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Old 12-02-2011, 06:03 AM   #1
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1950 Cape Cod balloon frame


I bought my house a couple of years ago and would like to insulate atleast the attic with blow insulation. The heating and cooling costs are really high for a house that is only 1222 sq ft. I live alone and I keep the heat low! Im pretty sure the wall cavities are open but the sloped ceiling is so tight I cannot get near it. I would like to use blow in if possible. Any suggestion?

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Old 12-02-2011, 06:16 AM   #2
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Those houses are about the most difficult to insulate that I have encountered---the shallow roof rafters and lack of over hangs for ventilation add to the frustration----

There are several really experienced insulation people here----one of them will be along soon--Mike---

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Old 12-02-2011, 06:27 AM   #3
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Those houses are about the most difficult to insulate that I have encountered---the shallow roof rafters and lack of over hangs for ventilation add to the frustration----

There are several really experienced insulation people here----one of them will be along soon--Mike---
+1

these are scenarios where a friend that is of slight stature will come in handy.

There are some exterior top plates that you just cannot get to if you tried.

You can try to put together some scrap wood to work across the attic floor structure and slide out as far as you can to the edge between the rafters but you can only get to what you can get to.

Be sure to grab some baffles when you are out there you and can wad up fiberglass to push up the baffle against the underside of the roof to keep the baffle in place.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:25 AM   #4
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By baffles do you mean those vent chutes? There are not any soffits or overhang on the roof. Will I still need them?
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:33 AM   #5
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By baffles do you mean those vent chutes? There are not any soffits or overhang on the roof. Will I still need them?
Yes,you do---and there are ways to add ventilation to a cape--even without a soffit---

I haven't done one of those in years--so I hope someone on here has a link to the vents----I believe 'Lone framer' posted about those once---

He's not here often so let's hope he check in or that someone else had a suggestion---

( I do interiors ,mainly--so my knowledge is slim in the exterior and insulation area)
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:15 AM   #6
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What do you mean by keeping the temp low? I have a one story bungalow, and keep the temp at 68, and it stays warm. No insulation in the walls, but have gone around and sealed all air leaks, the attic has at least 6" of blown in, windows are double-pane with outer storms. Walls are cool to the touch in Winter, but temp stays constant, and furnace cycles about once an hour.

You really need to go around and assess air leakage before insulating. Look at gaps around windows & doors, outlets and switches on outside walls. If the windows are old, place 3m Window Shrink film over. If they have been replaced, but not properly insulated around them, take off the moulding trims and insulate around the windows if retro-fits with DAP foam in the can, and weight pockets with insulation. Make sure Storm windows are closed.

Bath vents, make sure that they have self closing dampers, same with the dryer and kitchen exhaust. Those alone with suck conditioned air. Get up in the attic and seal around junction boxes and wiring, before blowing in more insulation. If entry doors have not been replaced, use the better door foam seal, that you place on the trim when the door closes, so that it forms a tight seal. Use a door sock at the bottom to stop drafts from going below.

Once you get all of that done, then look at the attic space in making sure that you allow for proper ventilation of the space. If the space stays hot after proper ventilation, then you may have to look at a power vent to help pull the hot air out, to bring it down to cooler temps. 6" is min. nowdays for the attic, 12 to 16 is better. If using for storage or finished space, you may want to look at using Spray foam to help tighten the space, to help seal the walls and roofing area, before finishing with drywall.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:17 AM   #7
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By baffles do you mean those vent chutes? There are not any soffits or overhang on the roof. Will I still need them?
They can help. My roofer stated that they are better than the venting that you place along the edge at the gutters. Reason being, is that if you get ice damming, which can still happen with a properly ventilated attic, the baffles help to draw the air up to the ridge venting.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:27 AM   #8
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I usually keep it at 67 or 68 but I always feel like it is cold and drafty. The furnace kicks on every 15 minutes I think. Any ideas on how I can block the open wall cavities into the attic? Its very tight so Im not sure how to even reach down there. Thanks for your info.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:37 AM   #9
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I usually keep it at 67 or 68 but I always feel like it is cold and drafty. The furnace kicks on every 15 minutes I think. Any ideas on how I can block the open wall cavities into the attic? Its very tight so Im not sure how to even reach down there. Thanks for your info.
Get a humidifier running. Cold and drafty was my place, before I went around this winter and pulled the trim around the windows, and sealed. Who ever installed the retro windows, left gaps, where they pushed in the insulation, when installed, and at the tops, there was no insulation. Four of our windows, we have 3-m window film, one still has a room ac unit, but the window was cut before, so that is on the list.

My furnace would also cycle every 15, before I did the air sealing, now as I stated before, it cycles probably once an hour, and in the evening after dinner, it usually does not cycle at all.

Do like I did, attack the outlets, switches, windows, doors with a vengeance this winter and see how it does. For me, I have been doing this bit by bit for the past three years, always finding something that I missed before. We do have Larson storms that help stop the air getting through, since we have a un-insulated front door, and solid wood with single pane window on the back.

If I had to guess on the time it took to do the air sealing, probably 15 min's for the outlets, 4 hours for the windows, and maybe 2 for the 3-m film. A larger home could take double. I used two cans of DAP, and maybe one tube of caulk. We have a two stage furnace, and only in the morning, when it recovers from 64 to 68, will it kick into 2nd stage. The thermostat I use is a 3m-50, running the OurHomeSpaces radio.
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:10 PM   #10
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Many capes have open cavities in the attic clear down to the basement or crawl space with minimal wall insulation –fiberglass- which does nothing to stop the “stack effect”; http://www.wag-aic.org/1999/WAG_99_baker.pdf

Ventilation is important if you have moisture problems in the attic; frost on the nails protruding from the roof, ice-dams-as said, and moisture, mold or mildew on the sheathing/insulation/framing. Even more important is air sealing; http://www.jlconline.com/cgi-local/v...170a32100a05c7

So- find the air leaks; http://www.finehomebuilding.com/PDF/Free/021105092.pdf

Air-seal them; http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...wWATQw&cad=rja

Or; http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Pr...s/Step-By-Step

Use some fiberglass batt or loose-fill in a plastic garbage bag to stuff in each stud cavity to block air flow from crawl. Can foam seal any wire/plumbing holes in framing at attic AND crawl/basement. Air-seal the rim board in crawlspace/base.; http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...-at-rim-joist/

F.g. bag in joist cavity below knee-wall, housewrap on attic side; http://www.simplesavings.coop/simple...ee%20walls.pdf

Foamboard over low-clearance rafter/plate areas to help prevent ice-dams there; http://bct.eco.umass.edu/publication...o-save-energy/

If moisture problems arise after house tightening, add gable side-attic vents for cross venting, or one of these; http://www.dciproducts.com/html/smartvent.htm
http://www.cor-a-vent.com/in-vent.cfm

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Old 12-03-2011, 09:13 PM   #11
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Actually GBR, talked to my roofing guy about those Smart-vents & In-vents, and he said that in our area they are not the best to use, due to most of the homes around here are not properly insulated to begin with, and with how bad our Winters can be at times.
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:35 PM   #12
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Agreed, notice those were my last choice after gable ends if needed at all....

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Old 12-06-2011, 06:56 AM   #13
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Ok. So I went up in the attic again and I pulled the insulation back from the sloped part of my roof and found that it is not a balloon frame after all. There is a board or a blocker on top. The next question is can I fill up the sloped part of the attic with blow in insulation?
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:32 AM   #14
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Not until you place the foam chutes in. Then also seal any gaps around plumbing, vent pipes, wiring. After all of that, then you may be ready to blow in insulation. Also make sure as noted before, to seal around outside wall outlets, switches, and around windows behind the trim, along with also doors should not have any gaps.
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:24 AM   #15
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So I still need the chutes even though there are no soffit vents? There is barely even a gap all around the roof, some places none. I just want to make sure. Thanks

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