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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Roofers Make You Sick, Literally

Come on, it's just a roof. You want as much as you can get for as cheap as you can get it, right? Just like open heart surgery the cheapest is the best. Cancer treatments too. The less you spend on the roof is more important than it's longevity, your utilities, and especially your family's health because I'm going to berate you now for making junior sick.
These cheap roofing companies here in the Dallas area have caused so many children to have respiratory diseases it is mind boggling. But you were the enabler.
The problem first began with government intervention that did not fully think through the results and had no follow up or policy adjustment. This caused undo suffering, medical costs, and legal battles that should not have had to continue since the late seventies even though pollution levels have been steadily dropping since.
The oil embargo in 1973 brought to our attention that we were becoming dependent on foreign energy reserves so in the 1970's and 80's federal and state governments started to pass the first energy efficiency regulations. The attempts to encourage behavioral changes, like turning off the lights or adjusting the thermostat, didn't seem to help so the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), the Energy Conservation and Production Act of 1976 and the National Energy Conservation Policy Act of 1978 (NECPA) were passed.
Here came the house wrap and dual glazed or double pane window regulations that changed the entire nature of the dynamics of air, heat, and humidity in the home. Almost everybody has heard of sick buildings were diseases are exchanged through stale air but the sick home is little known. Wikipedia has an article on sick buildings but not one on homes. A home is a building but people assume that the sick building syndrome is cause by people exchanging diseases. This is only partially true as the buildings incubate their own diseases and toxic substances as a result of trying to conserve energy. The same happens at home. You might not be as concerned about the disease you share with your family members as you are with your coworkers due to a seemingly inevitable nature of close contact but you are forgetting about Stachybotrys, radon gas, and a whole litany of items that can cause aerotoxic syndromes.
Do you feel better when you leave your home? Does your headache, allergies, and stiffness go away? Maybe the spent gas from your furnace or heater is leaking into the attic or being pulled down into the home by the negative pressure caused by your chimney. It could also be that the lack of soffit vents has caused nasty gases to migrate up through your foundation because the air pressure in your home is less than outside by a minute amount. The placement of roof exhaust vents at different levels, of different types, or in conjunction with gable end vents or dormer louvers, has turned your attic into a nursery. The massive number of sedentary endoparasites and inactive spores that cover most if not all surfaces on the planet morph into thriving and breeding colonies of toxic gas emitting, building material eating, ugly glop that killed the aliens in "War of the Worlds" and are now trying to kill the residents of your damp and dingy castle.
You thought you were ventilating your attic by putting more vents in but you just vented wrong and stopped the bottom to top drafting that removes the catalyst for disastrous attics: moisture and heat laying on organic building materials.
Does your house smell old no matter what you do? Go outside and see if you think air is coming in the eaves and out the top or is it more like a broken straw that no matter how hard you try you can't get the drink to come up to the top.
Now while you're looking for that cheap doctor to fix your kid's asthma, you might offer an apology to everyone as he struggles to take every breath. This time you did it and you have nobody to blame but yourself.

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