The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Craig Brugi: Blower Door Test

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Craig Burgi wasn’t expecting any trouble with this house. Not when he saw who handled the insulation job.

Burgi, who heads up the Energy Advisory Program for Steuben County (Ind.) Rural Electric Cooperative, had previously checked the energy efficiency for several houses insulated by Tom Henniger’s crew from Airtight Insulation in West Unity, Ohio.blowdoor

Through the electric cooperative, Burgi provides the service free to all customers. Keith Walker and Sam Witt hired him to check the efficiency of the first two homes they’ve built on the grounds of the former Morenci Middle School.

Burgi uses what’s called a blower door test. After all the windows and doors are closed in the house, one door is opened and a plastic frame is inserted. A fan is attached to an opening in the frame and three gauges are connected.

Burgi enters data into a laptop computer,  including information such as the size of the house, the heating source, the number of occupants and the cost of natural gas and electricity.

The fan is turned on and the atmosphere inside the house is de-pressurized as air is sucked out. When the top meter indicates a force of 50 Pascals—a unit of pressure—Burgi knows the artificial conditions he’s set up are equal to a 20 mile an hour wind striking the house on all four sides. With higher pressure outside the house, air flows in through unsealed cracks and openings. The final result produces the air infiltration rate of a structure.

At the Morenci home, the pressure doesn’t reach 50 Pa level immediately. Burgi attaches a ring to the fan to restrict the flow of air. That’s often needed in a tight house.

“If you get down to the second ring, you get a raise,” he says to Henniger’s crew—not that Burgi is the one paying wages.

A minute later he’s adding that second ring.

Burgi finally determines the house has a 2.5 rating.

“That means all the air in this house is exchanged two and a half times every hour,” he explained, “and that’s good.”

Any rating between 2.0 and 3.5 is considered well insulated. It’s possible to go too far in the air-tight direction, he said. If he comes up with a rating below 2.0, some extra ventilation might be in order since a natural exchange of fresh air is essential.

“This is a well-sealed house,” Burgi announces. “It’s going to be very energy efficient. Good job, guys.”

At this point in the test, Burgi and others move from room to room to look for air leaks.  He doesn’t expect to find much with a 2.5 rating, and Henniger is proud of his company’s efforts to seal potential sources of leaks with caulk or foam.

In an older home, however, residents can easily track down leaks that lead to wasted fuel. A whistling sound will often be heard around electrical outlets, windows and plumbing fixtures.

Some states require blower door tests for new residences, Burgi said, but for his electric cooperative, the tests are available simply for the goal of helping customers save on fuel costs.

It doesn’t always work out the way he would like. It’s very frustrating, he said, to assist home owners in identifying leaks, then later find out they never followed up on the steps needed to make changes.

Henniger prefers a good cellulose insulation for fuel savings and for its sound deadening properties. He uses an insulation treated with boric acid for insect control.

Witt, one of the developers of the property, is willing to pay the initial heating and cooling costs at the two homes he’s built in Morenci.

“We’re so comfortable with our heating and cooling systems that we’ll guarantee the first year’s costs,” he said.

Based on the data obtained by Burgi, he convinced Walker to join him in paying the costs for the first year of a customer’s ownership.

– September 20, 2006 

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