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Old 05-08-2013, 09:11 AM   #1
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House Retaining Heat


The other day the temp outside got up to about 72*. I get home about 5 pm and the temp on the thermostat read 82*. Later that evening the temp outside had dropped down to about 60* and the inside temp was showing 80*.

Obviously the basement was nice and cool but since it isn't finished yet it wasn't really a viable place to hang out.

My house is an 1100 sq foot ranch style home built in 1962. No central air. Forced air gas furnace.

Any thoughts on why this place is retaining so much heat?

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Old 05-08-2013, 03:14 PM   #2
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House Retaining Heat


Is the attic insulated and vented?

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Old 05-08-2013, 03:14 PM   #3
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House Retaining Heat


I was going to open up a small section of wall to see what insulation is in there. Its a brick ranch so I'm wondering if there is any insulation at all in there.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:15 PM   #4
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House Retaining Heat


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Is the attic vented?
I have 4 ridge vents and soffit vents. So I'm assuming that the air is moving.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:33 PM   #5
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House Retaining Heat


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I have 4 ridge vents and soffit vents. So I'm assuming that the air is moving.
I am in the middle of this right now myself with my 1978 house.

Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but a ridge vent is continuous. It sounds to me like you have traditional roof vents, which don't move nearly as much air.

You see soffit vents from below? What if they are blocked? You're supposed to have baffles installed in the attic that prevent the soffits from being blocked by insulation or anything else and provide a channel of air from the soffit to the ridge vent.

If you have soffit vents and a ridge vent, all other vents (gable or roof) need to be closed because they stop the normal flow of air from the soffit to the ridge.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:38 PM   #6
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House Retaining Heat


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I am in the middle of this right now myself with my 1978 house.

Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but a ridge vent is continuous. It sounds to me like you have traditional roof vents, which don't move nearly as much air.

You see soffit vents from below? What if they are blocked? You're supposed to have baffles installed in the attic that prevent the soffits from being blocked by insulation or anything else and provide a channel of air from the soffit to the ridge vent.

If you have soffit vents and a ridge vent, all other vents (gable or roof) need to be closed because they stop the normal flow of air from the soffit to the ridge.
Yeah my fault. You'd think I didn't know the difference! I have passive roof vents that are approx 6" diameter and are located right at the ridge. They have a birdscreen and cover.

I have sections of my soffit panel that are perferated. I haven't checked to see if they are blocked. I also haven't checked to see if I have baffles installed. That should be my next step I suppose.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:42 PM   #7
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House Retaining Heat


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Yeah my fault. You'd think I didn't know the difference! I have passive roof vents that are approx 6" diameter and are located right at the ridge. They have a birdscreen and cover.

I have sections of my soffit panel that are perferated. I haven't checked to see if they are blocked. I also haven't checked to see if I have baffles installed. That should be my next step I suppose.
Yeah time to take a peak. My understanding is that the modern idea of attic venting was scorned until about 15 years ago. My 1978 house has no soffit vents at all. None. And the bathrooms vent right into the attic.

I've spent some time in my attic and I've realized that the environment and access are so unbelievably bad that it's just not feasible for a nerd like me to install the baffles up there. We're hiring pros to do it all. Ridge vent, soffit vents, baffles, exhaust bathroom vents through roof, block gable and roof vents, blown-in insulation when it's all done. It has 3.5 inch insulation right now, R11 or whatever. Minumum code for new building is R49.

In my last house, the previous owner deliberately blocked the soffit vents because he thought that was the right way to do it.
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:01 PM   #8
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House Retaining Heat


Do all of the rafter bays have soffit vents? Maybe not enough intake air? but yes, definitely make sure the open ones aren't being blocked by insulation.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:51 AM   #9
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House Retaining Heat


Insulation was not commonly used in home construction in the early 1960s, at least where I grew up (Northern California). My folks had a house built in 1960 and had to argue with the builder about putting any insulation at all in the attic. Of course, where you live gets much colder so things might be different.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:20 AM   #10
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House Retaining Heat


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Insulation was not commonly used in home construction in the early 1960s, at least where I grew up (Northern California). My folks had a house built in 1960 and had to argue with the builder about putting any insulation at all in the attic. Of course, where you live gets much colder so things might be different.
Well it looks like I've got a few things to add to the honey do list this weekend. I'll get back to you guys with pictures and feedback. Thanks for all the help and suggestions so far.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:42 AM   #11
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House Retaining Heat


have you noticed this before like this time last year? it is possible the brick are acting like a heat sink absorbing thermal energy during the day then slowly releasing it back into your home at night. This is a nice feature during the winter in cold climates, however not so good in the cooling months. If you can take a temperature of the interior side of the wall early in the morning before the sun comes out, and then when you get home and see what the difference is. Do this on all four sides of your home and see what the numbers indicate.

Just a thought ...

Let us know what you find out about the insulation in the walls.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:50 AM   #12
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House Retaining Heat


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Originally Posted by GBrackins View Post
have you noticed this before like this time last year? it is possible the brick are acting like a heat sink absorbing thermal energy during the day then slowly releasing it back into your home at night. This is a nice feature during the winter in cold climates, however not so good in the cooling months. If you can take a temperature of the interior side of the wall early in the morning before the sun comes out, and then when you get home and see what the difference is. Do this on all four sides of your home and see what the numbers indicate.

Just a thought ...

Let us know what you find out about the insulation in the walls.
May 30th will be one year in this house but yes we did notice this a little last year. This time last year was much warmer so it was much more pronounced. During the winter the master bedroom which is at the end of the house and has 3 exterior walls is much colder than the rest of the house.

That fact had me wondering about the insulation. It has 2 heat registers. Maybe a drawing of the house would be good?
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:56 AM   #13
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House Retaining Heat


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Originally Posted by brockmiera View Post
May 30th will be one year in this house but yes we did notice this a little last year. This time last year was much warmer so it was much more pronounced. During the winter the master bedroom which is at the end of the house and has 3 exterior walls is much colder than the rest of the house.

That fact had me wondering about the insulation. It has 2 heat registers. Maybe a drawing of the house would be good?
This could be completely unrelated to your issue, but I have a room like that in my house and I bought two 'register boosters', which are fans that sit on top of the heating registers and detect when the furnace turns on. When it does, they turn on and help pull hot air into the room. Made 3-4 degree difference in the room which had a big impact on comfort.

Perhaps expanded insulation in your attic is in your future too. From what I read, it makes a gigantic difference.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:05 PM   #14
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House Retaining Heat


It is retaining heat, because you are not moving any air. If you had central air, the house would be cool, and not an oven. Think of your house like a car sitting in the sun or shade with the windows rolled up. Gets hot in there by the time you get in, doesn't it? Open the windows a crack, while it is sitting there, it is a little cooler. Turn on the a/c, it is pretty cool now in there, isn't it.

Same thing with houses. You leave them all closed up, no air movement, they get warm. Even if the attic was properly insulated, if there is no air movement either forced, or convection across the attic, the house will suck that heat in through any gaps or holes, and even through the attic hatch, if nothing is around the perimeter or it, to keep air from moving through the hatch.

I have a power vent in my attic, to help keep it cool, since we do not have soffits in our place, so we have to compensate with the power vent. If the a/c is shut down, ceiling fans are off, 90 outside, the house will be about 75 to 76 if left that way for a long weekend. I have walked in after four hours of having the windows closed on a hot day, no a/c running, no ceiling fans, and our house will be around 72 to 73, depending on how warm it was inside overnight. And we have no insulation in our walls, but have sealed any and all air leaks that we can, applied u/v film on the windows, use room darkening drapes, and it stays pretty decent in our place.

But again, Central air helps a lot in keeping your place cool. We usually leave ours around 72, and it cycles maybe six times a day on a decent nice day, hot over 95, probably about 10 or 12 times.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:07 PM   #15
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House Retaining Heat


Here is a sketched floor plan with location of Heat registers and windows. Also a picture of the front of the house.
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