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Old 09-06-2007, 10:06 AM   #1
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Just added insulation

My McMansion (1750 sq ft heated, cathedral ceilings, 3 story exterior and tiny yard, hate it) has not been the most comfy, and the utilities have been outrageous. So, I decided to have more insulation put in. The guy came out yesterday, measured at different parts of the roof and found that I had too little in the attic. My house is insulated with pink fiberglass blow-in in the ceiling, seems I had about 9 inches on average, making it about R18 i the roof, and should have had a minimum of at least 12 inches making about R27.

What was really surprising was the cost. 800 bucks to add about 9-10 inches of insulation. I priced out buying the insulation from Home Depot to do the job myself, it would have been about 1600 or so just to buy the material, then I'd have had to do the job myself. They just rolled in, shot the attic in less than an hour, and drove off with my 800 dollar check. With any luck this will knock a considerable amount off my heating and cooling bill. The way natural gas has been going I could very well see a payoff this winter on the insulation .

Since this was surprisingly cheap to do considering what was done, might be worth looking into for some of the rest of you too. I'd been kinda leery about it because I was thinking 2-3 grand to have someone come in and do it.
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Old 09-06-2007, 10:30 AM   #2
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I live in a townhome situation...the unit I live in is an 8 unit building. Luckily, all my neighbors don't care about their bills being high. That means that my electronic thermostat that shuts off the furnace or A/C during the summer saves me a ton. I have three sides of my unit being warmed or cooled by those people. During winter, with the furnace being off from 8am to 4pm the house never drops below 62° and I only set it to warm to 68° in winter. During summer the temp can reach nearly 80° when the A/C is off, but the house cools down in 15 minutes to 74° when we get home.

My unit faces North so it has extra insulation in the attic (I still need to go up there and see how thick it is). I wish I could change out the windows in the place to more efficient ones. That might be the next thing to look into for your home, or at least putting new seals on them. I'm going to see how much it would cost me to put in new seals myself since they are the felt type seals that just slide into a channel.
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Old 09-06-2007, 11:21 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tip. We just had a new house built and the blow in cellulose insulation seems too thin. We were going to do the do it yourself route, but I guess we need bids now.
First I'll try to milk the 1 year warranty though and get it for free.
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Old 09-06-2007, 11:21 AM   #4
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Here's a related anectode

My family's house only had insulation around the attic access.. Basically, no insulation. We painstakingly went up in the roof, and marked 12 inches on every vertical truss beam. With a white grease pen to make it easily spotted.

We had blown chopped/convoluted fiberglass put in, we paid for 12" - and we told the operators that we marked 12 inches on every beam and we'd be checking to make sure it was there.

They were so worried about putting too little in, that they went over several inches over most of the house! They had to come back a second time to finish up because they ran out of material

I forget the cost and I don't recall the square footage of the place (at least 2000) - but without high ceilings. But I do remember a rebate from the power company for a few hundred dollars.


-----
Another big help for those with really hot attics is an active cooling fan. Even solar powered would be beneficial. Blow out some of the stagnant oven air and take in some ambient air

And finally, making sure you a/c ducting is covered by this new insulation is a good idea. If it's sitting on top of it, you're combating ambient attic temperatures when you could have a little extra insulation
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Old 09-06-2007, 11:40 AM   #5
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Yeah... I've been pestering my family about insulation, evaporative cooling, and vent fans. But why pay a few hundred bucks for all that when we can pay an extra $500-1000/year in heating/cooling bills?
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Old 09-06-2007, 11:51 AM   #6
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Telco -

Good job. The Pink Panther (insulation) Strikes Again!

Our < 1000 sqft home is from 1924 and has a flat roof and NO insulation. There is a small crawl/attic space, but no ceiling door into this space. Also, there are wood slat trusses going across maybe every one or 2 feet. To blow insulation in I would have to :

1 - build an attic door (probably in the closet, that's the normal thing to do).
2 - Figure out how to get the insulation uniformly installed *through* the trusses, if you know what I mean.

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Old 09-06-2007, 12:46 PM   #7
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I added extra ceiling insulation (blown in cellulose) myself. Are you sure you want to miss out on all that fun?
Heh heh... you mean pay double so I can work? I think I'll pass.

cfg83 - Bummer on that. Might look into having the roof foamed. They will drill a small hole between each set of slats, then pump in foam that will harden. My dad had this done to a house he build in the late 70s, and it did an excellent job of temp control.

Those of you with the cellulose, excellent. Cellulose is made of recycled newspapers, and is supposed to be a lot more eco-friendly than fiberglass. It also insulates better with less product. My 18 inches of fiberglass is the same as about 13-14 inches of cellulose. Only bad thing about the cellulose is it compacts down more than fiberglass, so you'd need to add a couple more inches sooner.
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:34 PM   #8
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when I was building houses we would put in 16-18" of blown in cellulose with a goal of R50-R55, it was one of the things that made the heating and cooling bills on these houses nearly non exsistent, if you have the space it makes alot of sense as it's not that much more time, and the insulation is cheap, and you are already in your atic with the equipment.
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Old 09-06-2007, 09:20 PM   #9
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I can't believe that no one has mentioned straw bale houses. These blow away all of the blown products. Pun... intended.

My parents have a house that is 7000 square feet. Now THAT is close to being a mansion. I still wouldn't consider it one though. You really need to break the 10,000 mark for that. Even so, my dad did a good job with insulation, so the energy costs there aren't all that bad.

My future outlook seems to hold a straw bale or dome house in store... or a combination of the two!!!
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:19 AM   #10
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Heh heh... you mean pay double so I can work? I think I'll pass.

cfg83 - Bummer on that. Might look into having the roof foamed. They will drill a small hole between each set of slats, then pump in foam that will harden. My dad had this done to a house he build in the late 70s, and it did an excellent job of temp control.

Those of you with the cellulose, excellent. Cellulose is made of recycled newspapers, and is supposed to be a lot more eco-friendly than fiberglass. It also insulates better with less product. My 18 inches of fiberglass is the same as about 13-14 inches of cellulose. Only bad thing about the cellulose is it compacts down more than fiberglass, so you'd need to add a couple more inches sooner.
Thanks, we'll look into that solution. If we can get a reasonable quote, we'll do it.

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