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ex-Khobar Andy 03-09-2008 11:30 PM

Attic insulation question
I have had a builder around to give me an energy audit of the house. I am in the Buffalo area so it gets cold sometimes. I already have 16 inches of fiberglass attic insulation (between the beams as put in originally, plus another 8 inches rolled out perpendicular to the beams). He is suggesting. among other things, spending $2500 on additional attic blow-in insuation. This sounds (a) expensive and (b) unlikely to give much of a return. Additionally, if it's just blown in, how do you make sure that there is sufficient air flow from the soffits? It's a 1800 sf two story rectangular house built in the mid 70s. My guess is that the wall isulation is not all it could be, and he has quoted me $3900 to do that (again, blown in) which is probably reasonable, but if anyone thinks it's excessive I'd be interested in your comments.

jaw22 03-10-2008 02:58 AM

Oh Man! First off find an actual real energy rater who isnt trying to upsell you something based on what he finds in your house. Definitely not a builder. If you really do have 24 inches of batts in the attic (overkill anyways) and he still wants to blow more up there (how many inches) for $2500, he is trying to take advantage of your relative lack of knowledge. If the batts are in good shape you should have R77 up there right now lol. In your area only R38-48 is whats recommended and there would be NO payback on adding more. You say you 'guess' the wall insulation isnt great--did he actually check in multple places?? The price he quoted for the walls actully sounds reasonable as it can be alot of work, but i really wouldnt trust that guy to do a good job since what he said about the attic. Did he do a blower door test on your house?
If the attic is that well insulated and you are still having comfort probs with a high gas bill (its 2500 a yr right?) then you need to find an actual rater to see whats wrong. You might have many attic bypasses and insufficient airsealing besides the wall insulation that can be alot cheaper (manytimes less than $500) to fix. Your hvac system maybe could use an upgrade if really old. Also stay away from window salesmen for a while as i see in your other thread you are still getting quotes, despite advice on the likely low energy savings and long payback. If i were you I'd step back, get a real rater selling nothing but the audit. Also I'd do some serious googling and reading. I would also goto the library and get a book "Insulate and Weatherize" by taunton books. You need it and you wont be sorry you read it when done.
Oh and people but styrofoam baffles in the rafters at the eves to keep the soffit vents open. Really cheap at lowes an HD.

ex-Khobar Andy 03-10-2008 09:41 PM

Thanks for the advice , Jaw. I really do need windows because they are original single pane with triple track storm/screens. So he has quoted me about $500 per window for what is, apparently, a decent Energy Star rated product. That seems OK as I plan to sell the house in a couple of years and although they may not be gold standard, they should be good enough and certainly better than what I have. I share your view that the additional attic insulation is overkill. As you say, it would have been better to find an energy audotor who was not trying to sell me something.

While I am at it, a clarification of my original post: I have a total 16" in the attic: 8" between the beams and another 8" rolled perpendicular to the beams. That should be R40 or more.

jaw22 03-10-2008 09:57 PM

OK that sounds more like it on the attic insulation. For the windows get them if you want to spend the money but just dont expect to see any real energy savings at all. Your money could be better spent elsewhere IMO by sealing and weatherstipping and doing all the cheaper stuff first under the direction of a real energy auditor.

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