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Old 01-17-2008, 04:03 AM   #1
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A challenge!

Allright, I am faced with an interesting challenge, and I think I'll turn to you guys for help.

I just bought a house that I plan to live in for at most 5 years while I build the real house in the back yard, then destroy this house.

This house has an electric heat pump, and is very badly put together. It has no insulation in the walls, but very good windows. It has no insulation under the floor or in the crawl space, and it has no insulation around the ducts that move through the crawl space to each room. It has insulation in the attic, but it is very poor.

This house is very small,

I'm already using a caulk gun constantly to seal most drafts I find, and I put down some carpet on the floors to help with that.

My question to you guys is, what suggestions do you have for keeping my heating bills lower, given that any money or time spent on this house is wasted on something that will only last, at most, 5 years?
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Old 01-17-2008, 04:50 AM   #2
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For a "free" reduction, you can try heating only where you "live" instead of the whole house. Pick one room (bedroom, kitchen, home office, whatever) where you're going to spend most of your time. Either keep the door closed or hang a bedsheet/drape/whatever over the doorway. Use a small heater (electric, kerosene, whatever) to keep that one room comfortable. Turn the heat pump way down for the rest of the house -- say 50F or 55F -- only enough to keep the pipes from freezing and so on.

And dress warmly, of course. Sweats are comfy and you can keep the temperature a lot lower than you can if you're wearing e.g. jeans and a tee.

I'll be interested to see what ideas others offer -- I'm always looking for ways to reduce costs.


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Old 01-17-2008, 05:10 AM   #3
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Good suggestions and good work with the caulking gun. Be sure to use it in every ceiling penetration and cracks. I've heard that a home should be caulked like an upside down swimming pool, where the heat (or water) leaks out through the ceiling. So work from the top down, and be anal about getting every last seeping hole.

If you can, insulate some areas of the house with the plan to move the same insulation into the new house.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:34 AM   #4
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Blow in insulation - a lot cheaper than pulling down walls & putting them back up. Helps immensely over 5 years.
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:03 AM   #5
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Awesome. Thanks for all the suggestions so far I'll definitely look in the ceiling for things to caulk.

I do currently heat the house to 60F and then heat one room with an electric heater.

I will look into the blow in insulation, is that cheep enough to really recoup the cost over the course of 5 years? Is that something I can do myself?
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:36 AM   #6
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You can also slap scrap styrofoam you find on construction sites or wherever on all the walls of the exterior walls, and the attic, assuming you are a bachelor, and make your house into an oversized cooler. Will make it real quiet inside also and pencils will stick wherever you throw them (might need to touch it up a few times over 5 years)
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:40 AM   #7
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Hey, If I throw enough pencils at it, the pencils themselves will start insulating too!
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:49 AM   #8
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I made the decision NOT to insulate my floor, above the crawl space. All my plumbing is down there, on the ground and not on the underside of the floor. The heat that leaks down there helps keep the pipes from freezing. It's already happened once here in north TX.

Better sealing along the foundation wall has stopped any more pipe freezing, but it depends on the heat from above.

Just another thing to consider.
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:57 AM   #9
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You can check the price of blown in cellulose insulation at your local Lowe's, Home depot etc. Many of them have a blowing machine that you get to use for free if you buy x amount of cellulose insulation.

Its very dusty to blow in, but not hard and it insulates well. I put 5 inches in my garage attic a few years ago and it makes a huge difference during summer and winter. You will need a helper to feed the machine while you point the hose in the attic.
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:57 AM   #10
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carpet any room without in the winter to hold in heat (course this'll decrease what gets below) and pul up carpet in the summer

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