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Old 01-26-2012, 07:12 PM   #1
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some questions about recent visit with energy audit guy


The energy audit guy came to give me some advice on making my living space more efficient. Im not real convinced he knows what he's talking about. My house has lath and plaster with sheetrock over it and I asked him about blowing insulation in the exterior walls and the fact there wouldn't be a vapor berrier. He said the lath and plaster would be the vapor barrier since there is sheetrock over it. Then in the attic the ceiling or floor of attic has R 30 batts covering the whole floor of attic. All of the batts have the paper face up, he said the paper is supposed to be face down. He was also talking about blowing in some insulation in, which there is some in between the ceiling joists. I picked some up and said like this stuff and he tried to tell me that it was saw dust. So if someone could confirm some of the things he said were true.

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Old 01-27-2012, 08:57 AM   #2
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some questions about recent visit with energy audit guy


Where in Kansas do you live?

You don't require a Vapor Barrier in the commonly understood version of it.

What is the exterior of the home (brick, siding, stucco, wood, etc)? Depending on the exterior, that will likely dictate what class of vapor retarder you need to the interior.

He is probably right although he may have had a bit of problem explaining his point. The painted drywall is actually the vapor retarder layer (class III) in this case. Between the painted drywall over the painted plaster, that is probably all the vapor retarder you need in this case.

For additional moisture control, make sure the penetrations in the wall system are sealed up tight (i.e. around outlets, baseboards, etc)

Kraft paper, if used at all, would be face down to the warm side of the ceiling as he said.

I don't like the Kraft paper regardless and if he showed you cellulose insulation (that is what it sounds like), that is preferable over fiberglass.

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Old 01-27-2012, 10:19 AM   #3
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I agree with WoW, it does not sound like he is off-base.
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:24 AM   #4
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I have aluminum siding on the outside of house with some shingles under that. The house wa built in 1905. I read that alot of older houses that had insulation blown in didn't have a vapor barrier and the insulation would most likely get moisture and start to mold. Wasn't sure if that would be the case here. I live in Osawatomie,KS.
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Old 01-27-2012, 11:45 AM   #5
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some questions about recent visit with energy audit guy


Given the asphalt layer prior to the siding, I would not change the vapor retarder from where it is right now for fear of interrupting the ability to dry to the interior.

Also, dense packing cellulose is something that should be considered very carefully with the stacked exterior cladding you have as well.

You are loosing more heat to air loss and improper attic insulation as compared to your walls in most peoples cases. Fix that first and go from there.
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:53 PM   #6
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He noticed lots of holes from where wires and gas lines were ran down through the walls and said all the cold air in the attic was going down in to the walls. I have some expanding foam in a can that I can fill those with. Thanks for all the help, you can never be too sure if someone is going to try and rip you off.
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Old 01-27-2012, 03:32 PM   #7
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Air sealing the attic is pivotal in any retrofit.
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:39 PM   #8
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"My house has lath and plaster with sheetrock over it and I asked him about blowing insulation in the exterior walls and the fact there wouldn't be a vapor berrier. He said the lath and plaster would be the vapor barrier since there is sheetrock over it. ------

Yes, the two layers of paint (one on the plaster, one on the drywall) as WW said. The plaster and lath has a perm rating of 11, from a good source, LOL- post #6: adding attic insulation to an old house
Though the site has been deleted since. You don't need a vapor barrier/retarder with cellulose: http://www.applegateinsulation.com/C...id=249418&fd=0

As WW said, be careful about blowing cellulose in the walls, with your metal and shingles (wood or asbestos) you will be at risk- especially if asphalt shingles-- it has to breathe:http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...oss-enclosures

"Then in the attic the ceiling or floor of attic has R 30 batts covering the whole floor of attic. All of the batts have the paper face up, he said the paper is supposed to be face down." -----
Correct.

"He was also talking about blowing in some insulation in, which there is some in between the ceiling joists. I picked some up and said like this stuff and he tried to tell me that it was saw dust."-----
Probably was, it was popular to use wood shavings, sawdust from local mills for ceiling/wall insulation of that time period.

"He noticed lots of holes from where wires and gas lines were ran down through the walls and said all the cold air in the attic was going down in to the walls."---- Actually, the warm air from the crawl comes up these holes due to forced (mechanical) and natural pressure differences: http://www.wag-aic.org/1999/WAG_99_baker.pdf

Air seal the crawl/basement as well. Might as well do the rims while there: http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...l_seal_rev.pdf

You don’t need a vapor retarder/barrier at all for your location, Zone 4: http://publicecodes.citation.com/ico...001_par003.htm

http://publicecodes.citation.com/ico...001_par001.htm

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Old 01-30-2012, 12:15 PM   #9
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some questions about recent visit with energy audit guy


I just had an energy audit done, and noticed to take everything the guy says with a grain of salt. Almost all of them doing energy audits also run an insulation or contracting business in conjunction with it.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt151617 View Post
I just had an energy audit done, and noticed to take everything the guy says with a grain of salt. Almost all of them doing energy audits also run an insulation or contracting business in conjunction with it.
Usually true or they are partnered with an insulation company.

You are not going to make much of a living just selling audits unless you are doing a whole bunch of them.

Blower door numbers and building observations are not usually faked though. You either trust the contractor and his assessment or you don't.

If you called a roofer for an inspection and he said the roof needed to be replaced, would you suspect him of being dishonest in that case?
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:51 PM   #11
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The guy quoted me $600 to turn all the batts over and to blow in fiberglass insulation, I told him I rather have cellulose and he said same price.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:29 AM   #12
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Sounds like very fair price.

Go with the cellulose.
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:22 AM   #13
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Also I have central air and heat and the electric furnace is in the attic and all of the duct work is in the ceiling. Well its too small to heat or cool the house. The audit guy said after I get the crawl space and attic insulated I might be able to use the air and heat. The duct work in the attic is insulated flexible duct. My question is since he is only insulating the floor of the attic and everything thats above the insulation in the attic is exposed to the hot or cold air and the duct work is above the insulation wont the ac or furnace have to work harder to heat or cool the house or is the duct work insulated enough not to be affected by the surrounding air.

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Old 02-05-2012, 11:29 PM   #14
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Depends on your annual cooling degree days (CDD) and your location in Kansas: http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...on?full_view=1 as to which attic system- vented or unvented.

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Old 02-12-2012, 10:27 AM   #15
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To do the crawl space, they said they would spray foam the crawl space walls and the rim joists. So that's suppose to keep the cold air from getting under the house? They said it would be $1000.

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