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Old 01-19-2014, 08:41 AM   #16
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Spray foam insulation in attic a good investment?


I rarely weigh in on these conversations because there are posters here far more knowledgeable than I am, but just my 2c worth.

Our house was cold, ridiculously cold when we bought it, oil furnace + fireplace and the last guy still put a woodburning stove in the LR cold.

I have really been concentrating on basic stuff, air sealing and insulation, FG in the attic, foamboard @ rim joists, etc., overall way less than a grand in materials so far but this goddawful-polar vortex winter so far has tested it all and it has exceeded expectations, so I know a lot can be done with a few $$$ and a lot of time and swearing.

The single best thing I did was get one of these:

http://www.harborfreight.com/non-con...9465-8905.html



Now I know the pros here laugh off cheap tools solutions but hey, I'm working with what I have. I have located serious air leaks and cold spots that I would never have found otherwise, and have a far better understanding of exactly how the heat is working in this house. You can spend a lot of money if you don't know exactly what is going on with your house, and you cannot assume it is exactly like the nextdoor neighbor's just because they were all built together. Figure out why it's cold and then act on it.

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Old 01-20-2014, 04:58 PM   #17
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Spray foam insulation in attic a good investment?


Thanks, guys, for the good advice. Esp the part about maybe there's a problem with the HVAC unit in the first place.

Turns out, there is! We had it checked out today. The control panel is receiving a "start" signal for the aux heat strips when the heat pump itself can't keep up (the outside temp got down below 10 deg last week, and we're in SC ) but the heat strip isn't starting. So the heat pump by itself was all we've had for the past two weeks or so, at least.

That's good news and bad news, I guess. The bad news is, it's broken. The good news is: it's covered by our warranty and the control panel will be replaced free; once it works right, the entire system IS sized properly, the ducts ARE well insulated, the attic IS ventilated as it should be, there ARE no outside-inside air passageways we need to be significantly worried about, and best of all, I guess, we HAVEN'T been sucking down extra kwhrs these past 2 weeks after all! Course, we've been freezing, but now at least we know why and what to do about it!

And it puts the entire issue of what kind of additional insulation to consider in the attic in a whole new light, too. We did determine that our existing blown-in insulation has settled to a point where we may not have much more than about the effect of R11, so we'll probably get more blown in, but maybe we'll stop at that point and see how we feel, now that we know the HVAC isn't working as it should.

Thanks again, all of you!

Tom in SC

ps. How many of you are old enough to recognize the title I used for this message? How many of you are willing to ADMIT you're old enough to recognize it!?

Last edited by tomseeley; 01-20-2014 at 04:59 PM. Reason: message title change
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Old 01-20-2014, 05:00 PM   #18
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Spray foam insulation in attic a good investment?


We have met the enemy and he is us!


Thanks, guys, for the good advice. Esp the part about maybe there's a problem with the HVAC unit in the first place.

Turns out, there is! We had it checked out today. The control panel is receiving a "start" signal for the aux heat strips when the heat pump itself can't keep up (the outside temp got down below 10 deg last week, and we're in SC ) but the heat strip isn't starting. So the heat pump by itself was all we've had for the past two weeks or so, at least.

That's good news and bad news, I guess. The bad news is, it's broken. The good news is: it's covered by our warranty and the control panel will be replaced free; once it works right, the entire system IS sized properly, the ducts ARE well insulated, the attic IS ventilated as it should be, there ARE no outside-inside air passageways we need to be significantly worried about, and best of all, I guess, we HAVEN'T been sucking down extra kwhrs these past 2 weeks after all! Course, we've been freezing, but now at least we know why and what to do about it!

And it puts the entire issue of what kind of additional insulation to consider in the attic in a whole new light, too. We did determine that our existing blown-in insulation has settled to a point where we may not have much more than about the effect of R11, so we'll probably get more blown in, but maybe we'll stop at that point and see how we feel, now that we know the HVAC isn't working as it should.

Thanks again, all of you!

Tom in SC

ps. I tried to call this reply We have met the enemy and he is us! but I'm not sure it shows up that way on the forum. Assuming it does, how many of you are old enough to recognize the title I used for this message? How many of you are willing to ADMIT you're old enough to recognize it!?

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