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Thread: Question on home building in Alaska

  1. #1

    Default Question on home building in Alaska

    Since we have a long than a normal winter time compared to the lower 48 ..i been looking at ventilation system for the cabin and how to control moisture and mold inside the cabin ..

    i looked at a couple of the units and been woundering about this statement by one of the socalled places that makes the unit ..for he breaks down the diff units and it shows how they are tested and which ones failed the test .. ..

    .here is the statement the person website made about the socalled units that are on the market place...most of the socalled moisture control and ventilation units that is out there you have to empty the unit daily for it draws the moisture out of the air and you have to replace filters for the units..

    so is the problem the house is to tight or is it the fact that the weather and the air produces to much moisture for the house to handle and you have to have a form of so called after market ventilation system to pull the moisture out of the air to keep the house from become to damp inside in the winter and that leads to rottening and wraped drywall and wood on the inside ..

    so would a after market machine be worth it in the long run.. i found one unit that does not need to have the filter change or a water dumped daily from the unit for it work ..

    the website is .www.ezbreathe.com ..so does anyone ever use that unit and do they like it or dislike it ..any info would help there guys..

  2. #2

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    Good question and my 2 cents:
    You don't need a fancy schmancy system. You do need to not seal the place up like a cacoon. Too many folks get hung up on Energy Efficency and bring the problems on themselves. A house/cabin is just like an organism. It needs to breathe to remain healthy. Your individual lifestyle has a lot to do with moisture control. Use a bath fan when showering. The first year after construction is the worst, as all the materials are venting off. Use a wood stove at all times in winter. It helps dry the air, keeps the place warm and fuel is danged near free, just the cost of a saw and a little bit of oil and gas. Keep it simple and you won't have a problem. Make it complicated and you will make the house and yourself sick as a dog.
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  3. #3
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    AKRes hit the nail on the head...

  4. #4
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    and make sure you know where your woodstove is getting its air from. I have a 3" piece of ABS through the wall 1' off the floor directly behind the wood stove. (has a screen on the outside to keep out bugs)

    I know exactly where the cold air is being drawn in to fuel the fire, and it goes right up the chimney.

    i plug it up when not in use.

  5. #5

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    thanks guys for the info on the how a house breaths in alaska weather

  6. #6

    Default Sealing the cabin with Tyvek

    Does a cabin have to be wrapped with Tyvek or Visqueen on the inside under the sheet rock? We are currently building the first stick cabin up by Lake Louise. It being a small cabin 16 X 24, sealing it up will probably roast you out with the wood stove and might not breath enough. I was thinking about not wrapping it.

  7. #7
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Yes, vapor barrier the inside with visqueen. If you don't the moisture form inside will condense on the outside of the insulation and form water during near freezing temps, and frost when it's below freezing. In short time you will have soaked insulation and mold. As for Tyvek on the outside. The jury is still out on housewrap. Personally I wouldn't waste my money on housewrap for a recreational cabin.
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  8. #8
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    Yes, vapor barrier the inside with visqueen. If you don't the moisture form inside will condense on the outside of the insulation and form water during near freezing temps, and frost when it's below freezing. In short time you will have soaked insulation and mold. As for Tyvek on the outside. The jury is still out on housewrap. Personally I wouldn't waste my money on housewrap for a recreational cabin.
    I'm with Doug on both counts. You want a single vapor barrier on the worm in winter side so donít use faced bats under plastic, unraced and plastic is the way to go. Tyvek is great if you have an old house with plank sheathing and lap siding but with OSB, plywood sheathing or T111 sideing there isn't enough air getting in for me to bother with Tyvek.
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  9. #9

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    thanks for the info on the cabin building ideas that your are here are putting forth here on the post here

  10. #10

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    This was already said but I thought I would repeat it in another way. You mentioned that you had to worry about moisture and mold in the winter as if the winters are more humid like they are in the Pacific North West. Actually, in most of Alaska the winter air is VERY dry.

    We do have a greater problem with moisture in the winter but that is because most people keep their windows shut and don't allow any outside air in. All the humidity in the home in the winter is human caused. Bodies, cooking, showers etc all give off moisture. That moisture needs to be vented out of the home.

    If you don't have an automatic air exchange system you will need to exchange that air yourself. Good vent fans in the kitchen and bathrooms will get rid of the moist air but you will need to ensure you are replacing that air with dry fresh air from outside. Crack a window or something to exchange outside air with inside air. It will cost a little more in heat but save a lot more in moisture problems and health problems.

    My rule of thumb is, if you are getting condensation on your windows, there is too much humidity in the house and you need to exchange the air.
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  11. #11
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Default My .02

    I was residental construction for 12 years and now do commerical.


    Vapor Barrier on the inside. YES Use 6mil visquene and red tuck tape made for vapor barrier. Tape and cover ever seam and slice. If you do this you will be dandy,

    If you vapor barrier proper you will not need tyvek. Tyvek was the "IN" thing for a while. What was found is that we were building houses to tight. Nothing like Farting on monday and still smelling it on friday. Your building still does need to breath.


    As has been said. Unfaced bats, 16 or 24 inch depending on your layout. R-19 for a 6 inch wall. Make sure your vapor seams over lap at least 6 inches. Some simple things like this make life very very comfy in a cabin, house or commerical building
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  12. #12
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    When I took my Arctic Engineering course (many moons ago), my professor discussed how outside house wrap (Tyvek) was not a great idea since it trapped moister. However, interior vapor barrier is a must.

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