The Murka’s have lived in their Forest Glenn pre-1950’s one and half story home

The Murka’s have lived in their Forest Glenn pre-1950’s one and half story home for 60 years. They bought it new after WWII and have done little to upgrade the house. The house is now in what has become one of the trendiest areas in Forest Glenn. Many of the surrounding houses have been upgraded including things that would be considered “sustainable” such as new insulation, HVAC, etc. Most have additions and dormers to make second floors usable. The Murkta’s are downsizing now that their family is grown and moved on. Luckily, because of the area, they have found a buyer willing to pay a lot of money to be in the neighborhood. This is partly because of the mature trees, gardens, and large yard. The new owners are the Jones’. They want to make the house and yard into an example of sustainable development. Unfortunately, because the price of the house was quite high, they have limited funds to do that. Because of that they chose the low-bid contractor, Fred’s Fly by Nite Remodelers. The Jones’ wanted the house so badly, they chose to waive an inspection during the purchase process. They were somewhat surprised to find there was little insulation in the walls or the attic. Since they are planning to enlarge the upstairs with dormers to add a large bedroom and bath, they aren’t too worried about that. [Note. As a low bid contractor, Fred doesn’t have any diagnostics done on the house before, during, or after the work is completed.] But the final project looks great and the Jones’ are thrilled. The new windows (Fred tells them that the super-efficient ones are a waste of money) look really nice. They have a new furnace too. Fred has the same opinion of the furnace as he does the windows – high efficiency is just a waste of money. He also talked the Jones’ into adding a humidifier so the new wood floors wouldn’t dry out (and they would be more comfortable he says). Right after moving into the house in September, the Jones’ throw a big party for their friends and new neighbors. Everyone is very impressed with the remodeling. The Jones’ hunker down for winter believing they have the best house in the neighborhood and are ready for the worst that winter can bring. Sadly, the first two winters are indeed the worst. There are surprises that the Jones’ certainly did not anticipate. They had ice dams both years. (The neighbors report that the house never had ice dams in the past but they also did not have much snow on the roof.) Water drips into the upstairs bedroom from the ceiling and there is a musty odor that doesn’t seem to go away – even after spraying with air fresheners. The new windows have loads of condensation. They finally call Fred to see what can be done. Unfortunately, Fred has flown the coop and can no longer be located. Desperate, the Jones’ learn about Residential Inspection and Solutions (RIS) from a friend who assures them they are the best and specialize in ice dams, building diagnostics, and infrared thermal imaging. RIS visits the house and completes the testing. They explain to the distraught Jones’ that their house is very leaky – even by old standards. And, that the humidity level in the house is extremely high. Not only that, the insulation was not installed correctly. The exterior walls’ moisture measurements are very high. First, explain why the Jones’ are having all of these problems now – especially after paying all that money to get a ‘sustainable’ house? What is the importance of having the testing by RIS? What should the Jones’ do about these problems? What course of action do you recommend? There are almost unlimited options that could be considered. Explain clearly what you think their actions should be and support your choices with information learned in the text and lectures. Note. Your grade will be based more on the support of your choices than the practical assessment of the situation. Be sure to cite your sources of support.

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