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Do you think this will work?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by kenora, Jan 30, 2008.

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  1. kenora

    kenora Member

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    Loc:
    Kenora, Ontario, Canada
    I have a 900 sq/ft cottage in Kenora Ontario, it sits mostly empty from Nov - Apr each yr with the heat on. It would be impossible to get the water system and toilets running when we go out every 2nd or 3rd weekend during the winter (to check on it and enjoy some ice fishing etc) if we turned off the heat and let it freeze.so the heat stays on at the minimum setting of 45 f. Last yr that cost me $500 in heating oil, this year I suspect it'll be WAY MORE since oil went from 80 cents/liter to 93 cents/liter and the Wx has been brutal here....we are in week 2 of -30 to -40 and colder, today it was -33 c and expecting -36 tonight.

    So as I was strolling through Home Despot I wondered about making an insulator blanket of sorts for the windows. There are several and they are BIG. All triple pane low E argon but hey its COLD!

    What I want to do is take 1" Styrofoam Sm (the blue stuff) and glue some heavy duty aluminum foil to one side and trim the edges with the flexible metal tape and custom fit these to each window, completely filling the frame with the foil on the inside. This would give me R5 for the Styrofoam and I think the alum foil would reflect heat back into the cottage. The windows are always the biggest heat sinks in a house! The walls are currently R20 the roof has R60. I'll post pics of the MBR window (about 10ft wide X 5 ft high) and the living room patio door (5 ft) both face east so no solar gain to be had.

    What do you think?

    I had the thin plastic film on the windows last yr and I don't think it adds much in terms of R value.

    I would take these out of the window openings when we are there and using the place.

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  2. kenora

    kenora Member

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    Loc:
    Kenora, Ontario, Canada
    other side....

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  3. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

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    Kenora,

    I do not see any reason why it wouldn't help at least a little bit. By increasing the insulation of the windows should provide at least some additional savings on the oil usage.

    One thought, is the floor/crawl space/basement also adequately insulated?

    Erik
  4. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Midwest
    Sure it will help some. You could probably poke around a little and find some R value / BTU calculators, figure up how many sq ft (or sq meters) of glass you have, then figure adding R7 to that. You should be able to get a handle on how many BTU's you'd save, then compare that to the cost of the foam board. The down side is if you get sun, you won't get any solar gain through the windows - the insulation works both ways!

    I'm a bit skeptical that the aluminum foil will add much. If you are keeping the house 'just hot enough to prevent freezing' that is not a lot of heat to reflect. So the payoff on that aspect may be pretty long.

    Another option may be to heat tape the pipes and space heat the critical areas, then let the rest of the house go cold. If you had some way to concentrate the heat only where it is needed that would save on the bill.
  5. Cazimere

    Cazimere Member

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    Just a thought.
    I'm wondering if this is going to cause excessive condensation to form between the styro panels
    and the glass, resulting in damage to the window sills, trim and walls below the window.
    I think I'd try one small window like the bathroom window first, as a test case, before doing
    all the windows. Bathrooms being commonly built to be more resistant to moisture damage.
  6. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Twin Cities, MN
    How long a ride is it from the Twin Cities MN to there, and where are the spare keys kept? Nice place!
  7. kenora

    kenora Member

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    Loc:
    Kenora, Ontario, Canada
    Letting it go cold would never work, cold is -30 or colder, I will try the Styrofoam on one of the north side windows and cover that air conditioner from the outside.

    The crawlspace is insulated and heated and has the furnace (oil/forced air), water heater, pipes etc down there.

    When I was in HD I spoke to one of the folks in window coverings dept, she suggested an insulated blind with a foil backing. It was the cost (over $1000 for the patio door and over $1200 for the big window) that stopped that conversation from going very far.

    That was what precipitated the...if a little tiny insulated blind with a reflective foil interior could provide SOME savings, then maybe going ugly/cheap and overkill (Styrofoam SM and alum foil) could provide lots of savings!

    Do I understand correctly that I would be best off to put the SM on the inside on the N and E sides and on the outside on the S and W sides?

    and for GotztheHotz..

    I tried to paste in the directions etc from MS Streets and Trips but can't fiqure out how to do it...here is the readers digest version..

    Go N on 35 towards Duluth, then N to by way of Mountain Iron to Fort Francis and then Baudette, then its Canadian #71 to Kenora.

    trip 690 km
    time about 7 hours

    Oh and the keys are......

    hahahaha.... its a rental in the summer the keys are available a week at a time :) If you are interested check the link on the bio on my profile.
  8. kenora

    kenora Member

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    Loc:
    Kenora, Ontario, Canada
    The only reason I wasn't going to go 2" is that it is only avail in the 2ft wide sheets (8 ft long), the 1" is avail in 4ft wide sheet (8 ft long) and it would be easier to build these covers.

    The basement (cellar) is heated and insulated...here is a picture of the basement, it has poured concrete walls with insulated stub walls above, the floor is concrete over granite (not very level since the rock rises in the one corner) Thats the door to the basement in the first pic.

    I guess I could add SM to the inside of the concrete?

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  9. kenora

    kenora Member

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    Loc:
    Kenora, Ontario, Canada
    Both the main floor and basement would be heated to the same 45 degrees. I was wondering about the..

    "insulate interior of windows, the sun may heat the thermalpane enough to compromise the seal."

    part. Wouldn't the blinds they were going to sell me at HD do the same thing if that was an issue? I think I'll have a go at one of the windows on the N side and let you know.

    And where in Maine are you? I have family in Cape Elizabeth; the clan is originally from Nova Scotia though (Parrsboro on the Bay of Fundy).
  10. kenora

    kenora Member

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    Kenora, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks eh!

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  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Might be worth using the foil covered foam board instead of the pink or blue stuff - saves trying to foil coat it yourself, and I've heard the foil stuff is a bit more durable when left exposed. It might also not be a bad idea to leave a few small weep holes at the base of the panels to let any condensation escape, and vent any pressure from heat build up.

    (Not a heating engineer or expert on this, use ideas at your own risk...)

    Gooserider
  12. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

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    Nelson BC
    cheapo solution is get a roll of that thick bubble wrap and mist your windows with water and apply bubble wrap to the inside. It sticks and gives insulation and lets in light. Reuse the pieces for next year.

    Thick R value curtains can cause heavy condensation on the window side with icing. Tons of moisture. Could be an issue with the foam but not sure on that one.
  13. Jerry Cournaya

    Jerry Cournaya New Member

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    Nov 17, 2007
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    Loc:
    Northern Wisconsin
    I have a 700 sq.ft. cabin in northcentral wi. 20 below F last night. I blow my water lines out every time I leave the cabin in the winter,it takes me about 30 min. to do. That is hot water tank,water filter like the one in your picture with your pressure tank and all my water lines. By the picture of your pressure tank you could hook up a water faucet (like the one in your picture with the garden hose in it)to the right of your filter at the end of your line.Then hook up a small air compressor to the faucet,turn off your well pump,release all water pressure, turn on the air compressor 1st,then open water faucet,than go around cabin and drain all the lines ,I start with the hot water tank. I also put a small drain value about 8 ft. down my well case, open that so the pressure tank and the line to the well can also drain. Then I do not have to heat my cabin.

    When I go up for the week end start my Earth Stove and the main room is up to 70 in about a 1/2 hour,have electric mattress pads on the beds so we can sleep the 1st night. All in all the cabin is nice and warm in about 2 hours.

    After I get the fire going I hook back up the water and ready to relax about hour after I get up there.

    Sounds easy,and it really is once you do it a couple times.
    Small air compressor and plumbings cost under $200.00,Hook every thing up myself.
    Put RV drain anti freeze down all the drains and empty the toilet tank and bowl and add anti freeze to it. Safe on the septic system to.
  14. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    North of Bangor huh? I was raised in Lincoln....left years ago. I have tons of family throughout Lincoln, Lee, Springfield, Kingman and the Millinockets etc.
  15. woodpile

    woodpile Member

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    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
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    While the 3M window insulator kit stuff works well, I didn't like the idea of tearing it off every year, so I made oak frames out of 3/4" wide by 7/16" thick stock. I put the film on both sides to create a dead-air space. The edges are trimmed with closed-cell weather strip foam and I put the frame inside the window jam. I think they help a lot, but I've not tried to measure their R-value. The good part would be that you would not need to take them down when you show up - they would insulate while you are there too; the bad part is that they certainly would not insulate as well as foam board.

    I have friends with a lodge in PA. Before they leave any given winter visit, they drain the plumbing and put anti-freeze in the toilets. I do not know if they have some heat source for the well tap. They heat with wood, so there is no heat if nobody feeds the beast.
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