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sweets 09-03-2011 05:24 AM

Home Energy Audit & Spray Foam Insulation
Recently we had a free Home Energy Audit courtesy of our utility company and paid for by The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the auditor who owns a green insulation company, did the blower door test and chjecked the insulation in the attic, as well as looking for other signs of energy waste in the boiler, hot water heater, and appliances. The blower test did not reveal any great leaks, but he did recommend to spray foam insulation throughout the attic, particularly around the registers where the air conditioning ducts are, "there is alot of loss around the holes cut for the registers and also in the space above the kitchen cabinets", he said. He also wants to spray foam insulation in the basement below the bathtub, around the hole in the chimney, and around the pipes for the plumbing fixtures, all around the attic ceiling.
My questions are 1) can I expect to see lower energy costs due to his efforts or is he just profitting by doing the job?
2) I dont really see the need to insulate and spray foam anywhere in the basement, seeing as the temperature really never changes much down there, and if you spray around the PVC plumbing, what if there's a leak in years to come, doesn't this complicate doing plumbing work?
The house was built in 1983, has layered insulation in the attic, and is in one of the retirement developments in Central New Jersey.
Please address both questions in your response and thanks much.

beenthere 09-03-2011 10:25 AM


The blower test did not reveal any great leaks, but he did recommend to spray foam insulation throughout the attic,
Was it his words, or your words that it revealed no great leaks?

Sealing the PVC with caulk is better then spray foam. Its also better to us caulk on the register penetrations. Unless your doing the whole attic floor.

He may be recommending this spray work to just make money, since he is probably doing the audit at a low price to stay in the program.

MLMIB 09-03-2011 08:19 PM

1) did he show you the thermal camera? if you saw leaks then yes it will help. I certainly can't venture a guess on what the pay back period is but it also helps with quality of life (less drafts)

2) the basement is cold in the winter, so it'll help to keep it insulated. Yes it'd make a leak harder to fix, but you can always get those insulated sleeves at the big box stores to insulate plumbing.

Msradell 09-03-2011 09:49 PM

One place the spray foam will really help in the basement is in the rim joists!

Gary in WA 09-03-2011 10:57 PM

I merged your identical posts. Please post same question in one forum, thank you.


Windows on Wash 09-07-2011 10:23 AM

You need to think of the spray foam as an air sealant and less as an insulator. That is what its primary purpose in this application is.

Caulk is not necessarily preferable to foam in this application. Spray foam allow for much larger coverage areas and also blows the dirt away from the surface it is intended to seal at the time of its application. It usually allows for a better bond than a caulked down bead.

While spray foam is more expensive than caulk per applied linear foot, it does speed up the process and lessens overall labor costs. When you are in a hot attic, you need to be wise with your time spent.

Mrdippy 09-07-2011 09:47 PM

Spray foam as said seals and insulates so it is better than traditional pink stuff.... that is what the hvac classes teach/preach. Also I was amazed how my parents basement feels warmer than their ground level kitchen just from insulated foam board around it....your mileage may vary

Gary in WA 09-08-2011 10:45 PM

1. Yes.

2. He is smart to air-seal the rims (as another post said) because the 1-1/2" of wood has about R-1.5;
AND it will stop any "stack effect" from the basement to the attic due to pressure/temperature differences;


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