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attic sealing and insulation

Post in 'The Green Room' started by DianeB, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    397
    Loc:
    Foot Hills of the Berkshires
    I took advantage of a special program in Mass and added 7 more inches of insulation in the attic, plus had sealing performed. I did not realize we were losing so much heat above our ceiling fans and bath room fans. We only had 6 inches in our attic and now we have 13. The results are dramatic. The heat retention is unbelievable. There is just now a 1 or 2 degree difference in temp between the stove room and the rest of the house. We are using 1/2 less wood now and the house at 3 degrees outside is an easy 70 inside where we struggled to get it to 60 when close to zero. The house was always warm if high 20's outside, but if it hit the low teens or single digits, we went through a lot of wood. We can let the fire go out for 4 hours or more and see hardly any heat loss. I think once the temps get to the 30's and 40's we may only need a small fire in the am and a small fire in the evening to keep the house comfortable.
    newbieinCT, Laszlo and PapaDave like this.

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  2. bryankloos

    bryankloos Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    109
    Loc:
    Weston, CT
    Interesting results... I just had an energy audit and was told my 1976 original fiberglass bats had settled and are now equivalent to about an R14-18.
    The audit guys recommended spray-foaming the underside of the roof decking and removing the ceiling insulation all together. I have a walk-up attic. I've been researching this lately and it seems to be a newer and viable (yet expensive) option for sealing the heating envelope. That said, my first quote came in at $7800, which has me looking at lesser expensive options such as what you've done.

    Care to share any more info as to what was done and where you found the biggest need for sealing? I want to tighten things up over the warmer months in prep for next winter.

    Thanks,

    Bryan
  3. Free BTUs

    Free BTUs Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Messages:
    56
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    Im going through the same Mass program through NStar. The electric company pays 75% of the cost up to $2000. Awesome deal. I've been waiting over 5 weeks to get the work done though. Hopefully they do it soon. They are going to pull up my existing insulation in the attic, spray seal all of the joints, put the insulation back, blow in insulation on top to R-38, spray seal the rim in the basement, seal my doors, and install a new vent on the bathroom fan.....and it all will only cost me $348 out of my pocket.

    The contractor said im loosing a ton of heat through my interior 2nd floor walls. Heat goes in the hollow walls and then leaks out through the gaps in the attic. The tops of the interior walls are colder than the ceiling on the second floor -very noticeable bynoutting your hand on them. Contractor said I will be shocked after the work is done.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,892
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    That will be a nice surprise.
  5. tigger

    tigger Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2013
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Rhode Island
    I am having my audit done next week. I am curious to see the findings. Hopefully national grid is running that same program for reimbursement in RI that you have in Mass.
  6. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,663
    Loc:
    WI, Milw
    Around here I would have to abandon use the wood stove and/or furnace for a whole year just to qualify .
  7. Free BTUs

    Free BTUs Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Messages:
    56
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    The way it is set up here is that every electric customer pays an energy efficiency fee every month (few bucks or so). So as long as you are an electric customer you qualify. Doesn't matter what you use for heat because you pay into the program every month. You should see if you can qualify with AC. If you have AC (I only have a small window one in my bedroom) then you are still saving electricity by insulating your attic.
  8. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,330
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    Yes, the MassSave program is great. We had the house insulated through that program and I put a thread on it in the green room a couple years ago about the experience. I track fuel usage against degree days each season and Ive measured a 40% reduction in fuel usage in this drafty old joint :)
    Frozen Canuck likes this.
  9. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    596
    Loc:
    Allenton, Wisconsin
    Go with 24" in the ceiling. It is cheap and will pay itself back. I have 24" of cellulose in the attic. It helps quiet down the house. Its harder to hear wind and heavy rain too. I have a very quiet house.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,892
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    What?
  11. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,868
    Loc:
    SE PA
    To the OP, the airsealing was probably the bigger factor than the insulation....in my 1960 house I had 8 square feet _g of total opening between my wall cavities and my attic. That's like keeping a couple windows open all winter!

    For that vintage US house, that much open area is called 'typical'.

    And then when people get ice dams, they call a roofer! :confused:

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