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Heat Loss Too Fast?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Rick, Feb 9, 2006.

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  1. Rick

    Rick Member

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    I think my home loses heat too fast. My stove is in the part of the house to the right of the photo, in front of the cars. The part of my house that lies in between the stove and the main house, which is my dining room, is not insulated at all. It is the area in the middle of the photo, with the two double hung windows. Last night the stove room was 73 at 11 p.m., at 7 this morning it was 54, the temp the furnace is set to. At 11, the stove was loaded up and usually burns for at least 4 to 5 hours. It was around 20 outside. The dining room has no insulation in the ceiling, but does have double half-inch gypsum board (if that helps). I realize that i need to insulate that room, which i plan on doing, but does that loss sound about right? I can't be the only one with a poorly insulated home, how do the others make out? Thank you very much, for everything.

    Rick

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  2. Rick

    Rick Member

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    This is the other half of my house, this side is very well insulated.

    Rick

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  3. Rick

    Rick Member

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    That part of my house was at time a detached wood shop, and my current dining room was a breeze-way. The previous owners closed off the breeze way and finished up the shop. Unfortanetely the attic space in the dining room is about 20 inches high in the center, and it is 18 feet long. I would have to blow the insulation in, which isn't a problem. I'm having most of the house re-insulted as part of a remoldeling, which has been held up by an absentee plumber. I just realized the lack of insulation a few months ago. The insulation should have been done by now (just ask my wife).

    Rick
  4. SeanD

    SeanD New Member

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    Rick,
    That is a huge heat loss. My home is very well insulated. I pack the stove at about 9PM. Last night the temperature in the house was 69. Outside overnight low temp was 17. We get up at 5AM. Still have plenty of hot coals to start the new firewood. Temp in the house is 64. It takes a couple of hours to get it back in the 68-69 range.
    I think if I turned off the heat completely it would take 24 to 36 hours for my home to drop from 69 to 54.
    Sean
  5. Rick

    Rick Member

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    Loc:
    Connecticut
    I don't know what the walls have for insulation, they are not even sheet-rocked, just paneled over the studs. I debated pulling the paneling off to see what is there, and then sheet-rocking, but that seems like a big job. I don't know what the cost/benefit would be. The floor in the dining room is slab, covered with plywood, then wood flooring. Dylan, I'm in Cheshire. I was out your way last week for a Men's game. I had a blow-out on N.Eagleville Road, I pulled onto some side road to change it and got swarmed by "the others" (Lost reference). They came out of their house, 3 of them, demanding to know what we were doing (on a public road at 6 p.m.), then told us to hurry up and get out of there. They were nice, sorta, they offered to let us use a flashlight for just $20. Are you in Storrs? Sean, your house sounds great. That must be a nice feeling, knowing that you can miss a load and not come home to a freezing house.

    Rick
  6. joshuaviktor

    joshuaviktor New Member

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    I'm sorry, but I don't understand why you hate your house so much that you would re-insult it? Don't you think it's already ashamed of not being insulated? Don't you? My god, man, you'll scar that poor house emotionally for life!!!! Oh wait, I see. You want to change the house! That's why you're remold-eling it into a different type of house. Well, that cold and calculated molding of a poor house's emotions and personality just won't happen, no sirree. I'll have PETH - People for the Ethical Treatment of Houses on you!!!!


    LOL, God, I know I'll pay for this one, but it was fun!!!!

    Joshua
  7. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Rome, NY, USA
    Rick,

    From what I have read on energystar.gov, I understood that most heat is lost through the ceiling. That is why the requirements for ceiling insulation are so much higher that for walls or floors. In my area you need R49 in the ceiling and R13 walls and R25 floors. So spend the time, money and effort first on the ceiling insulation and worry about the walls and floor later.

    I have had insulation blown into the walls. They took the siding of at 3 ft and at the top and blew the fibers in, closed the holes and put the siding back. Took 1 day and $800 for my whole house. Helped a lot.

    My 2 ct.

    Carpniels
  8. ChrisN

    ChrisN Feeling the Heat

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    Southeastern, Ct
    Rick, heres' my 2 cents as well: those five large windows are a major source of heat loss. even double paned windows have a terrible r-value. quilted curtains for winter time would go a long way toward mitigating heat loss. Dylan yup you are just up the road from me too. I'm in Montville I just drove up to Franklin yesterday to buy a new (used) BBQ grill.
  9. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    I have a poorly insulated house. Last night at 11pm, I stocked my insert full of wood, let it burn on max for a while then turned it down to as low as it could go as the house was 75 degrees and went to bed. I woke up to the fire still going and my house at 62. Wow. Let's take a look at that little dining room. Just the ceiling. First off that double sheet-rock is R0.83 and looks to be around a 200 square foot ceiling. Let's figure out how many btu's it's losing when it's 20 outside and 70 inside.

    ((200 sq ft) * (70-20)) / R0.83 = 12,048 btu's per hour in just the ceiling that has to be replaced by your wood stove. Is that a lot though. My ceiling is 1400 sq ft and it's currently R15. My entire ceiling of my entire house is losing ((1400) * (70-20)) / R15 = 4,666 btu's per hour. Amazing huh? A tiny uninsulated 200 sq ft, double-sheet rock ceiling will lose 2.5x more heat than 1,400 sq ft ceiling insulated only to R15. Now, if these walls also aren't insulated and happen to be 200 sq ft, now you're talking a loss of around 24,000 btu's hour out that one tiny uninsulated dining room. So, not much you can do until you insulate it. My guess, your uninsulated dining room is losing more heat than the rest of your entire house. Once you insulate it, you'll cut your heating bill by probably half and worth any effort to rip out the ceiling and walls, and insulate them. You also need to air seal.

    [Edit] Oh, to add my situation is my floor. I don't heat my basement, and don't have insulated floors either. My basement is usually around 40 degrees at the ceiling and around 65 at the floor of the main area. My floor is around R1.5 for the wood. I'm losing ((1400 sq ft) * (65-40))/R1.5 = 23,333 btu's/hr through my floor, much more than the 4,666 btu's we calculated I'm losing through my ceiling of my house. That's why my house drops like a rock, I need to insulate my foundation. My heat loss isn't exactly that high through my floor that's in a perfect world. I didn't take into consideration the carpets covering 1/4 of my floor area, and my furnace is closed off on one side of my basement which keeps that side a little warmer than 40 at the ceiling, but there is no doubt the floor is where my heat loss is happening and no doubt your dining room is where your heat loss is happening, and not far off that your uninsulated dining room may be losing more heat than the rest of your entire house.
  10. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Dylan has a valid point. How can the requirements for a floor be more than walls exposed to the outside?
    The government has tilted there regulations to suit practicality. The higher r in floors and ceilings are to compensate for 2/4 wall cavities. Cap and I had this discussion yesterday r19 (hot air rised) is the economic threshold for the floor. Your government over loads this to make up for walls 2/4 and windows cavities Please if one can did up my prior post I posted the formula where you plug in your window exposere outside walls and get a systems analisis If one plugs im R19 side walls see what it will do. If you run the formulars you can see your gains.. This is a first, agreeing with Dylan many times today. All valid conserns
  11. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Efficient houses have progressed in this way.

    First, there was the regular 2x4 walls with 3.5" insulation between them.

    Then, came the 2x6 walls with 5.5" insulation between them.

    Then, came the 2x3 staggered walls with insulation between them preventing short circuiting of heat through the studs, but the header & sills still short circuit and difficult to air seal and make things line up increasing expense.

    Now, is the 2x4 walls with 2" rigid foam insulation covering the entire outside. It's as thick as a 2x6" wall, cheaper and easier than the staggered 2x3 studded walls like the sound walls, and the best performer as no short circuiting anywhere, and the best air sealing method (the seams are to be taped). The cheapest route that does this is using rigied XPS foam at R5/inch, the best is using rigid polyIso at R6.5/inch and it has a radiant barrier.
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Of course, this is unscientific, but my experience. My current and former homes have 2x4 walls and 3.5". The walls never seemed to lose much heat until a certain threshold - like below 25 degrees....

    My new house here is quite tight and yet still a lot of windows. Probably insulated to whatever the min. code are in Ma - but it really holds heat well - again, until the temps get down in the teens or below...

    So although the formulas might be linear, it seems there is a comfort factor or something else that is when the side walls actually seem to radiate cold.

    I always assumed that they insulated floors well to keep your feet warm, but that doesn't really make sense since there is usually no heat at that level anyway - in fact, I removed the floor insulation in my former house and the floor was actually warmer due to heat loss from the older boilers I had in the basement!

    It's all relative - I remember some super-insulated houses built in 1979 which I toured that had passive solar and other such features - firing up the wood stove for a couple hours (they had tons of masonry mass near the stove) kept the place warm with only a couple degrees drop in fairly cold weather...
    BUT, there is a big difference between southern jersey cold weather and VT cold weather...

    There is always a point of overdoing it, since you need air changes and such things in a house. But the moral of this thread is something we rarely think about - That a 2800 sq ft house (like mine) in the same location might need only 20,000 BTU per hour average in the coldest weather or might need 100,000 BTU or more....the only difference being the insulation, orientation and other such factors. This should be proof of the value of conservation, when you can get 5 or 6x as much out of the same fuel.
  13. Rick

    Rick Member

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    Thank you for all the great information. I'm very interested in seeing the difference after we insulate. I can't imagine keeping even more of the heat the stove produces.

    Rick
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