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Old 11-02-2011, 08:16 AM   #1
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I want more storage in the attic, have loose insulation, is it good? Flooring over?


I'm in NJ, and we have a 1300 sq ft. ranch. It was built around the late 60's (I think), and has loose insulation in the attic.

Our heating bills are rather high, as we have baseboard electric heat, sometimes getting up to $500 a month. When it snows, there are no melted spots (is that a myth that it's an indicator of poor insulation?), the snow stays uniform on the roof.

Is the loose insulation as good as the new products that are out? I haven't measured the depth, but it is above the joists. In doing preliminary reading, it seems that we'd need much more to hit the recommended r-38 for our area. I wouldn't be averse to renting the machine, sucking out the old insulation and replacing with a new product. Also, our house is super dusty, I'm wondering if some of that dirty old insulation is making it's way into our living spaces.

Lastly, we need more storage space. We only have about 10 sq ft. up there to use. I realize that compressing the insulation reduces r-value, so what would be the best way of both increasing the r-value, and adding floor space? Do I need to extend the joists in some fashion?

With the expense of heating, and paying for a storage unit, I think we are being penny-wise and pound-foolish. We don't have a basement for storage, and the garage is full of tools, car parts, etc. We have very limited closet space as well. I know we surely could get rid of some stuff, but we do intend to move if this market ever rallies, and it would cost more to replace the stuff we have than I think we could save with better insulation up there. Besides, we still have no place for the items we'd retain, from seasonal decorations to seasonal clothing, etc. etc.

While the initial cash outlay might be large, I think we could be saving a good deal of money in the long run by reworking the attic. Where do we start? What info did I leave out that is critical in the decision making process?

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Old 11-02-2011, 09:43 AM   #2
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I want more storage in the attic, have loose insulation, is it good? Flooring over?


Patchy melted snow is more an indication of bulk air loss.

You could still be losing quite a bit of heat and just melt the snow uniformly.

Easy way to get more depth for proper insulation is to just create another floor perpendicular to your existing joists and cover that.

That will allow you to get the proper 15" or so of insulation up there and have the R-50 that is recommended for this/your area.

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Old 11-02-2011, 11:22 AM   #3
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I want more storage in the attic, have loose insulation, is it good? Flooring over?


Quote:
Originally Posted by kaitala View Post
Our heating bills are rather high, as we have baseboard electric heat, sometimes getting up to $500 a month. When it snows, there are no melted spots (is that a myth that it's an indicator of poor insulation?), the snow stays uniform on the roof.
I'm no expert, but my understanding is the rule of thumb is to compare your snowy roof to others in the neighborhood that face the same direction. The ones that melt first have the poorest insulation.

Electric baseboard heat is expensive, is this your only heat source? In NJ I would be looking at other alternatives.

First thing I would do in your shoes is contact my electric company. Many have free or low cost energy audits that can find out more specifically where you are losing heat and where your dollars are best spent. I know in our house our wood burning fireplace was essentially a big hole in the wall draining heat from our living room. Our heating bills went down dramatically once we addressed it.

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Old 11-02-2011, 11:34 AM   #4
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I want more storage in the attic, have loose insulation, is it good? Flooring over?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Windows on Wash View Post
Patchy melted snow is more an indication of bulk air loss.

You could still be losing quite a bit of heat and just melt the snow uniformly.

Easy way to get more depth for proper insulation is to just create another floor perpendicular to your existing joists and cover that.

That will allow you to get the proper 15" or so of insulation up there and have the R-50 that is recommended for this/your area.
I will second that idea.

Andy.
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:25 PM   #5
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I want more storage in the attic, have loose insulation, is it good? Flooring over?


Thanks so much for the quick replies!

I'll have to look into the perpendicular floor idea, measure the depth we currently have up there, etc. While I did heavy construction (roads/bridges) for some years, I never did buildings/homes. I'll poke around for more in-depth how to's on that, and if anyone has any links, please feel free to share.

Any other input is greatly appreciated, and thanks again for the replies!
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:28 PM   #6
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I want more storage in the attic, have loose insulation, is it good? Flooring over?


"if anyone has any links, please feel free to share."------ http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...O842EQ&cad=rja

http://www.wag-aic.org/1999/WAG_99_baker.pdf

http://bct.nrc.umass.edu/index.php/p...ting-ice-dams/

Run the joist parallel with the existing, shimmed up 1/2" at the bearing walls. This will not add more load to the existing joists, possibly sized for ceiling loads only. What, exactly, do you mean by "reworking the attic"?

If for storage space, there are certain requirements: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...1txlzU01V4JQIg

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Old 11-04-2011, 08:56 AM   #7
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I want more storage in the attic, have loose insulation, is it good? Flooring over?


Thanks for those links. The evidence of air exfiltration by the dirty insulation around the electrical box was one of those "duh" moments. I have to get up in there and check around, with the loose stuff, it looks dirty already, but I hope it's extra dirty if there's exfiltration. I like how the article explained the infiltration/exfiltration and negative/positive pressure.

What I mean about "reworking" (bad choice of word I guess) is that I think we'd benefit from more insulation, as well as we need more storage.

Now, I can read plans, but I was never involved in the design of plans. Do you have link that will explain about the structural requirements to ensure that the existing attic construction can handle the storage requirement of 20 pounds load, and possible fixes if it were designed for only the without storage 10 pound load?

I'll check out the online resources found at the end of the articles, but if you have another "go-to" site, I'd appreciate it. And I'll browse around the other forum areas for info.

Thank you so much for you input, I really appreciate everything!

Last edited by kaitala; 11-04-2011 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:11 PM   #8
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I want more storage in the attic, have loose insulation, is it good? Flooring over?


http://publicecodes.citation.com/ico...002_par023.htm

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