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Old 02-10-2011, 08:50 PM   #1
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


Not sure if or what the best place is for this question since it kind of crosses several topics, so if anyone has a better place to post this question please say so!

My utility room gets cold, and I think the biggest reason is the exhaust vent for the gas water heater. So here's some details:

- House is 2 stories on crawlspace.
- The utility room is on a slab, it's 10'x10' off the kitchen.
- In the utility room are located the water heater (gas), plus an electric dryer, and there is a plumbing vent exiting through the roof. The dryer vents through the wall.
- The exterior door in the room has gotten new weatherstripping, and that helped.
- The ceiling has new R13 faced bats with a layer of R30 on top of it.
- The roof was redone last fall, where the roof had no ventilation I added can vents for intake and a ridge vent.
- The furnace is located in the crawl space.

The exhaust vent is B-vent pipe, and it has a new cap on the vent pipe outside.

Am I most likely getting cold air enterring through the water heater vent, and if so what can I do about it? Are there other suspects I might need to deal with?

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Old 02-10-2011, 09:17 PM   #2
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


The thought that will occur is to seal up the utility room and crawl space but the first thing I suggest is reading the manuals for the heating appliances. I assume that they are both gas and use the air in the utility room and adjacent crawl space for combustion air. The manufacturer's specifications in the manual will list the requirements for combustion air, I suggest that first you decide how you are going to address the combustion air requirements and then you can look at if you can reduce the room's leakage. If the manuals are in a plastic envelope attached to the appliance then go online and see if you can come up with the specs. Good Luck.

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Old 02-10-2011, 09:49 PM   #3
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


The gas furnace is getting combustion air from the crawlspace walls and floor above I'm sure, and I'm reasonably sure that the crawlspace walls have vents and are plenty leaky enough that the furnace is less likely to pull air from the house. I know providing combustion air vented into the crawlspace would be prudent, especially once I get to the part where I insulate the crawlspace walls, but for now I'm assuming that the furnace is unrelated...

If it says anything, we haven't had enough backdraft to set off any CO2 detector when both the water heater and furnace run. Also, I can feel the cold air coming out of the center tube of the water heater b-vent, and it didn't change when I shut the furnace off.

I have found the furnace manual online. The water heater, I haven't looked, but neither is on the appliance at any rate.

The utility room is open to the house, no door between the utility room and the kitchen.

Ultimately I'll be happy to go to sealed combustion on both appliances, but that isn't happenning this season.

So am I at least probably on the right track that the source of the cold is most likely through the water heater exhaust, and the question is whether I can do anything about it, and the answer is most likely to be found in the manual for the appliance?
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:39 AM   #4
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


there is a damper you can install on the exhaust - bi/metal tube & an easy retrofit,,, when the gas burner comes on, it opens,,, off, it closes,,, pretty neat & no electricity.

i try to edumacate my bride, nagzilla, that having a cozy fire in the family room causes the rest of the house to drop temp but to no avail Heaven forbid we should close the damper when the fire's out OR start a draft 1st when having the aforementioned cozy fire
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:23 AM   #5
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


What heat source do you have for this room? Is the vent open?
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:16 AM   #6
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


There is one register in the room, and the vent is open. In the picture below, it goes straight up and out the roof from where it is shown going up through the ceiling.

Just wondering, I can understand that it should work great when the burner is running, but it's still making CO2 when just the pilot light is burning... Not a big deal? I guess it's probably not generating enough heat with pilot light only to draw it outside anyway...
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:52 PM   #7
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


Quote:
Originally Posted by WillK View Post
There is one register in the room, and the vent is open. In the picture below, it goes straight up and out the roof from where it is shown going up through the ceiling.

Just wondering, I can understand that it should work great when the burner is running, but it's still making CO2 when just the pilot light is burning... Not a big deal? I guess it's probably not generating enough heat with pilot light only to draw it outside anyway...
It makes carbon monoxide(CO), not carbon dioxide(CO2). And yes, the pilot light produces CO, but don't worry about it unless the detector goes off.
The room is cold because:
1 The heat vent is too small
2 The room isn't insulated as well as it should be
3. A little of both.
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:13 PM   #8
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


I am inclined to suspect the slab, as well as the general insulation factor of that room, as Ron mentioned. Is the slab above grade and exposed on the outside? If so, the first thing that I would do is insulate the perimeter of it. Given the current conditions, and since it is only a guess, an inexpensive check may be to set some bales of straw around it for now, and see if you notice any change. With one register going to that room, and the heat wanting to rise away from the slab, you may be standing on a large coldsink.
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Old 02-11-2011, 02:13 PM   #9
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


It appears there was a door there at one time, so why not put it back and keep the living area more warmer? You might try putting down some rubber backed carpet to get away from that cold slab. make sure you do have insulation in the ceiling and walls,lots of it. I don't know the code in your area, but I'd only have that double wall exast pipe ,from just below the ceiling and on out the roof, as the single wall will radiate more heat.
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Old 02-11-2011, 02:15 PM   #10
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


The slab is above grade, but at this time it's also well below the snow and the snow isn't solid ice, but it's hardenned and difficult to dig out - and with the single digit (F) temperatures, salt wouldn't done anything to clear out around it either. This part of the house has brick exterior, the 2x4 wall cavities have fiberglass batt, but I honestly don't know for certain if it's an older R11. The ceiling had been insulated with fiberglass batts only as deep as the 2x4 joists, and it was the kind with the vapor barrier on both sides. I have removed that and replaced it with new R13 plus R30.

At temperatures like we'll be getting this weekend, the room doesn't feel cold. But the floor does definitely feel cold.

The exterior door was definitely a major source of heat loss, adding a replacement weatherseal on the bottom filled a major air gap, plus there was a crack that sunlight could be seen through it where caulk needed to be reapplied - these helped improve a lot, but this is the room that gets coldest so I'm looking at any remaining air leaks as a necessary part of my strategy to get the heating bills down from $600!!
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Old 02-11-2011, 02:22 PM   #11
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


Quote:
Originally Posted by bernieb View Post
It appears there was a door there at one time, so why not put it back and keep the living area more warmer? You might try putting down some rubber backed carpet to get away from that cold slab. make sure you do have insulation in the ceiling and walls,lots of it. I don't know the code in your area, but I'd only have that double wall exast pipe ,from just below the ceiling and on out the roof, as the single wall will radiate more heat.
There was a half door. We've got the cat's litter box in there, and there isn't really a good place for it otherwise. Still I've tried setting the half door in place, and it only helps a little.

I had considered enclosing the water heater, perhaps with a cabinet door on the enclosure for access - maybe even on 2 sides, then providing combustion air intake and exhaust, just a slight concern if it would potentially get too cold and freeze water pipes? OR maybe it's no worse than kitchen cabinets get anyway?
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Old 02-11-2011, 02:23 PM   #12
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


You might want to check with your local utility, many will come in the house and do an energy audit at little or no cost.
What fuel do you use? And how much per month?
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Old 02-11-2011, 02:49 PM   #13
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


Natural gas, and on the energy audit, I was holding off until I had finished dealing with known absences of insulation... and preferably holding off until I get my soffit vents in, rather find out about unknown issues without the noise from the issues I already know about keeping me from learning anything I don't already know.

As I only bought this house in August of last year and the gas was turned off until just before we moved in 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, so I've seen 2 bills, December I was billed $158, January I was billed $192 and February I was billed $596.

Now that I look, I see that they did an estimated reading in December. That's a problem itself, same company we had 2 houses ago and they spent the entire first year estimating based upon the previous owner who didn't even occupy the house in the winter, then all of a sudden we get a $1300 bill. This is an entirely different topic, but at the time I learned that they aren't allowed to estimate until they have a year of history unless there's some access problem for the meter. At the previous house, they weren't even trying.
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:06 PM   #14
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


Since I'm doing some armchair carpenter work here, how about a storm door out back? How about the main crawl space under the house, any insulation? can always screw up some osb board 4x8 sheets. Did it at my house and it did wonders for more heat.
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:16 PM   #15
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


The crawlspace is definitely not insulated, all it has is fake stone veneer exterior and maybe some dead rats hiding in insulation that has fallen out of the floor joists where it doesn't belong - I'm getting there, but before I insulte the crawl space walls I need to dig my footings for beams I'm planning to add (based on plans from a structural engineer and under permit) so my process is that I need to:

- dig spread footings (all of them, I think I have 14 to dig going by memory)
- have rough inspection
- pour footings
- cover with plastic sheet

Then I can insulate the walls.

Until I hang drywall upstairs, which will begin and hopefully conclude this weekend, and then I can get my kids seperated into their own rooms and hopefully restore some sanity, until that point is reached I'm avoiding the crawlspace because everytime I go in the crawlspace, fine sand gets on shoes and cloths, and from there it goes everywhere and there's a half hour cleanup operation to satisfy my wife's cleanliness requirements. When I work the crawlspace, I want to get large amounts of progress for each session!

The exterior door itself is a foam core steel door, so the door seems good, although the outer door (I'm drawing a blank on whether that's the right term or what it is) is stuck open because the closer thing broke, and then it got snowed into place. Guess I should fix that one. Thanks for pointing it out, I actually had forgotten about that issue.

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