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Old 10-19-2010, 07:11 PM   #1
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Attic Insulation Performance


Two years ago I bought a 1350 sq ft two story townhouse built in the mid 80's and the insulation only meets minimum standards for that time and the insulation has never be replaced. The whole house is stays cool in the winter but the master upstairs bedroom is between 2 - 5 degrees cooler than the rest of the house. Can you give me a best and worst case scenario about how much better the temperatures would be in the 2nd story master bedroom assuming I installed new average r value insulation? Are we talking 1 degree difference or a possible 10 degree difference in temperature?

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Old 10-19-2010, 08:05 PM   #2
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Insulation only gets replaced if damaged by moisture. As for minimum standards, who's are you going by? More info about insulation can be found at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...vement_sealing

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Old 10-19-2010, 08:13 PM   #3
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Attic Insulation Performance


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Insulation only gets replaced if damaged by moisture. As for minimum standards, who's are you going by? More info about insulation can be found at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...vement_sealing
I'm going by what I know from the rest of the house. They built everything to the minimum. There's no insulation in walls and like I said in previous sentence all the other building materials was to the minimum. I'd say there is a good chance I'm missing insulation too and have water damage. There was a hole in the roof which went all the way through the celing into the master bedroom. The bank paid the bare minimum and just had the roof and ceiling fixed. I seriously doubt they replaced insulation.
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:40 PM   #4
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Attic Insulation Performance


My house only has insulation in the attic, because it was built in the late 1930's, but it holds the heat & cool in, because it is Weather tight. That means no air leakage, double pane windows, weather stripping on the doors and door sweeps. I use the Storm Windows when I can during the Summer & Winter months, and only leave up during the mid months that the A/C & Heat are not needed.

As for Bare Minimum, again what standards are you going by, besides your thought that the minimum code was used by the builder. Builders unless they are high quality or Luxury (high end) home builders, will do anything to save money. That means going by the Energy Star requirements for your area for insulation when the home was built. Back in the early 20th Century, up until the late 80's, making a home energy efficient was unheard of.

Read through the Energy Star link I posted, and there is also quite a few links about Building Sciences on this site that help to better understand in how to make your home more efficient.
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:50 AM   #5
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My house only has insulation in the attic, because it was built in the late 1930's, but it holds the heat & cool in, because it is Weather tight. That means no air leakage, double pane windows, weather stripping on the doors and door sweeps. I use the Storm Windows when I can during the Summer & Winter months, and only leave up during the mid months that the A/C & Heat are not needed.

As for Bare Minimum, again what standards are you going by, besides your thought that the minimum code was used by the builder. Builders unless they are high quality or Luxury (high end) home builders, will do anything to save money. That means going by the Energy Star requirements for your area for insulation when the home was built. Back in the early 20th Century, up until the late 80's, making a home energy efficient was unheard of.

Read through the Energy Star link I posted, and there is also quite a few links about Building Sciences on this site that help to better understand in how to make your home more efficient.
Again I have no idea what the bare minium standards were in my area during the 1980s. So lets assume thre is no attic insulation. How much will it help?
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Old 10-23-2010, 10:14 AM   #6
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Attic Insulation Performance


Minimum standards has nothing to do with your question. What minimum standards are, is the contractor asking their self "What can I do to cut as many corners to save money, but still get by the AHJ without breaking any rules." The 80's was when contractors started to see cost savings by tightening up homes to the point that there was no heat loss, but there was no turn over of fresh vs. stale air.

What you need to do, is get in contact with your local utility company and have them do a energy audit to tell you were you can get the most bang for your buck in saving money, vs throwing it out the window for heat loss.
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:20 PM   #7
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Attic Insulation Performance


I just sent an email to my city utility company to see if they will do an energy audit. I also went back and looked at my home inspection report. The inspector wrote this about my attic insulation.
Quote:

The level of attic insulation is considered inadequate by today's standards. Installing additional insulation and
ventilation as necessary should be considered as a conservation measure and to increase the comfort level in the
house.

The loose fiberglass insulation is not spread evenly in some areas. The insulation should be distributed evenly. I

advise correction.
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:02 PM   #8
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Attic Insulation Performance


Where are you located ?
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:05 PM   #9
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Northern VA, about 35 miles out of DC.
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:11 PM   #10
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Attic Insulation Performance


The lowest Rvalue I have in a ceiling is R30 on my dormer
For most areas I have R38
Most new walls I have R19 - 6" walls
My bay window roof has R49
My 1st floor ceiling/2nd fl floor has R25
This helps keep the heat downstairs, since 2nd fl is bedrooms
And the heat will flow up the stairs

MIL's house did not have any attic insulation
I installed R19 as that is what would fit in the ceiling joists
Did not want to cover existing wires as 2nd floor may need to be rewired
She said it was a lot cooler on the 2nd floor in the summer
And much warmer in the winter

Many people recommend R60 for colder areas
Since I have mostly cathedral ceilings R38 is the best I can do
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Old 10-23-2010, 05:05 PM   #11
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Attic Insulation Performance


I'm a big fan of increasing attic insulation. But to answer your question, worst case is that adding the insulation makes no difference to the temperature variation in your house. That would be the case if your root problem is furnace airflow distribution rather than lack of insulation.
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:41 PM   #12
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Attic Insulation Performance


If your zip starts with 228 and heat with gas, you require R-49 in the attic and R-15 in the walls: http://www.ornl.gov/cgi-bin/cgiwrap?...le/ins_fact.pl

Houses lose 25% heat through the roof, 35%= walls and 25%= windows. http://www.explainthatstuff.com/heatinsulation.html

Without an energy audit with a blower door no one can tell you how much temperatures would change, even then only the percentage the improvements added to the air-tightness of the house.

I would seal the air leaks first, then insulate to your minimum depth and if enough time/money, ventilate the attic (or before insulating). This would help prevent ice-dams on the roof; then insulate the walls and new windows/storms. http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/p...ap4.cfm?attr=4


You might find some answers here: http://www.builditsolar.com/Referenc...s/HeatLoss.htm

Gary
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:41 AM   #13
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Attic Insulation Performance


I went up into my attic to take some pictures so I could post them and get a quote from contractor. The main thing I noticed was that it was warmer in the attic than in my master bedroom and the deepest layer of insulation was over the master. I'm not an expert but this leads me to believe it's not an attic insulation issue. I'm not trying to suggest more attic insulation wouldn't help but it's not the main culprit. Is my reasoning correct or am I wrong?

I'll post the pictures when I get then transferred to my pc
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:49 PM   #14
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Attic Insulation Performance


Attic spaces are always warmer. Right now, mine is 76, but outside it is 73. Inside it is 72.
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:45 PM   #15
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Attic Insulation Performance


Here are the pictures as promised.

http://home.comcast.net/~daniel_nysveen/image.jpeg

http://home.comcast.net/~daniel_nysveen/image2.jpeg

http://home.comcast.net/~daniel_nysveen/image3.jpeg

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