Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Insulation

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-27-2013, 11:18 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 19
Share |
Default

Insulation issue?


We've recently moved to our new townhouse in MA, and it is a second month in a row we're shocked by our electricity bills. We have electric heat pump, it almost never operatres in aux mode (with electric strips), but our bills are close to $700/month (4500kWh). Essentially, to maintain 68F inside temperature, our heat pump has to work almost non-stop, though outside temperature is 32F(night)-40F(day). When heater is off, the temperature drops pretty quickly.

We're suspecting that there is something wrong with insulation. Townhouse was built in 1977, it is end unit (three exterior walls), nobody above and below us (we have two floors+walk-out finished basement=attic). We have double-pane aluminium sliding windows, as well as aluminium sliding doors to the patio and to the deck. During colder days windows, especially frames, are rather cold, and we easily (by our hands) feel cold air flow somewhere between frames and sash and somewhere between frames and walls. Before doing anything, I'm wondering what would be more cost-efficient, at least on a medium-term (5-7 years). Does it worth trying caulking/weatherstripping? Or, perhaps, it may solve all the problems? Or I have to invest in reinstalling the frames? Or replace windows entirely, to, say, thermally-broken aluminium ones? Or any other ones (say, combined)? I have a condominium restriction here that new windows have to look like current (aluminium) ones.

Also, walls can be rather cold sometimes. Can it be because of poor windows insulation or I have to consider walls insulation as well? Construction is frame, with brick exterior.

Any suggestion is highly appreciated! We really can't afford $700 monthly electric bills during winter (and possibly during summer).

mzaslavsky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 09:37 AM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Hartfield VA
Posts: 26,248
Default

Insulation issue?


http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...sulation_table

Cheap contractor grade aluminum windows and doors may not have a thermal break built into the frames so all the cold or heat just transfers into the home.

Sliders are always a great big air leak waiting to happen.

Consider buy some of those heat shrink plastic window covers, add foam seals to the outlets and switches.

Air seal the attic, which means using expanding foam to seal any place the wiring plumbing, or ceiling fixtures were ran.

joecaption is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 09:45 AM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Southeastern MA
Posts: 1,375
Default

Insulation issue?


In addition to Joe's suggestions, I would start with your attic insulation. See how much is up there. Adding blown in insulation is relatively inexpensive.
djlandkpl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 09:50 AM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Hartfield VA
Posts: 26,248
Default

Insulation issue?


If you buy at least 10 bags Lowes or HD will let you use there blower for free.
joecaption is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 10:46 AM   #5
Home Performance
 
HomeSealed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Milwaukee,WI
Posts: 1,430
Default

Insulation issue?


Thermally broken or not, aluminum windows just aren't a good choice in colder climates. Eventually you'll want to replace those with vinyl, wood, fiberglass, or composite.
If you are looking for "bang for the buck", my recommendation would be to get a home energy audit. You'll get a comprehensive list of where your problem areas are, as well as what type of return you can expect in improved efficiency... and don't confuse a certified energy audit with some of these jokers running around doing "energy analysis". A real audit will consist of a blower door test, thermal cam analysis, safety checks on combustion appliances, computer modeling to determine potential savings, and then a post test afterward to make sure that the work was done right. Many states and municipalities have incentives for both the audits and/or the weatherization work. Even if you don't have such a program, you'll pay a few hundred bucks for invaluable info on the performance of your home.
__________________
Replacement Windows, doors, siding, roofing, insulation, and certified energy consulting.
www.HomeSealed.com
HomeSealed is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to HomeSealed For This Useful Post:
joecaption (02-28-2013)
Old 03-02-2013, 11:42 AM   #6
Member
 
Dave Sal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Posts: 272
Default

Insulation issue?


When I bought my home many years ago I was kind of shocked at the high heating bills during the winter months. The following fall I decided to add additional insulation in the attic so I added R-19 fiberglass insulation rolled across the rafters. My gas bill dropped in half the next year.

Last edited by Dave Sal; 03-02-2013 at 12:08 PM.
Dave Sal is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Dave Sal For This Useful Post:
creeper (03-02-2013)
Old 03-02-2013, 11:58 AM   #7
Home Performance
 
HomeSealed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Milwaukee,WI
Posts: 1,430
Default

Insulation issue?


Improving your attic insulation to the appropriate levels is easily one of, if not the best "bang for the buck" that you can get in terms of energy efficiency.
If you are going to do it though, do it right. Research the appropriate materials, make sure that your ventilation is adequate, AIR-SEAL, etc. Cutting energy usage in half is highly uncommon, but there is certainly significant gain to be had.
__________________
Replacement Windows, doors, siding, roofing, insulation, and certified energy consulting.
www.HomeSealed.com
HomeSealed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2013, 09:38 AM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far sw sub chicago
Posts: 3,674
Default

Insulation issue?


Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeSealed View Post
Improving your attic insulation to the appropriate levels is easily one of, if not the best "bang for the buck" that you can get in terms of energy efficiency.


Cutting energy usage in half is highly uncommon, but there is certainly significant gain to be had.
i kind of disagree with that. depending on the situation, air sealing is the "bang for buck. then insulation.

idk what the PO's actually had for a gas bill. they told me "a very affordable $100 a month, all year, plan" , and i bet it was higher. just the work i have done so far, about 1/4 of the total plan, we are just over $100 a month in the dead of winter.
Fix'n it is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2013, 09:40 AM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far sw sub chicago
Posts: 3,674
Default

Insulation issue?


oh. and it is a very comfortable 73 in here. AND i plan to cut that bill in half, at least, with the finish of the work.
Fix'n it is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2013, 01:33 PM   #10
Home Performance
 
HomeSealed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Milwaukee,WI
Posts: 1,430
Default

Insulation issue?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fix'n it View Post
i kind of disagree with that. depending on the situation, air sealing is the "bang for buck. then insulation.

idk what the PO's actually had for a gas bill. they told me "a very affordable $100 a month, all year, plan" , and i bet it was higher. just the work i have done so far, about 1/4 of the total plan, we are just over $100 a month in the dead of winter.
My point was that it should be done in tandem, along with insuring proper ventilation as well... But yes, air sealing is a VERY important component.
The reason that I suggested an energy audit, is that it will take a reading on the "tightness" of the home before and after the installed measures. The reason this is important is that in some cases, when a home is very well sealed, mechanical ventilation in the form of a constant run exhaust fan (or worse) can be necessary to prevent excessive moisture in the home. Even worse, if the home has any naturally drafting appliances such as a furnace or water heater, there could be serious safety concerns due to back drafting.

__________________
Replacement Windows, doors, siding, roofing, insulation, and certified energy consulting.
www.HomeSealed.com
HomeSealed is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Insulating your attic Bob Mariani How To Guides 5 07-07-2013 08:49 PM
Basement Ext Wall - Will Rigid Insulation allow my wall to dry inward? COLORADOMTNMAN Insulation 10 01-15-2012 10:09 PM
Reusing Deteriorated Insulation a_lost_shadow Insulation 2 12-18-2011 04:27 PM
Yes, Another Basement Insulation Question Beepster Insulation 7 11-30-2011 06:30 PM
Fixing multiple attic electrical issues before blowing in insulation darlingm Electrical 11 11-19-2011 09:19 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.