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Sometimes folks ask about past articles and one of the most
requested concerns boiling a frog. This industry is not very normal.
It is however full of interesting people with strange senses of
humor, so here it is again.
A Breath of Fresh Air
By George Porter
You will remember just a few months ago this column had an
article about venting under HUD code homes. Wherever I go people
still seem to be confused about it so I thought I would try to
cover it in a different way. One of the reasons that the subject
does not get the attention it deserves is because it damages a
home in a slow and hidden way, by the time you notice it's too
One of the examples that I use to explain the problem is to
ask people if they ever tried to boil a live frog? Most people
think this is a little crazy but if you really wanted to do it
there are two ways to try it.
The first way is to boil a pot of water and throw the frog
in. This does not work too well because the frog will jump out
like he was shot from a cannon. It doesn't take him long to figure
out the problem and he takes corrective action immediately, he
jumps out of the pot.
The second way is to put the frog in the pot when the water
is still cold and then turn up the heat till it boils. The frog
never notices any change until he is cooked and then it's too
A home is effected by a lack of ventilation in the much the
same way, if the home could rot away in a few days or a week then
everybody would see the problem and understand why they had to
ventilate. Unfortunately the process could take years and years
and in a situation like this the solution loses some of it's urgency.
When the rot does occur it will take some very major efforts to
correct it. The first sign is usually just a soft spot in the
floor. Although that may be what you first notice, it is usually
the whole floor and walls and roof. When you tear up the floor
to fix the spot you find other similar spots that are not far
behind the one you are fixing, the more you look the more you
find that you had not seen before. You will soon come to the conclusion
that this thing is not the home you started with by a large margin
and there is not much you can do about it short of a total rebuild.
You have just been cooked, much like the frog!
The formula is one square foot of free vented area for every
one hundred fifty square feet of area under the home. A 1500 sq.
ft. home gets 10 sq. ft. of free vented area in the skirting.
All vented skirting specifications give the free vented area per
12 foot panel, use this to determine how much you need and space
it around the home. Even homes need a breath of fresh air to stay