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Old 02-11-2011, 04:40 PM   #16
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


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Originally Posted by WillK View Post
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.
I just posted a question about heating and fuel costs after I read your heating cost amount of $600. It gave me an incentive to check mine as my wife handle the bills. We used 200 therms for a $300, Jan bill. We set up a budget plan so the cost is only $153.00 a month. We set it up in November(2000) so the cost per month was $135. If severe weather increased useage, it was just a minor adjustment per month.
How did you get billed for February, it's only February 11?
That's probably the January bill, due in February.
Ron

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Old 02-11-2011, 04:47 PM   #17
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


Feb. bill for the billing period of 12/23/10 to 1/22/11. We get billed by cubic feet, so our usage during that billing period was 60,400 cubic feet. For the previous billing period they estimated 18,300 cubic feet, and before that the actual measurement was 14.9 cubic feet.
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:05 PM   #18
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


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Feb. bill for the billing period of 12/23/10 to 1/22/11. We get billed by cubic feet, so our usage during that billing period was 60,400 cubic feet. For the previous billing period they estimated 18,300 cubic feet, and before that the actual measurement was 14.9 cubic feet.
I have the cubic feet listing also. In January we used 18,800 cubic feet(actual reading) of gas in a 2500 sq ft house. We set the thermostat at 68 degrees when we're home and 65 when we're not and at night.
Using 60,400 cubic feet of gas in enormous unless the house is very large or very drafty.
Was the 60+K usage an actual reading?
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:55 PM   #19
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


Well, the 60k was an actual reading, but you also have to remember that the previous reading was estimated so the estimate may have been low. So the 18.3 + the 60 would mean that for 2 months I had 78.3. January was definitely worse for temperatures so it could have been more like 35 for December and 45 for January.

The house is 1300 square feet roughly.

A big part of the story is the simple fact that before we moved in the week before Thanksgiving, I had done some major work. I had redone the roof and gutted the ceilings on the second floor. When we bought the house, there was a gas leak so we had requested the sellers to turn the gas off - that was in August. I had the gas leak suspected to be in the water heater supply, so I put in a shutoff so I could resume heating before the first freeze late in October.

Before moving in, I insulated one bedroom upstairs so our 4 year old girl and 5 year old boy could have a warm room to sleep in. This consisted of insulating the ceiling and the sloped part of the ceiling but not the walls, which had not been gutted since they were drywall.

Another piece of the whole project was rewireing, primarily the second floor and the kitchen since these were the most dangerous sections of the existing wiring. When we moved in, we gave the kids 1 lamp in their bedroom operating off extension cord.

So the other bedroom upstairs was completely uninsulated, although I rolled out the R30 batts that went over the joists since those didn't obscure wiring.

This was basicly the state of the insulation until we started getting permit inspections, on Jan. 20 we called for a building inspection on the roof permit, a plumbing inspection on the dishwasher permit, a mechanical inspection on the gas pipes and rough electrical. I'll get back to that...

The original plan was to finish electrical and complete rough inspection over the Christmas break. Instead, I ate up a few days of that replacing drain pipes due to an underground sewer pipe failure under the crawlspace and the subsequent backed up sewage stink.

So with the inspections on Jan 20, what I really needed was rough electrical so I could move forward on insulating. I passed everything else. This was also the timeframe when we were getting single digit temperatures, so since he objected to the wires I'd already covered with insulation, but indicated he understood, I did some more insulation, but I wasn't really moving full steam ahead.

On the 3rd rough electrical I passed, but he also suggested the building inspector take a look. So she decided I needed a building permit for the carpentry I was doing to increase wall cavities for insulation. Mind you, I asked when I pulled permits back in October and was told that a permit was not needed.

Oh yeah, another sore subject... Back in November, I had wanted to call in my mechanical, plumbing and roof building permit inspections because I was ready for them and wanted final inspection done before we moved in. But I'd also put in plan review for another building permit, it was approved but I wasn't ready to pay for the permit. So they put all my permits on hold and I couldn't get inspections.

Anyway, Jan.28 I passed rough electrical and the additional building permit rough inspection, so I'm good to go forward legally with insulating and drywalling, and it's a Friday. Saturday, both the wife and I are down with the flu, able to do nothing but eject the contents of our digestive tract in both directions all day. That and have 2 kids jumping on us because we made funny noises. Then Sunday, it had passed but we were just weak from the lack of food. So that weekend was wasted. Then came Superbowl weekend. And here we are.

BUT the bigger point is that I hadn't reached a point where I can really legally insulate over new wiring until after the end of the last billing period, and of course everywhere I don't have insulation means what I have in is really diminished in effectiveness.

One other note, up until the week before the first inspection, the room with the least insulation was closed off from the rest of the house because I still had a door on it. Since I had to tear down and rebuild that wall to frame out a duct for a bathroom exhaust fan, I did that last before rough inspection. The drawback was that it openned up the biggest heat loss to the rest of the house - right when the temperatures were going their lowest.

Now I have everything insulated upstairs, except I need to blow insulation into the first floor exterior walls, but that's really a relatively small piece and it has to wait anyway until I get into the joist framing where I need to sister joists in, which I need to do before I can air seal the balloon framed cavities to keep everything I blow in from above from just falling out into the crawlspace.

See how everything just ties together? It can really be hard to present the whole picture when I ask anything here, I really have to try to keep questions focussed.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:05 AM   #20
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


Willk,

I would completely seal off your crawlspace by replacing the vents in your foundation with cinder blocks, Then place 2" rigid foam board in the inside of your foundation walls. Then place a heavy duty vapor barrier over the top of the rigid foam board along the foundation walls and then on your floor. then completely seal all the seams with a waterproof seam tape. This will allow you then to open heat ducts into your crawlspace which will make it like a basement so to speak. This will help warm your floors and get rid of the draft coming into your room. (if the cold air is getting in through your crawlspace) I would check with a HVAC guy though first to see how to get air to your furnace.
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:01 AM   #21
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


Actually I will be starting the crawlspace soon, but I'm not very convinced it relates to the room in question since this room is on slab.

But there is more to this project than that. The crawlspace is enclosed by rotted wood plank with fake stone veneer over it, and this is ventilated. Still, the furnace keeps the crawlspace warmer than the rest of the house.I don't really feel any draft problems with the floor in the rest of the house.

Much of the crawlspace walls has stacks of cinder blocks and misc. debris which is supporting the house, in most cases directly supporting joists instead of supporting beams, so that is the first thing I need to remedy before I start working on vapor barriers and insulating. By the time I have that done, I'm likely to be out of weather where the difference will be noticeable.
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:57 PM   #22
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


Willk
It might not be noticeable in the warmer seasons, but the fact that you have rotten wood in your crawlspace tells me you have a lot of moisture down there, and if you are going to replace everything I would recommend encapsulating your crawlspace and placing a dehumidifier down there or you will just have to replace the wood again, and I doubt thats what you will want to do.

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Old 03-09-2011, 09:47 PM   #23
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


I can understand that, but I'm working through this house's issues in bite-sized pieces and that's more than a mouthful. I understand the issues in play here, and while that would be part of the 5 year plan, there are smaller things I'll do sooner.

Water intrusion into the crawlspace is definitely an issue, my driveway is cracked and heaving and sloped towards the house. I will very likely get the driveway redone later this year with added drainage and sloping away from the house, HOPEFULLY I'll be able to get a foundation wall poured at the same time.

Encapsulation would take having a sound wall on the crawlspace. I don't have that. This house is supported by piers of concrete blocks (most of which are on dirt) and the crawlspace is enclosed by tongue and groove boards, mostly rotten, which is covered by fake stone veneer. Even if I had foam blown onto, it would be going onto dirt at the bottom, the dirt would be likely to wash away - or the foam would get pushed into the dirt and probably break off at the bottom where it only had rotten boards to adhere to.

The water would still be coming in. At its lowest point, I noticed water coming up around the stack when we had a big snow melt, and once the weather cooled again and melting stopped, the water went down that day. The crowning of my floors suggests the outer concrete blocks are sinking from groundwater while the inner piers don't see ground water and therefore don't sink. I'll be addressing this with perimeter drains leading to sump pit where it will be pumped out to french drains.

There was water coming in from backup from the drainage system, I've temporarily resolved that although it's a bandaid until the sewer pipe that has collapsed under the driveway is replaced, which will happen while the driveway is being done.

There was fiberglass batts installed in the joist cavities, the crawlspace is ventilated and heated. As of when we bought the house, most of that had fallen out but the damage was done.

The roof ventilation was inadequate, and what there was had been clogged with birds nests. Cellulose was blown in without baffling. Side attics were insulated on the exterior walls. Moisture from condensation had clearly done its damage to the roof, and as this is a ballooon framed house it very likely flowed down open wall cavities to be the primary source of the rotting of joists on the end. I've improved roof ventilation, although I've been waiting for warmer weather to increase soffit venting.

On the opposite side of the house, the cabinets under the kitchen sink had floors that had completely rotted... Cheap particle board, I know it's not hard to do, but there was a leak at some point. I forget why but wereplaced that faucet.

And that's not getting into cleanliness issues.

Oh yeah, but I was talking about the mud room with this post... This room had the kind of insulation with kraft paper on both sides, and it was collapsed from moisture. The roof over this had absolutely no ventilation at all, aside from the draftyness of the gable end.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:42 AM   #24
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


willk,
So are you asking how to fix your support beams and piers?? Its relatively a simple project but a pain in the butt to do. If you want to sub it out I can put you in contact with a professional in your area. Or I can give you a play by play on the best way to do it. Which do you prefer?
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:40 AM   #25
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What can I do about the cold coming into this room??


Well, this thread was originally about something totally different, but I'd like to have some feedback if there's anything I could do better as far as how I'm planning to tackle the structure in my crawlspace.

I have plans from an engineer to add 2 triple 2x10 beams supported by 6x6 posts on 2'x2'x10" spread footings, these 2 beams are as close to the exterior of the house as practical so 12" on center from the exterior. Also, the rear 10' of the house is an addition and the joists are perpindicular to the rest of the house. So for this section there will be 2 more triple 2x10 beams between the other 2 triple 2x10 beams with 1 6x6 post at the middle of the span.

Currently, there is no beam where I am installing it so it's a project to install new beams rather than repair an existing beam.

The engineer's plans indicate using the existing 2x6 joists and the existing triple 2x6 beam in the center of the house. There are 3 proper footings supporting this and 2 more columns of cement blocks set on dirt. Also, it does not span under the front room. I intend to replace this beam wiith a new triple 2x10 beam that spans the full length including under the front room. I intend to tear off flooring one room at a time and replace all 2x6 joists with 2x8 joists. I've thought about sistering, but I want to start with strong level floors since I'll need to support new walls which will be load bearing to support new floor plan work on the first and second floor.

So my plan obviously has to start with digging the footings, building forms, setting rebar and get it inspected. I've already spoken with the inspector and I can do a few at a time so I don't have to dig all of them at once.

I have 2 footings dug at this point, I need to get three or four more dug and I'll have my first goal for getting an inspection.

Digging footings has its challenges because most footing sites have stacks of concrete blocks in the way. To clear the footing sites, I need to jack up joists with a 5' long temporary triple 2x6 beam, then once I remove cement blocks I set a temporary triple 5' long triple 2x6 beam in place supported by jack posts.

I plan then to build the posts up to support the triple 2x10 beams such that they will support the 2x8 floor josits. That will leave an inch or so gap to the existing floor joists ( the outside has sunk into the ground about an inch relative to the center beam)

Of course, I'll stagger joists. The engineer specified just double 2x10 under the front room (no second floor on that part) so one board will span the first 2 posts and splice to a 14' long 2x10 over the second post. The second board will be the center board of the triple 2x10 and will span to the third post. The third board will start at the second post and span to the 4th post. The triple beam is completed by a board spanning from the second to the forth post... I'll have to run the center board from the third post to the fifth post before I can nail and glue the beam together.

My circumstances really make the last 10' a difficult section, and I'll need to be able to open the floor to do it. I only have enough clearance between the joists and the ground to fit the beam in.

Once a section of beam is in, I have to get enough beam in place at the center beam to be able to start putting joists in. This will be challenging because I can support josits on one side the same as the outside of the house, but the other sie is a little trickier because the furnace is right where I'd need to put temporary supports, maybe I can sister the joists together to the other side of the furnace.

When I'm ready to put in new joists I'll have to jack up the outside of the house to the level it needs to be to put the joists in.

I'd love to sub it out, but we got a quote for $20k and they want 1/3 down. We'd have to get a loan to get that kind of money at once, and we bought the house on land contract. We need to wait until we've been on the land contract 12 months before we can get conventional loans on the house. That will be August. So I'll see how far along I am by then, I was estimating I'd be done with this around June so August is probably realistic to be done.

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