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Old 03-18-2017, 05:17 AM   #1
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Energy Efficiency for Homes...

I know some of you are into energy efficiency in general.
I'm interested in finding out more about energy efficiency for my home.

To be specific. I have about 18 inches to two feet of basement wall exposed on the outside of my home. How much will it help to cover that. Cover it with dirt lower. But rock higher up to the siding. When it gets below zero. It seems like those walls are heat sinks. Would like to help the home.

My garage is attached and not insulated. How much will it help to insulate the garage?
I'm a little disappointed in my garage. It only stays about 15 degrees warmer than outside. I think this could help alot.
Also to insulate at the rafters would be a big hassle. I have those vents in the eves. Also a vent at top of roof. Do I really have to have these vents in a garage? Code requires in a house. But garage?
I'm thinking my best bet is to put a ceiling in the garage. Then put insulation over the ceiling. ????

I can't say my energy bills are bad. I would like to help. I don't make alot of money. Don't want to waste money on something that really doesn't do much at all.
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:32 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 14Corolla View Post
I know some of you are into energy efficiency in general.
I'm interested in finding out more about energy efficiency for my home.

To be specific. I have about 18 inches to two feet of basement wall exposed on the outside of my home. How much will it help to cover that. Cover it with dirt lower. But rock higher up to the siding. When it gets below zero. It seems like those walls are heat sinks. Would like to help the home.

My garage is attached and not insulated. How much will it help to insulate the garage?
I'm a little disappointed in my garage. It only stays about 15 degrees warmer than outside. I think this could help alot.
Also to insulate at the rafters would be a big hassle. I have those vents in the eves. Also a vent at top of roof. Do I really have to have these vents in a garage? Code requires in a house. But garage?
I'm thinking my best bet is to put a ceiling in the garage. Then put insulation over the ceiling. ????

I can't say my energy bills are bad. I would like to help. I don't make alot of money. Don't want to waste money on something that really doesn't do much at all.
R.I.D.E./Gary brought geo-thermal, heat pump tech to my attention. That and insulation will get you far down the road.
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Old 03-18-2017, 03:40 PM   #3
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I put Styrofoam insulation on the exposed block of my foundation and I think it helps. The snow used to melt up to 12" from the block and now it stays for quite a while. You'll need to cover the exposed foam with either a coating of some kind such as a cement skim coat or better yet, aluminum, otherwise the sun will deteriorate it fairly quickly. Get the thickest insulation you can put on there without it being proud of your siding.

I would also check the area above your block but below the floor inside your house and make sure there's insulation in there. My house is fairly old and wasn't insulated there. Those two things made a huge difference in my crawl space.

As far as your garage goes, the ventilation in your roof is important to have, so don't block it. Insulating the walls and ceiling will help keep temperatures from fluctuating as much, but I doubt it will keep it "warm" in your climate. It probably will save you a few bucks, but I'm not sure it will give you much of a return on your investment near term unless you decide to heat it or occasionally heat it to work in it. My code says to have a minimum of R-38 in the attic which quickly adds up to quite a bit of money if you use bats of insulation.

Check to see if there are any energy tax credits available in your state to see if it can help offset the cost of these improvements. When I did mine, I was able to get a few hundred more back in my taxes.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:21 AM   #4
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On my garage. Comparing the garage I had when living in an apartment, to this one. In the apartment. My garage was part of a line of garages. That's all. No attachment to any home with any heat.
In the apartment garage; I measured 16 above zero, when it was 16 below zero outside. This was a thermometer inside my car, with the window open.
In my garage at this home. It's at best, 15 degrees warmer inside the garage.
I think I can do much better.
When it gets cold. I do have a block heater in my car. Use it in my garage. I realize I don't really need it that bad. It does help the car warm up quicker when I leave. The block heater is actually for at work. Anyways... the block heater does add some heat to this garage. Still only 15 degrees warmer than outside? I don't think so.

Been looking at stuff.
I have a full basement with solid concrete wall. Still thinking about that outside of the wall.
I did notice it seemed I had a small draft in the basement. I think that is because on the outside. At the bottom of the siding. Where it meets the concrete. I don't think that is sealed up well at all. Considering going all around the house. Use a spray foam on that little gap at and under the bottom of the siding. I have seen openings at the base of the wall in the garage at this same spot.
So.... I'm looking at spray on foam insulation. Use it all around the base of the house. Also use it all inside the garage on all corners. That's all in the garage. Then go to batting on walls or maybe blown in insulation? I know I want blown in, in the ceiling. That is easiest by far. Not expensive either. If I buy enough insulation. The blower is free from the hardware store to borrow.

I do plan on putting a "Radiant Heat Blanket" over all my insulation in the ceilings. Both house and garage. It is basically a "Space Blanket" material. Only about $175 for the house. Another $100 for the garage.

My biggest lack is in air infiltration. Even though this is a newer home with house wrap. Note what I said about at the bottom of the siding (or bottom of actual wood frame walls of house) where it meets the cement wall for the basement. This place is well insulated. I think I can do better.

I'm still thinking a bunch on the outside of the basement walls exposed above ground.
The company that built all these homes is still around. They have a bunch of dirt from a couple basements they dug recently. I may be able to pay them to haul some of that dirt over here and put it around the house?
Should I worry about making sure the wall has tar on it all the way where dirt goes? Or is the tar mainly for deeper where water might sit? Don't worry about tar near the top? Especially if I make it so water drains off the ground near the top easily. ???
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Old 03-19-2017, 02:31 PM   #5
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I think the insulation will help retain heat longer from your warm vehicle, but you're always going to be fighting the cold cement slab.

I have blown in cellulose insulation on top of bat insulation in my house to bring it over R-38. It's very easy to do, but it will take two people. I would also suggest putting in some depth reference points in a few places so you can tell when you have enough as it's really easy to go overboard. I didn't do that and ended up putting in almost 50% more than I had planned.

I think your foam sealing is a good idea if you can identify some air gaps. If you have vinyl siding, it's very easy to pop it off with a "zip tool" which should make the job much easier.

The radiant heat blanket idea is interesting. Would you use something like this?

As far as the tar goes on your walls, it wouldn't be a bad idea, but I'm not sure it's needed. If you do decide to put tar on the walls, it goes on very easily with a paint roller and is rather cheap. Putting dirt around the foundation sounds like a decent idea as long as it doesn't cause water to start splashing on your walls. It might even help with drainage. A few years ago I dug all around the perimeter of my house to the footings, put in a drain tile system, skim coated the walls, put tar over that, and then styrofoam insulation. As I said before, that made a big difference in the temperature in my crawlspace, not to mention keeps it much dryer.
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Old 03-19-2017, 03:07 PM   #6
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I am thinking of a different product. Similar. Here's that product's comparison. AtticFoil® vs. Other Products - AtticFoil® Radiant Barrier - Do-It-Yourself Professional Grade Radiant Barrier

On the cold garage floor. We don't get sustained cold for very long. The ground doesn't freeze like it does farther north and in other places. The only place the garage at my apartments had to get heat, was from the cement slab. Ground stay about 65 degrees. That's much warmer than 15 below. That garage wasn't insulated or anything.

The only place I'm thinking of blowing in insulation is where there was none. In the garage. It doesn't even have a ceiling right now. Would need to create one.
The house has a pretty good blanket of insulation now. It isn't batting. But should double check it before putting in the radiant barrier.
Only place I see any problem on air leaks is at the base of the house. Where it meets the cement wall of the basement. Otherwise rather trusting they did a good job on the house wrap. I have hardwood siding.
I will seal with foam, every outdoor light casing.

The only time I notice lacks is when it gets below zero. That's when construction is truly tested. I think my home can do better than it did this winter in below zero.
Geesh... I got so much planned. So much to do. Gonna cost money. I have some. But geesh... I hope I can get most all of this done. House really needs it.
I was planning on straightening out the front lawn this summer. Got crab grass growing in. Mixed up with my Kentucky Blue Grass. It's something that got out of hand with the previous owner. Something everybody works on. I may not get much at all of that lawn done this year. Too much other to do. I'm too slow from an injury I had two years ago. Keep getting better though.
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