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

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • 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.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

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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