Help! Is my house toooo dry?

Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: pret On: Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:51 pm

Hey everyone...

Moved into a new construction in June of 08. It's a two story with a finished basement. I have an AA-130 in a partitioned basement room - not totally sealed from the house, but sealed enough that the temp in that room is in the 80's and the basement is kept at 72. I began burning coal for DHW in August, and soon after I began to notice creaks in the floor and locations where walls were attached to the floor. I mentioned it to the builder, but it wasn't a big deal at the time. Now I have a lot of creaks in kitchen - directly above the boiler room - or at least half of the kitchen is. I just checked the humidity in the house - it's 31%. Can a boiler in a partitioned basement room cause a bunch of creaks in the floor/walls even on the opposite side of the house on the second floor???

I have a hot air system with a water to air heat exchanger in the air handler... the water temps in the boiler have been between 160 - 175 over the summer, and currently are at the 180-200 mark. The air is not 'hot' coming out of the vents, but very warm. The vents do not get hot to the touch...

I can't imagine that this system would be any dryer than a heat pump or oil/gas burner hot air system!

Can someone help me out? What is the humidity level in your house... especially if you have a hot air system and especially if you built a house - did you experience similar things??

Thanks everyone... Pret
pret
 

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:29 pm

Winter air is always drier once you condition it. Get a whole house humidifer for your air handler and you will be much happier.
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: WNY On: Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:30 pm

Winter time is always dryer and with the furnaces running more, it will be MUCH dryer in your house. Weather you have forced air, baseboard, etc...

Get a good console humidifier (Do a search on here for Humidifier, been discussed quite a bit)....
Humidifiers

We try and keep it 30-40% approx. Some like higher....
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon


Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: Jeddbird On: Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:33 pm

I hope I'm not being to presumptuos here, being nbew to the forum & all, but I have been heating with coal for about 5 years & alway use a whole house humidifier December-January to keep my house bwteen 30%-45% humidity level. It;'s much more comfortable, better for your furniture & less electric shocks. Ime is form Home Depot but Sears & Lowes has them too.
Jeddbird
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Dutchwest
Stove/Furnace Model: Federal

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: WNY On: Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:39 pm

Nope, you are right on with running the humidifier from Nov - Apr. approx. and welcome!!
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: coalkirk On: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:22 pm

pret wrote:Hey everyone...

Moved into a new construction in June of 08. It's a two story with a finished basement. I have an AA-130 in a partitioned basement room - not totally sealed from the house, but sealed enough that the temp in that room is in the 80's and the basement is kept at 72. I began burning coal for DHW in August, and soon after I began to notice creaks in the floor and locations where walls were attached to the floor. I mentioned it to the builder, but it wasn't a big deal at the time. Now I have a lot of creaks in kitchen - directly above the boiler room - or at least half of the kitchen is. I just checked the humidity in the house - it's 31%. Can a boiler in a partitioned basement room cause a bunch of creaks in the floor/walls even on the opposite side of the house on the second floor???

I have a hot air system with a water to air heat exchanger in the air handler... the water temps in the boiler have been between 160 - 175 over the summer, and currently are at the 180-200 mark. The air is not 'hot' coming out of the vents, but very warm. The vents do not get hot to the touch...

I can't imagine that this system would be any dryer than a heat pump or oil/gas burner hot air system!

Can someone help me out? What is the humidity level in your house... especially if you have a hot air system and especially if you built a house - did you experience similar things??


No matter what kind of heat you have you were destined to get creaks in the floors and cracks in drywall. You said you moved in to a new hoise in June. Framing lumber when stacked in bundles maintains a high moisture content. Your house once built goes through a drying phase where the lumber loses moisture content and shrinks. It's what most people call settlement cracks. In the area above your boiler, you have super dried it out and you are seeing the results. A console or flow throgh central humidifier such as an AprilAire will do the trick. The central unit works better.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: e.alleg On: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:49 pm

I heard the increased comfort of a humidifier is not worth the health risk. Moist air carries germs much better than dry air not to mention it aids in bacteria and mold breeding on every surface. I heard it from an old guy, not a scientist, so who knows.
e.alleg
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: Hollyfeld On: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:06 pm

pret wrote:Hey everyone...

Moved into a new construction in June of 08. It's a two story with a finished basement. I have an AA-130 in a partitioned basement room - not totally sealed from the house, but sealed enough that the temp in that room is in the 80's and the basement is kept at 72. I began burning coal for DHW in August, and soon after I began to notice creaks in the floor and locations where walls were attached to the floor. I mentioned it to the builder, but it wasn't a big deal at the time. Now I have a lot of creaks in kitchen - directly above the boiler room - or at least half of the kitchen is. I just checked the humidity in the house - it's 31%. Can a boiler in a partitioned basement room cause a bunch of creaks in the floor/walls even on the opposite side of the house on the second floor???

I have a hot air system with a water to air heat exchanger in the air handler... the water temps in the boiler have been between 160 - 175 over the summer, and currently are at the 180-200 mark. The air is not 'hot' coming out of the vents, but very warm. The vents do not get hot to the touch...

I can't imagine that this system would be any dryer than a heat pump or oil/gas burner hot air system!

Can someone help me out? What is the humidity level in your house... especially if you have a hot air system and especially if you built a house - did you experience similar things??

Thanks everyone... Pret


I have baseboard in my system, but both the upstairs and the basement of my house are at 32%. I've noticed since firing up the coal boiler that my basement is drier than usual. I can't compare my dryness level to an AA, but my oil boiler never dried it up this much.
Hollyfeld
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: pret On: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:16 pm

We are comfortable in our home... we don't really feel that it's all that dry. Like I said, without a humidifier, we're at 31%. I guess the biggest problem I'm having with these 'developments' is the blame being dumped on Ashley (AA-130).

What I'm hearing most of you say is that a humidifier will make us feel more comfortable... but will it help eliminate these 'developments'?? Part of my disappointment is assuming a new house would be devoid of creaking floors, etc.


Thanks fellas for your responses.

Pret
pret
 

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: coalkirk On: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:01 pm

e.alleg wrote:I heard the increased comfort of a humidifier is not worth the health risk. Moist air carries germs much better than dry air not to mention it aids in bacteria and mold breeding on every surface. I heard it from an old guy, not a scientist, so who knows.


I'm not a scientist and don't even play one on TV. But the unhealthy humidifiers are the resevoir type where water actually sits in the unit. Everything that goes through the ducts lands there and can grow. Mold, fungas, bacteria, Legionella!. Flow through humidifers use fresh water constantly. No water sits in the unit, no health concerns.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: Rob R. On: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:58 pm

The humidity on my first floor stays around 30% in the winter, the basement is only around 10% with the stove cranking.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: Kenbod On: Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:38 am

Cold air supports less humidity than warm air. Cold air drawn into the home becomes warm. Though it has the same amount of water, it can "hold" more than before. Thus the "relative humidity" drops significantly. That cold outside air which was at 55% humidity can easily become 10% inside your warm house.

Solid fuel stoves suck up lots of air from your home and send it up the stack. Outside air comes in every crevice and crack to replace it. Molds and bacteria generally love humidity. Viruses are stabilized in dry environs. Furniture, flooring and people like it between 30-70%.

Humidifiers are a great solution to the problem. You have a few choices: free standing and central. The freestanding units use heat, water soaked pads, or ultrasonic mists. Hot units emit zero viable molds, viruses, or bacteria (but their "dead" proteins can still be allergenic). They cost the most to operate. Filters and pads are subject to hard water problems and can breed microbes. Maybe true for ultrasonic too, but they tolerate hardness somewhat better.

Central units are a different animal. I agree with the other member who cited problems with them.

I have (or have had) all of them. The hot unit is great with a sick stuffy kid, but costs too much to run for daily use. The corrugated pierced pad type hardened up with lime from my well water too fast for my liking. I also have one with a little pump and a metal screen. The screen has silver (or something) to inhibit bugs. It works fine and resists lime, but its fan/pump is a bit loud. The ultrasonic is my favorite: silent, puts out moisture, low energy consumption, tolerates hard water (but can leave dried lime "dust" around it which cleans up easily.

My central unit was an aerosol type and left puddles in my ducting. Besides whatever grows in that, it starting rusting the ducts.
Kenbod
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Van Wert Simplex Multitherm
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoker Kaa-2

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: pret On: Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:51 am

Thanks for your experiences... Ken, sounds like you like the ultrasonic - I'll need to be looking into it soon. My builder says that usually during the summer, the humidity increases in the house and all the creaks 'go away'. So If I increase the humidity in the house now... I should see a reduction in the creaks and cracking caulk around windows and trim.
pret
 

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:14 am

e.alleg wrote:I heard the increased comfort of a humidifier is not worth the health risk. Moist air carries germs much better than dry air not to mention it aids in bacteria and mold breeding on every surface. I heard it from an old guy, not a scientist, so who knows.



Put this stuff in your humidifier.....It works great to keep the stagnant water clean.
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_03214900000P
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Help! Is my house toooo dry?

PostBy: Dann757 On: Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:58 am

My friend had an addition put on, and her builders were bad news. I stayed out of the process as much as possible, but was outraged at what I saw. As a handyman I've done a lot of punch lists in my time and have grown to mistrust builders. They will tell you anything to shut you up and never rectify anything. Forgive my bitterness. All the subcontractors come into play, and if they're not watched over constantly they will cut corners. I warned my friend that her shower liner was substandard, I found the siding crew went right over a dryer vent, blocking it off, etc. A lot of the subs were non-english speaking and I don't even think they knew what country they came from.
Sorry for the rant. Even my wealthy customer had a multimillion dollar house built by the same builder that put their home together, a lawsuit was a result of that fiasco.

On the positive side, I have had to recaulk a lot of crown moulding and trim in that house every year, it's typical. A house is a living thing in a way, and wood always wants to be wood. Your creaks may be partially due to the construction.

I have an accurate hygrometer now and I keep pans of water on top of my hand-fired. This keeps the humidity at 20%. When I take a shower the humidity goes up to a good 30%. If I boil water on the stove the humidity goes up too, in this small cottage. I'm thinking of a console humidifier soon.

I wouldn't use an ultrasonic unless it's filled with distilled water every day, which is too expensive. The mineral dust permeates everywhere.
Dann757