saltzman: Yikes.

 

TM: I didn’t realize that was the worst flooding since 1950 up there.

 

BO: Yeah, combination of things, heavy snow, rain on top of snow, unending rain, bottlenecks in the drainage system. You add it all up, and it equals high water.

 

TM: And Reuben, how have you been doing? You’ve been traveling all over the place again, haven’t you? 

 

RS: Yeah, it’s been a lot lately. We had that conference for IEB, that was in Houston. And then I went and I taught a ashy thing for home inspectors in Chicago. And then went… I had all these flights that were delayed getting home from Chicago, or a flight that was delayed many times, and then they transferred us to another airplane. They sent over another airplane to take all these people home. And then that plane had a damaged panel, and that was delayed again. Yeah, it was a comedy of delayed flights. I’m texting my wife like, “Oh great, they’re sending a plane. I’m coming home now.” No, I’m not. It was like back and forth. It was the first time I ever got vouchers. They gave us $30 in food vouchers to get lunch and whatever we wanted at the airport, I’m like, “Okay, alright.” And ended up getting home way later than anticipated. And we were planning to drive down to Kansas City for my nephew’s graduation party. My family ended up just driving to the airport and picking me up from the airport, and then we drove from there. So it was a very long day of travel, lots of this stuff going on.

 

TM: You didn’t even have a chance to go home and change your clothes, you just went straight from the airport to Kansas City? 

 

RS: No, I had my wife pack me clothes, ’cause I’d only packed enough to go overnight. I’m like, “Well, grab me some shirts, some pants, maybe a change of underwear to… ” Weird having somebody pack for you. But I will say, “She did a very good job.” Yeah, she knows it.

 

BO: Reuben, was that our hometown airline? 

 

RS: Yeah, that was Delta.

 

BO: Bummer. At least you had the option to get a new broken plane. Sometimes they don’t even have those.

 

RS: Yeah, we’ve had delayed flights with some other airlines, and usually the response is, “It’s delayed, what do you want us to do?” But with Delta, it was like apologizing up and down like, “Alright, we got a new plan coming in, we’ll get this going. Here’s lunch for you. And oh, here’s a bunch of miles that we’ve added to your account for the delay. Wait, here’s more miles for the delay.” And it was like, they’re really not okay with this, they’re bending over backwards to fix it. Alright, enough on airline stories.

 

BO: Well, hey, listen, compared to airline travel, building science is pretty simple stuff, right Tessa? 

 

TM: Well, compared to Reuben’s flight, yeah. That was a nightmare.

 

RS: That’s pretty simple.

 

TM: But glad you got back. Yeah, building science is complicated. And if you listen to the podcast with Pat, I think Pat, he’s such a brilliant building scientist and engineer, and a lot of what he says, I think, just goes right over the top of our heads. And so you have to kinda… I actually listen to that… I don’t like to listen to our podcast, I don’t know if you guys are the same way, but I hate listening to myself. But I listen to that podcast with Pat twice, I think, just because there’s so much information that he’s sharing, and he goes over it so quickly. I feel like Pat’s talking at this college reading level for building science, and I think the rest of us humans are usually at a much lower reading level. So we’re gonna try and bring it down to maybe middle school reading level today, and we’ll do our best to make sense.

 

RS: Yeah, and I completely agree that we had too much in there because my wife told me so. We joke. I joked that my wife never listens to the podcast, but I think she started listening to a few of them and she listened to that one, and she’s like, “Reuben!” And it’s that tone like, “Uh oh, I’m in trouble. What did I do?” She’s like, “I just listened to that podcast, and you needed to just split that up into five episodes. There’s way too much information.” And so she’s surely right. And we’re not splitting it apart into five, but that is what today’s show is gonna be, is try to digest some of that.

 

BO: Tess, can you start with just, “What is Pat even researching?” Kind of start from there.

 

TM: Yeah, so we had Pat on on our show initially just to talk about his most recent research he’s been doing with the Department of Energy’s Building America program. And he’s been working with them for several years now, and that program focuses on improving the energy efficiency of the existing housing stock in the United States. And it’s been around for a long time, I think, 20 years, maybe even a little bit longer. And they’ve expanded their focus not just on energy efficiency improvements, but they’re looking at building performance issues, durability, quality, affordability, comfort and indoor air issues as well. And there’s a bunch of researchers, scientists, national laboratories across the United States doing this research. And Pat’s been involved with that.

 

TM: And so his recent research was looking at how to improve the energy efficiency in existing houses by upgrading the insulation in exterior walls. It’s very specific, but that’s what the research is looking at. And there is basically, a laboratory up in Cloquet, Minnesota, he talked about it. It basically is like a house that is a research center, and there were 14 bays that they built different or they had 14 different walls that they tried different insulation strategies in each wall. And they measured heat transference, condensation movement through the wall, a bunch of different things. I didn’t go deep into the report that he sent over to us, but gathering lots of data over the last few years to see what was the most effective type of insulation strategies. Was it filling the wall cavities, or was it adding insulation to the exterior or was it combination of both? And what types of materials were the most effective? What was the complexity of actually pulling it off, and what would costs be? So that’s what his research has been looking at.

 

BO: How many houses does this type of research actually affect? Is this all retrofit, or is this for new? What are we talking about here in terms of impact? 

 

TM: Well, you know, that’s a good question. I asked Pat that during our podcast, and he didn’t have the numbers in front of him, but he kinda gave us some general answers. So I actually looked back at the white paper that they’re writing in it. It’s soon to be published, it’s not out yet, but it’s called Wall Upgrades for Energy Retrofits. It’s techno economic study, and it’s gonna be published by, I think, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. And in their paper, it says that, “Homes built before 1992 represent approximately 68% of the residential building stock in the country. And up to about 43% of those homes have little to no insulation in the walls, and have an air leakage rate of 10 or more air changes per hour at 50 pascals,” which is a pretty leaky house. And overall, that means about 30% of the existing homes in the United States have little to no cavity insulation in the exterior walls and are pretty leaky. So what does that translate to for homes in the US? How many houses do we have in the US then? So I did some more digging on that, and according to American Community Survey at the Urban Institute, there were 138 million homes nationwide as of 2018.

 

TM: To break that down a little bit further, 67% are single-family homes, 27% are multi-family, 6% are manufactured. So I think this exterior wall insulation retrofit system could be applied to townhomes or multi-family structures as well. So I was just looking at kind of taking that 138 million homes and 30% of those have little to no insulation, that’s 41 million homes in the United States that have little to no insulation in the exterior walls. And Pat mentioned that there could be a savings of 20% to 40% for energy efficiency by adding more insulation to these walls, and bringing them up to an R15 or even an R30 maximum. So that’s a huge energy savings when you’re looking at it applied to 41 potential million homes out there.

 

BO: Tess, I’m gonna jump in, I’m gonna put Reuben on the spot. So Reuben, you’re a good listener. What did you take away from the conversations? Like, what’s the best insulation strategy for attacking this problem? 

 

RS: I learned where Tessa gets her answer to everything, which is, it depends because that’s kind of the same thing Pat did, he didn’t say it quite so concisely. But he said there were not any clear-cut winners, it all depends on what house you have and what it is that you’re trying to accomplish. And I mean, just a little bit more long-winded version of that, he was saying that different methods have different risks, and it depends on different variables you have. It’s gonna depend on your design, your materials, the climate, your water management strategy, etcetera, on and on and on. There’s way too many variables to just say, “Here’s the method we use for all houses to retrofit an uninsulated wall.” Now, all other things being equal, it sounds as though the best way to do this would probably be to go with the drill-and-fill method, which is basically, you take an existing wall, you drill a big old hole in it. And you’ve surely seen some of these old houses, you drive around Minneapolis or St. Paul, it’s most noticeable on stucco homes where you see like a two-inch… Isn’t it a two-inch hole, Tess? I don’t know what size.

 

TM: Yeah, I think so. Roughly, yeah.

 

RS: We’ll just say two inch. It’s where they had drilled a two-inch hole in the stucco for every stud bay. Every 16 inches, they drill these holes in the walls, and then you get this holes and you blow in loose-fill insulation, you pack that wall full of insulation. That would be called the Drill and fill method. And then they try to kind of patch over the stucco and it looks hideous. There’s no other way to put it. You can see it, it’s obvious. And they can do that with other types of materials, I’ve seen it done with wood siding. Sometimes they’ll do it from the inside, we’ve been to many homes where they do it on the inside. But I think it’s a lot less mess if they do it on the outside, you don’t have this plaster dust to try to contain. But by the time they’re all done, you may have an R value somewhere in the neighborhood of about R15. And to retrofit, it’s gonna cost somewhere around $2 to $3 a square foot. And basically, your payback, your ROI, the amount of time it’s gonna take you to get what Tessa was suggesting, say it might save you 20% in energy cost, your break even might be somewhere around 10 years.

 

RS: Now, again, it’s different for every house, but that’s a good ballpark to look at. So it could make sense, you’re gonna be at that house for a while, it might make sense to do this. But there’s other ways of doing this, there’s ways of really improving that insulation by doing exterior insulation. And he talked about that when he started getting into the perfect wall. He started explaining how a perfect wall is, a wall that is only there to support the structure. And then you put everything else outside of the structural support, you put your water-resistive barrier, the thing that keeps water out of the wall. You put your insulation, you put your air barrier, you put your cladding, the stuff that keeps out the weather. You put all of that stuff on the outside, that’s what they talked about with a perfect wall. And you’re getting a little bit closer to that when you talk about putting exterior insulation on an existing home. And in that case, it’d be like these big 4 x 8 sheets of foam and then you tape all the seams together. He said that’s a really nice way to do it, but you’re probably never going to find an ROI. It’s never gonna pay for itself.

 

RS: We talked about maybe a 10-year period for doing drill and fill, putting holes in the walls and filling it up. When you think about it, it’s not that invasive. You’re making little holes, you’re pumping stuff into the wall. When you’re talking about taking off the siding and then putting insulation on and putting it back on, by saying “There’s no ROI,” we’re saying, “This will never ever pay for itself.” So it’s really tough to justify suggesting this to anybody.

 

TM: That’s kinda what he said in a nutshell. And you know, one thing that was interesting I hadn’t heard about before, was these vacuum insulated panels. Reuben, have you heard of them? 

 

RS: Never heard of such a thing. And I had a really hard time even trying to visualize what he was talking about. And I didn’t… Well, I didn’t wanna interrupt. But I was thinking, “What the heck is this?”

 

TM: I know, I know, I need to do some more research on them. But vacuum insulated panels, I think he was saying that they have about an R15 to R20 value, and they’re only three quarters of an inch to an inch thick total. But he says, “These panels come usually with the cladding already attached to them, and so they just snap into place on the exterior of the house,” which can really add a lot of R value, R15, R20, but it’s really expensive, and I don’t think that they’re probably too easy to come by, and I’m sure there’s not a lot of contractors that know how to install them. And he was also saying too that once you factor in all the joints and seams in these vacuum insulated panels, that it really takes the R value down to an R10. So like you said, Reuben, just the return on investment really isn’t there for, I think, the average homeowner in this situation.

 

BO: Let’s talk about the ROI. Okay, so you’re talking the accepted method of the drill-and-fill takes 10 years to pay for itself. Most homeowners are in a house for maybe seven years, I think, that’s like an average number that gets thrown around quite a bit. And then your Perfect Wall system is, it never pays for itself. I would argue at some point it does, but especially if you see in the city a lot of these complete guts and then re-builds, people are kinda rebuilding in place. I could see that application there making a ton of sense. But I mean, there’s two things at fault here. You need people motivated to make change, and I would love to see people drill and fill if that made sense or do the perfect wall just because that’s good for the overall housing stock, the long-term durability of it, so to speak, and the efficiency of it. But everybody always ask, “What’s in it for me? And if I’m only gonna be here five years and this is just a stop on the road, why am I gonna foot the bill? Somebody else can foot the bill, the next person can do it.” That’s one thing. But this concept of the perfect wall, it sounds simple, what he’s talking about is something we could do right now. But why in the world hasn’t it gotten more traction? 

 

RS: I could answer that with one word, “Inertia.”

 

TM: That’s good. That’s good.

 

RS: That’s it. It takes change, Bill. It means that you need to stop what you’re doing now and you need to learn something new. It means training a lot of people who build houses, it’s retraining the framers, the insulation contractors, everybody involved. And if a builder has already got a system down to a science, they know how long every step takes, “This is what you’re gonna do, this is who you’re gonna hire, this is how it’s gonna work,” and you know it’s working and you’re not getting call backs on this, why would you switch over to Perfect Wall where you gotta retrain everybody and do things differently? There’s no incentive to do it. People are very resistant to change. And it’s like, you sure don’t wanna be the first one to start doing it. It’s like, “How about the plumbers who started putting in polybutylene piping?” And it’s like, “Oh, this is a huge time saver. It’s great. It’s awesome.” And then the stuff, all the fittings fail and people’s houses flood, and then you’re going, “Huh, maybe I should have waited a decade before doing that.” A lot of people do not wanna be the first adopter.

 

TM: And Pat did mention too, this Perfect Wall system has been tried and tested, and there’s houses in the Twin Cities that were built using this method even back to the ’90s. And actually, I was involved in testing some of these houses in the 2000s, that his research was building, and they’re these big panels, these OSB panels that are like an inch and a half thick. We’ve talked about them on the podcast before, but they’re like 8 x 24 feet and they get lifted into place with a crane. And then you put your weather resistive barrier, this Grace foam barrier over that. Then you put your rigid insulation foam over top of that a couple of layers, then you leave an air space, and then you put your cladding on. And that was his… This perfect wall that Reuben was talking about and that Pat was mentioning, which is really hard to get the building industry to adopt. But he did, Pat did mention something that was kind of encouraging. He’s like, “Well, it’s not all or nothing. You don’t have to think that that’s the only way to do it.” He mentioned doing this hybrid wall where you could still take a 2 x 4 wall, even a 2 x 6 wall, fill it with insulation, and then again put additional insulation on the exterior of the wall too, during the new construction phase. So it’s not a retrofit situation. And he was mentioning doing that. So we might, I think we’ll be seeing more and more of that as our R values are increasing too with code requirements.

 

BO: Tessa, Pat’s research was focused almost exclusively on improving energy efficiency through one method, the exterior wall insulation. But there has to be other strategies to consider when getting the biggest bang for your buck. What’s your takeaway on that? 

 

TM: You know it’s interesting to hear his thoughts on that, because he said it really depends on if you’re in a hot climate or in a cold climate. And investing in exterior wall insulation is something that might make more sense, obviously, if you’re in a cold climate. Because the biggest culprits for energy efficiency is losing heat through the building envelope is typically you’re building enclosure, which is your wall and how airtight it is and how much insulation you have, as well as heating systems. That’s the biggest bang for your buck in climates that are really cold. In cooling climates, he was saying, that improving the energy efficiency of the cooling system, getting the highest rated CRAC unit you can buy doesn’t translate to energy savings like buying a really high efficiency furnace does in a heating climate. So he was saying in cooling climates, the biggest culprits are solar heat gain through windows, that’s why Low-E windows are important, and internal gains from people, appliances, lighting, etcetera, and also just air exchange with the outdoors, either intentional or not, either through building leaks, air leaks or open windows or whatnot. So it really depends on which climate you’re living in.

 

BO: The whole conversation between heat and cold was really interesting to me, just because we paint everything with a broad brush. So thanks for that. Let’s talk about low-hanging fruit. If you’re somebody looking to improve something, energy efficiency side on their house in a cold climate, give me some low-hanging fruit.

 

RS: Well, one of the things Pat mentioned, probably the easiest one is make it so that everything that’s losing heat is gonna lose less energy. And that starts with, what’s heating your house? It’s your furnace. Get a more efficient furnace. So next time you replace your furnace, step it up from an 80% efficient furnace to a high efficiency furnace, which today is gonna be somewhere in the neighborhood of 95%, 96% efficient, which means 95% to 96% of that available heat from your gas is converted into heat from your house. So that’s probably the easiest thing, and Pat mentioned that a few times, is go with a high efficiency furnace. He was a big fan of that one. The next one, he said, is “Stop the air leaks.” The obvious air coming in and the air going out. Probably the easiest one for anybody to think about for air leaking into your house is gonna be around your windows and your door. It’s basic weather stripping at your front door, if you can feel a draft coming through there, fix it. For windows, if you’ve got old double-hung windows and they’re drafty and you can feel it, just doing something as simple as putting up those 3M window film kits during the winter time to seal off that whole opening, that can make a huge difference.

 

RS: And I know it’s a little bit of extra work, but it really is effective. That’s the air coming in, and then of course you got the air going out, which is typically gonna be going out of your attic. And that’s something we’ve mentioned just once or twice on the podcast here, which is attic bypasses. It’s those leaks where household air can leak up into the attic space around wire chases, around pipes, around the furnace vent, around all these little things that create holes between your condition and unconditioned space, making sure to seal all those so you don’t have warm, conditioned air leaking up into the attic. Which is, it’s doing the same thing that a window leak is doing, it’s just one that you don’t see and you don’t feel.

 

RS: And then finally, it’s a matter of adding insulation. And the reason people always talk about, “You know, you should add more attic insulation,” it’s not because you lose most of the heat through your attic, you lose heat in every direction. You lose it sideways, up and down, but the attic is the one place where you have easy access to all of it. So it doesn’t cost a whole lot to just dump a bunch of insulation on top of your attic. That’s the reason we always talk about adding insulation there. If it was just as easy to add it to the walls, we’d be talking about adding it to the walls too. It’s all about your ROI, it’s not that you lose most of the heat up there. So the attic really is a good place where you can get some return on your money.

 

BO: Energy efficiency is a popular topic of discussion, and everyone seems to understand the benefits of it. Personally, I understand it, I get why it’s good for the environment, the whole globe, like everything. They’re not always as simple or beneficial as we might believe, and I’ll leave the final and arguably the most important point from our podcast with Pat to be summarized by Tessa. Okay, so Tessa, what should we all take away from this discussion? 

 

TM: Order matters. And the order that you do these “improvements” or changes to a house really does matter. Before focusing on improving the energy efficiency, it’s important to remember these other pieces of the puzzle that should be in place first. So what does that mean? So some examples would be, he talked about, “You wouldn’t fill an exterior wall with insulation if you’ve got an issue with water leaking into that wall,” like around windows or other penetrations. That’s gonna create a whole bunch of mold and eventually rots and other issues, durability issues and indoor air quality issues. You wouldn’t add more insulation to an attic without air-sealing those attic bypasses first, and making sure you’ve got vent shoots in to allow air to flow up and into the attic. And you wouldn’t want to add a bunch of exhaust-only ventilation to a house like bath fans, kitchen fans, and tightening up the house like air sealing the attic or adding new windows without addressing atmospherically vented combustion appliances, like a natural draft water heater, which could backdraft exhaust gases into the house, you could breathe them and that could be dangerous. So he talks about, “First, you wanna get your interior act together.”

 

TM: I love that he said that. But what does that mean? Look at combustion safety first, do we have any appliances that could create a health hazard, a health issue in the house? Address those first. Then look at your interior ventilation strategy, there’s a lot of different ways to address that. It could be point source ventilation like we talked about previously on this podcast, like adding bath fans, kitchen fans, or it could be a whole house, balance ventilation strategy like an HRV or an ERV system. And once you’ve got your combustion safety in place and your ventilation in place, now you can start working with improving the building envelope and the energy efficiency. And before you do that, he said it’s really important to make sure you’ve got your water control or water management system figured out so that you don’t have bulk water leaking in around windows or getting into the wall cavity. So once you’ve done combustion safety, interior ventilation, water management, then you can air seal, then you can insulate.

 

BO: Boom! Nothing to it. And it’s all free, right? There’s some energy program out there that you can apply to to help mitigate the costs of doing all these improvement.

 

TM: Yeah. Well, we did talk about that too. It’s like, “Who can help you with this?” Who do you call? And Pat said it’s really important to have a building performance specialist or somebody who understands all these different systems and how the house works holistically to help guide contractors or guide the homeowner through this obstacle course. And so, Structure Tech can do that. Our inspectors are really knowledgeable when it comes to all these different systems and looking at the house holistically, but you can find people that are building scientists working in the architecture industry or engineering and consulting, or either weatherization programs. So you just gotta do some research.

 

BO: Reuben, you’re a numbers guy, you like looking at cost benefit analysis of things. Have you ever dug into how many years of savings it takes for a 97% furnace to make sense to replace over your 80%. I mean the 50% burners are pretty easy, just get rid of those guys ’cause they’re so expensive to operate. And we’ve got really smart listeners too. I’m sure there’s somebody out there who’s got a beautiful chart that would explain it all.

 

RS: Yeah, I did a blog post about that many years ago, and I looked at… And when I say many, it was over a decade ago, so I don’t remember the exact numbers, and I’m gonna mis-quote something about what I did. But I remember pouring over all of my heating bills for three years to figure out what my average heat was, and then I just kinda calculated, “Alright, if I went from an 80% to a 95% and I save 15% of this, how much money would I actually be saving?” And I kinda had to mess with it, because you’ve got these things called fuel delivery charges that are fixed costs, whether you use gas or not, so you can’t count that, you gotta back that out of there. So it was a little bit complicated, it was more than just looking at the total gas bill. And then I had to subtract the gas that I would use in the summer, ’cause I’d assumed that this was being used for things like my water heater and my clothes dryer, things like that. There was a bit that went into it, and I said, “Alright, when this is all done, what would I actually save, and what would my payback be?”

 

RS: And yeah, it still made sense to do it. I’m gonna totally make up a number, and I’m guessing the payback was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 years, much less than what the life of the furnace would be. But to answer your question, Bill, yes, I have done it.

 

BO: Sure, so what you really have to do is time this all out when you need a new water heater that’s gonna go. Say, we’ve talked about this in the past, you go from 80%, that’s basically a chimney, to a 97, and now we’re direct venting everything. And so you time it out, your water heater, your furnace, everything needs to go at the time. You get the one contractor in. You get the economy’s scale, because one person is bringing all this equipment into your house. And boom! You’re done. Well, what we’ve done is, we distilled a pretty thick and juicy conversation into some bite-sized chunks here, which is important, not everybody’s gonna tackle these projects like a scientist would. And for most of us, it does matter, money matters.

 

RS: And you know, Bill, something we forgot to say at the beginning of the show, but we gotta start reminding people that if you have questions, you got comments, whatever, email them into us, we love to hear from listeners. And if we get enough questions, we will put a whole show together with some of them. And it’s podcast@structuretech.com. Again, that’s podcast@structuretech.com. Please email your questions.

 

TM: Yeah, we’d love to hear from you.

 

BO: All complaints, send them to Reuben@… Well, should we put a wrap on this week’s episode? Alright, those are thumbs up, that’s great pod. But we’re gonna do it. Thank you very much for listening. You’ve been listening to Structure Talk, a Structure Tech presentation. My name is Bill Oelrich, alongside Tessa Murry and Reuben Saltzman. Happy Memorial Day, if this comes out before or after. Thanks for listening, we’ll catch you next time.