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Anyone else heating a non-insulated home?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by jwoair23, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Messages:
    468
    Loc:
    Kansas City
    Have solid brick exterior walls I have to fight with. Spring and fall are fine when the daily temperature swings keep the wall at a reasonable temperature but once winter sets in the wall chills down and it is a never ending battle. It would be cheaper to move then to insulate the walls, so I deal with it.

    Same with summer. It will be 90+ for weeks on end then there will be a cold snap where it is in the 40's and 50's as a high. My AC runs constantly through the cold snap cooling off the inside that the walls are working hard at to heat back up...

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  2. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Contractor with the attitude "Won't see it from my house"
    My place was supposed to be "at least" R45 in the attic. Around the entrance it was, but where you couldn't see only had ~8" at best (R30). Took close to 30 bags to get it up to R60 everywhere.


  3. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    903
    Loc:
    Upstate NY
    Someone mentioned govt. grants which is a good idea. You should also check to see if you're in a historic district. Here in NY there is funding available for improvements, including energy related improvements for homes in such areas. It's often not well known where these areas are.

    Ehouse
  4. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    We bought our home with no insulation and let me say no matter how big the stove it draws air through the cracks in your home and will freeze the skin right of off you ! We cranked the stove full blast and on the cold nights we where forced to run the furnace as well full blast just to stay warm. Strangely enough our windows are very good quality however that is no good unless everything else is insulated. Last year we finally got the house insulated and man what a difference it has made we can now load the stove once a day in fall and twice a day in the winter and stay in the 70's. insulation is the ticket for sure ! The only trick I can suggest if you have not already put an oak kit in so it won't draw so much through the walls and it should help stay a little warmer.


    Edit) sorry could not find the link. Here is the insulation that I had done to my home as well as Dennis and a few others here. http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/so-begins-the-insulation-pics.83224/
    Pete
    raybonz likes this.
  5. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,718
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    Check with the local utilities to see if they have an weatherization programs or possibly free/low cost energy audits. The energy auditors have canned software that calculates payback on improvements so it can gvie you an idea on the best bang for the buck. Unless you are planning to sell the house for demolition or walk way at the end of five years its worth insulating. Pump in cellulose isnt that hard if you have a few friends to help out. Most place that sell it rent the blowers. If you are just blowing the attic, the biggest labor costs is installing proper vents to keep the insulation out of the gable ends. To do the walls requires removign a strip of siding and drilling holes between the stud bays with a core drill. None of this is really skilled work and the insulation contractors know it so they hire low wage workers and get the insulation at wholesale so they can sometimes be the same price as DIY. Plastic over windows works great and a case of caulking to sealing up any cracks is a great investment. Just wander around the house on cold day with rag so you can wet you hand, then move you hand along exterior surfaces, any drafts will be quite noticable. Either that or get your spouse/girlfriend/significant other to participate and let them find the drafts and follow up with some caulk and spray foam.

    I know several folks who have heated old uninsulated homes in the NE, and 12 to 20 cords is not unusual. They also experience the fun of frozen pipes and ice in the toilet in the morning.
    jharkin likes this.
  6. Elle

    Elle Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    Messages:
    137
    Loc:
    North East Pennsylvania
    I have an old house...1890 or something like that. Dad only had about 1/2 inch rigid foam under the paneling and that was it. I decided to insulate this year and put the wood stove off for a year until I get most of the house insulated. For my attic, I just put two layers of R-30 on the floor to cover it. Makes a HUGE difference upstairs. Not so much downstairs that I noticed-though there is still some work to be done and I'm thinking the effect might be more when I have the stove cranking.

    I was talking the paneling off anyway...so I ripped that off, took all the plaster and lathe off (I honestly wanted to look at the knob and tube wiring cause I was sure mice were chewing it up) then put a 2x4 on the existing beam so I could fit R-19 batting in the walls. I also saw this thing on-line "poor man's spray foam" so I took the old rigid foam, put it against the weather board and put "great stuff" around the edges. That sealed off a good deal of the air coming in.I have about 1.5 rooms to do yet that have exterior walls. The kitchen is the cold spot in the house so I have to insulate the floor and get new windows... that will be next summer before the stove install.

    The reason I chose the batting as opposed to cellulose and such (which I was told many times to use) was that I did want to take the walls off anyway to look at the wiring (which I disconnected anyway) and by taking the walls off...I noticed that at least 3 feet of plaster was pooled at the bottom of the walls, so that would have been dead, uninsulated space had I not cleaned it out. I have also heard things about cellulose "settling" and such. I dunno..but..I had the opening so I used the batting.

    Did a lot of caulking and filling in nooks and crannies and such. Still have a lot to do but it is much more efficient than it was. I can't wait to see the oil usage for the year and see how much it really helped.

    As others have said...insulation should help with the resale value of the house for sure.
  7. johnny1720

    johnny1720 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    209
    Loc:
    The Great North East
    My house had no insulation the first year 2006, I literally had a $5000 fuel oil bill @ about $3.00 per gallon. I started gutting room by room, installing 2x4's so I had room for insulation. I ended up putting R90 in the attic, R15 in the walls, and on the one end of the house I did R21 (i put up 2x6's in the kitchen). I also replaced about 30 windows. Now I heat the house for about $1000 a year with geothermal.

    If I had the chance to do it over again, I would have got the spray foam kits from tigerfoam. Then just R13 over the foam, most of my drafts now come from the electrical outlets and switches. I should pull the outlets and caulk and foam around them that would further increase my comfort. When I put up the insulation I was crazy careful but the drafts still come from the outlets.
  8. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
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    497
    At someone's suggestion, I had a particular reputable insulation contractor come in to do a small job ($300), which I had planned to do myself using a kit. I expected him to use a spray foam kit himself. Instead, he rolled up with his 20 foot foam trailer complete with 240V powered foam equipment. It took him longer to hook up to my AC service than it did to spray the foam. I asked him why he didn't simply use a spray foam kit. He took a good ten minutes to explain the mechanics and chemistry involved and the difference in results between the kits and the full blown machine.

    I can't remember all the details, but it had a lot to do with temperature control, with the bottom line that was it is almost impossible for even a pro to do a proper job with the kits, so he simply doesn't use them, even though he would have a higher profit on the small jobs. He suggested that home owners were getting ripped off by the people pushing the kits.

    FWIW, he came across as very honest and sincere to me.
  9. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Those kits are incredibly expensive for the paltry area they cover. would you pay $100 for a 1" 4x8 foam insulation board? Thats about what you pay at $350 for 120 board feet of spray foam. I can insulate a whole house for less than one of these kits can do 1/2 of 1 room.
  10. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    497
    That's what I thought, too. And it's also why I jumped on the $300 offer to have a pro spray it. I would have spent a least that amount just to buy the kit.
  11. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Eastern Central PA
    The key to blown insulation NOT settling is to install it with a strong unit. It needs to be packed tight(in walls) Just about any machine can blow insulation into an attic space,but in the walls it needs to be packed tight cuz it will relax over time. IF its too loose it will settle. IF it is packed good it will slowly relax but not settle. Iv already done complete small houses (1500Sq ft) for around $200 My cost. A grand bargain if there ever was one.
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    Yes walls MUST be dense packed. Its not just to prevent settling - its also to stop airflow. Walls in old houses do not have vapor barriers and if you dont stop the convection currents you will trap moisture in the walls and cause rot.
    woodgeek likes this.
  13. johnny1720

    johnny1720 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    209
    Loc:
    The Great North East
    I had a pro quote me to do my kitchen walls, 3 of them are exterior. To put one 1" he quoted me 4k and I would have need fiberglass. I ended up getting R21 fiberglass for $500 or so. To do the same thing with the tigerfoam would have been $1200 + the $500 for the fiberglass. I wished I had got another quote because the one I got was crazy high and it turned me off from foam.

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