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Old 08-11-11, 05:30 PM   #1
strider3700
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Default sealing up a very leaky access box

Last winter I posted up this picture of the cover to my breaker box.


basically you had outside siding with holes that wires ran through but no caulking then a loose fitting 3/4" plywood board on hinges and then inside. The drafts and cold from that corner of the house were very obvious. I couldn't think of a good fix until my wife said just build a box and seal it properly like an outside door.

So I caulked the holes closed. Added as much insulation as I could to try and keep the cold in that one area then built a frame and door for the opening.

the door is 1"x2" frame with 3/8" skin and 1/2" foam inside of it. The box is 1x4 and a lip of 1x2 I caulked the seams on the box and added some foam tape.



I use a small barrel bolt to keep it closed up tight.



I caulked the box to the wall and all that is needed now is some paint. It's not as nice as what a cabinet maker would produce, but it's a hell of a lot better then what I had.

All of the wood and foam was scrap from other projects. Foam tape was $10 and the hinges/bolt were $3 each so the total cost of this was under $20. It took me 3 or 4 hours spread out over 2 weeks since I worked on it while both kids were awake but would leave me alone for 5 minutes.

The room is noticably quieter with most traffic noise that used to be audible now being gone. We'll see if it makes much of a difference this winter.


Last edited by strider3700; 08-11-11 at 05:49 PM..
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Old 08-11-11, 05:46 PM   #2
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Nice solution (smart wife too). I think it'll look fine once it gets a coat of paint.
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Old 08-12-11, 02:27 PM   #3
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Nice! I look forward to seeing the effects.
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Old 08-17-11, 08:32 PM   #4
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I had the IR thermometer in my hand and was curious so I took a couple of measurements of the box. the outside behind that box was in direct sunlight for 5 hours this morning and then the sun went around the corner about 4 hours ago that side of the house cools down in the afternoon.

The wall and box door readings this side of the box in my basement is 23.5C the reading inside the box is 27.8C I'm going to take that as a success
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Old 08-17-11, 09:27 PM   #5
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Glad to hear it worked out.
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Old 08-17-11, 10:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strider3700 View Post
Last winter I posted up this picture of the cover to my breaker box.
Looks like you have a wee bit of door warp going on (top & bottom)...

I bet that 2 barrel bolts, one high and one low would take care of it.

-AC
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Old 08-17-11, 11:21 PM   #7
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I do but it's not critical. I have to push like hell in the middle to make the barrel bolt close. The foam at the top and the bottom is still being squished against the door just not as much as in the middle. the 1/2" foam is too thick and is being very compressed. I may switch it out for 1/4" when I track some down cheap enough.
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Old 08-18-11, 03:36 AM   #8
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Could you pressurize the room and test for leaks around the door with a stick of incense? Something like closing up the room and putting a box fan in each window.
The one other thing I'd be concerned about is air sealing the box on the inside so cold air isn't moving around in the wall.
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Old 11-04-11, 10:29 PM   #9
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It's been a few months and tonight it's 1C outside so the fire is roaring. This has proven the box is sealed very well. It's also caused an issue. With that major air leak plugged up cold air is now being dragged in from other locations. In this case it's almost entirely coming from the other side of the basement which was 1/2 finished tightly by me when I did the coldroom 1/4 finished poorly but better then nothing by the previous owners and 1/4 original 1960's air leaks.

This entire side of the basement drops 2 degrees C every hour when I close the door between the two sides. The major leaks appear to be where my smoke tests previously showed, mainly at the sill plate.

the major issue is the bedrooms are right upstairs so this area getting cold affects things badly.

Anyways I could seal these leaks and wait until new leaks are found but I think I have a solution. the chimney for the woodstove actually has 3 flues. 1 to the fireplace upstairs, one to the woodstove and 1 empty that used to be to the oil furnace that is now gone. I can easily open a hole into that empty flue and add a 3" pipe that will draw outside air down the chimney and empty out just to the side and slightly above the woodstove. It's not an optimal outside air intake for the woodstove but I believe it will be better then just drawing randomly through the walls.

My only concern is it could draw smoke down the chimney and dump it into the room. If It turns out this way turning the intake a different way and popping it out of a basement wall to outside isn't a massive amount more work.

Once again fixing 1 thing leads to another.
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Old 11-04-11, 10:38 PM   #10
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Maybe it's just Friday night and I've worked too long all week, been up too late tonight and drank too much beer but.... are you saying that you are going to try to intentionally backdraft the wood stove exhaust into it's own intake? Can't you just seal up the air leaks (and thank the weatherization Gods for showing them to you) and then direct vent the stove in a more conventional way?

EDIT

Make sure you have CO detectors about. Where I live, doing that kind of thing with children in the house will get them taken from you by the DSS (if not the hospital or the grim reaper) for neglect or abuse.


Last edited by S-F; 11-04-11 at 10:43 PM..
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