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Old 11-03-2011, 12:32 PM   #31
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Master Bedroom very warm


So I got a home thermal inspection done on Tuesday to take a look at these temperature balancing issues. The inspector said that the insulation in my house wasn't done well at all. The home was built in 2007 and the builder didn't cut corners with the home (we've had only very minor issues up to now) but I guess he hired a poor insulation guy. The inspector said that the master bedroom is facing south which is why it gets warmer and my daughter's room is a cathedral ceiling which is more difficult to insulate in the first place. I pasted his summary below, but he essentially said I should bring in a good insulation person to review and likely have the attic spray foam insulated with icynene. He thinks this would greatly help with the balancing issues. Thoughts?

From the summary:
Inspection Items
5.0 INSULATION AND VAPOR RETARDERS (in unfinished spaces) - Inspect and Describe
Comments: Inspected
The attic areas was insulated with approximately 2" of batt fiberglass insulation of blown-in fiberglass insulation, with a Kraft paper vapor barrier, covered with blown in insulation varying at depth from 2" to 1 1/2'. The R value was measured at approximately R 21 but varied greatly. The rim joists in the basement were insulated with fiberglass batts. The insulation of the walls was estimated to be approximately R 14.
The attic insulation was improperly installed as the vapor barrier was secured to the side, rather than the face, of the ceiling joists ( Picture 1 ) and the batt insulation was too thin. The blown insulation was thin and, in some areas, missing. The 2nd recessed lighting fixtures were no sealed against air and moisture intrusion.
Thermal imaging of the ceiling revealed many areas of compromised insulation, such as in the northeast corner of the master bedroom ( Picture 2, 3 ) and in the northwest corner bedroom
( Picture 4, 5 ). There were also multiple areas of missing insulation at the exterior ceiling / wall interfaces ( Picture 5, 6 ). It should be noted that the temperature differences in these areas are as high as 6 degrees F.
Some of the exterior wall areas, particularly in the northwest corner of the 1st floor, displayed a great amount of cold air infiltration, particularly at the exterior wall receptacle boxes ( Picture 7, 8 ). There were also areas of the ductwork that displayed heat loss due to the lack of duct sealing ( Picture 9, 10 ) as well as around the unsealed recessed light fixtures ( Picture 11, 12 ).
It should be remembered that rooms can be cold not only because of improper insulation, but also from cold drafts of outside air at wall openings like electrical receptacles and light fixtures.
5.1 INSULATION AND VAPOR RETARDERS (in unfinished spaces) - Findings
Comments: Inspected, Repair or Replace
1) RR - Recommend that the ceiling / attic area be evaluated and re-insulated by a professional
insulation company.
2) RR - Recommend that all air leaking wall penetrations be properly sealed against cold air intrusion.

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Old 11-03-2011, 04:15 PM   #32
how
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Master Bedroom very warm


Weird problem????
You've probably already thought of this but I'm wondering if you have a tiled floor in the master bathroom (because you have no heating register in the bathroom) and if you have electric heating elements in that floor. Is that floor always warm to the tootsies?

Never mind.. Your thermal inspection slipped in before I posted this bit of whimsey. A thermal inspection (if it was done inside) would have picked up a heated master bathroom floor.

Last edited by how; 11-03-2011 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 11-03-2011, 05:54 PM   #33
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Master Bedroom very warm


It sounds like several issues that need to be addressed. Spray foam in the attic is not a bad idea, but it will no doubt be pretty costly. Do you consider yourself much of a DIYer? I am guessing you do since you're on this forum, but I probably shouldn't jump too quickly to that conclusion. My auditor also recommended a spray foam professional, but being an avid DIYer I came up with an effective way to end up with the same place but at a MUCH lower cost. I told him that I had to convince my wife to pay him to come out, only if I did the interventions myself. Honestly, my method may even be a slightly better way of doing it. If you really would rather DIY it, I can post come pics of some things that I did.

So, just to clarify...you have the drywall of your ceiling, then 2" fiberglass batts, then blown-in insulation on top of that? I have not seen 2" fiberglass batts, but I confess I don't know every product that exists. Is the blown-in insulation fiberglass or cellulose?

Out of curiosity, do you feel like the "inspection/audit" was worth the investment?
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:54 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmachn View Post
It sounds like several issues that need to be addressed. Spray foam in the attic is not a bad idea, but it will no doubt be pretty costly. Do you consider yourself much of a DIYer? I am guessing you do since you're on this forum, but I probably shouldn't jump too quickly to that conclusion. My auditor also recommended a spray foam professional, but being an avid DIYer I came up with an effective way to end up with the same place but at a MUCH lower cost. I told him that I had to convince my wife to pay him to come out, only if I did the interventions myself. Honestly, my method may even be a slightly better way of doing it. If you really would rather DIY it, I can post come pics of some things that I did.

So, just to clarify...you have the drywall of your ceiling, then 2" fiberglass batts, then blown-in insulation on top of that? I have not seen 2" fiberglass batts, but I confess I don't know every product that exists. Is the blown-in insulation fiberglass or cellulose?

Out of curiosity, do you feel like the "inspection/audit" was worth the investment?
I have blown in fiberglass in the attic.

It's hard for me to say if I think the audit was worth the cost. He really focused on the poor job of insulation and I can't tell if that is solely b/c it is fiberglass and not foam, or b/c it was really done poorly. He said that he didn't even know if the foam could be applied to the cathedral ceiling (I guess b/c of space) but still recommended it. That is hard for me to grasp as it would mean more insulation in the areas that already are too warm. He pointed out a lot of areas where I'm losing heat (weaknesses in the insulation) but I really don't have much to compare it to. In the end I just can go by his evaluation. I guess I really wish I did this before I bought the home. It is an upscale luxury home that was new construction when I bought it 3.5 years ago. I'd be very curious to hear the builder's response to some of this.

I'm not a DIYer so it would mean bringing in a pro to do the foam which the inspector guessed would cost between $4-5k. I think zoning out the upstairs heat would be similar so I would be willing to do the attic insulation if it would solve my problem as it would be more efficient than zoning out the heat. That being said, there is no guarantee that the insulation would solve the problem which the zoning out will. I'm just really hoping not to do the insulation and then afterwards still zone out the upstairs.
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:42 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ks-man View Post
I have blown in fiberglass in the attic.

It's hard for me to say if I think the audit was worth the cost. He really focused on the poor job of insulation and I can't tell if that is solely b/c it is fiberglass and not foam, or b/c it was really done poorly. He said that he didn't even know if the foam could be applied to the cathedral ceiling (I guess b/c of space) but still recommended it. That is hard for me to grasp as it would mean more insulation in the areas that already are too warm. He pointed out a lot of areas where I'm losing heat (weaknesses in the insulation) but I really don't have much to compare it to. In the end I just can go by his evaluation. I guess I really wish I did this before I bought the home. It is an upscale luxury home that was new construction when I bought it 3.5 years ago. I'd be very curious to hear the builder's response to some of this.



I'm not a DIYer so it would mean bringing in a pro to do the foam which the inspector guessed would cost between $4-5k. I think zoning out the upstairs heat would be similar so I would be willing to do the attic insulation if it would solve my problem as it would be more efficient than zoning out the heat. That being said, there is no guarantee that the insulation would solve the problem which the zoning out will. I'm just really hoping not to do the insulation and then afterwards still zone out the upstairs.
Spray foam insulation is not the only way to go. An insulation professional could recommend spray foam, but you really should only need 1-2 inches. That pretty much seals up the air leaks and then you could add blown-in fiberglass or cellulose on top of that to add to the R-value. For cost, professional may even recommend just sealing the air leaks (around the recessed lights, electrical boxes, etc.) and then do blown-in on top of that. Spray foam in the attic doesn't provide a whole lot of benefit, other than the air seal. If you seal up those leakage spots, blown-in that is done to an effective R-value for your climate, and consistent across the attic floor, is just as effective as spray foam. Unless you're considering spray foaming the attic roof, which is something else entirely. I am guessing he is not recommending that. It seems like professional insulation guys have their thing, though. Some are "spray foam guys" and others may push "dense-packed cellulose" or whatever. When you get an estimate, find out how much just to attic seal and blow-in to about R-45 (or whatever is recommended for your climate). That may be half the cost of spray foam. Try to get estimates for several options. They may push spray foam, but be willing to do something else (that is just as effective for you) so they do not lose the business.

One thing to keep in mind is that adding insulation doesn't necessarily mean keeping heat in for an area that is already too warm. If that heat is coming from an attic that has been super-heated by the sun, then adding insulation between the room and the attic will keep the room from getting hotter. Are you still having moderate weather, or has it cooled to winter temps yet? If it is still moderate, you may want to try sticking a digital thermometer up there and leave it up there a few days, especially on days when you notice that room is hot. Some digital ones will store the max and minimum temps, and the max would tell you how hot it gets. If the attic is getting to 90 or 100 degrees when it is 55-65 outside, then it makes sense to insulate to keep from getting all that extra heat in that space. If that room is on the southeast corner though, it will get some sun on the walls no matter what. Insulating the attic is not going to help the situation in that case. Personally, I think getting adequate insulation is always a good idea. It helps reduce how much energy is used to heat/cool the space. But in your case, will it solve the problem? Only if the attic is getting significantly hotter on those days when you notice the problems. Either way, it sounds like insulating your daughter's room (that was the one with the cathedral ceilings, right) is going to add to that comfort level.

On a side note, you mentioned that you don't have the problem when the heat/AC is running. That tells me that the heat/AC is matched to the load of the room, currently. If you decide to fix the insulation problem, it might be oversized which means it could REALLY overcool the room in the summer and overheat in the winter if it is not zoned. To end up where you want to be, you may end up having to insulate and then zone it down the road. That may be the most cost effective and comfortable in the long run. I'm in a similar situation, so I know how much it sucks. I just keep thinking how much time, effort and money could have been saved if they had done it RIGHT the first time.


Last edited by kmachn; 11-03-2011 at 10:49 PM.
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