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newbieowner 12-20-2008 09:41 AM

Hi new here- heat loss help.
hello everyone,

I bought my first home 2 years ago and I am slowly improving its insulation. I recently discovered the crawl space under my kitchen floor had NO insulation! WTF was the previous owner thinking?!!

anyways the attic access is in the master bedroom...yeah I know brilliant idea........and that room is always colder than the other rooms. last night I made a box out of 1 in. rigid foam to seal this access. around the box is R-39 batt insulation. but I discovered this morning this room is still colder than the others.

should I increase the value of the insulation of this box somehow?

Sammy 12-20-2008 09:45 AM

Is the attic access a hatch with just a lift up panel or is it pull down stairs?

newbieowner 12-20-2008 09:54 AM

pull down type

Sammy 12-20-2008 10:02 AM

Weather strip the opening the same as you would an exterior door.

A surface mount latch on the room side would help to make sure you have a postive seal versus just the springs.

I assume the box you have is covering the steps on the attic side?

The dead air space if the box seals tight to the inside of the attic should provide good insulation but you could potentially add insualtion on the outside of the box if you like.
Might make it a little harder to open/close.

newbieowner 12-20-2008 10:30 AM

thanks for the tips. the box i created is a temporary fix until the spring when i will make one that opens/close.

where can i rent one of those infrared cameras that show heat loss?

Sammy 12-20-2008 10:49 AM

Your welcome.

Not sure if you can rent them but check the phone book for energy analyst and see what they charge for a whole house survey.

The local power company may be able to suggest companies that can help

Chemist1961 12-21-2008 02:38 PM

Hot and ColdÉ

Do you have ice dams building up at the eaves even when it is below freezing. If so you will want to improve soffit and rooftop venting ratio to allow the cold to escape. R39 would be a dream for many people so ther must be more to find up there.

newbieowner 12-23-2008 10:01 PM


Originally Posted by Chemist1961 (Post 200975)

Do you have ice dams building up at the eaves even when it is below freezing. If so you will want to improve soffit and rooftop venting ratio to allow the cold to escape. R39 would be a dream for many people so ther must be more to find up there.

eaves? roof venting ratio? username is not just for fun. I really am a newbie:( but I do have the good fortune to have worked in a woodshop for 1 1/2 years so I am a novice with certain tools.

Chemist1961 12-23-2008 10:53 PM

Insulation vs ventilation
I had about R16 in my attic and have begun sealing and upgrading the insulation, with huge results. But I also have one room which remained cold in winter / hot in summer due to lack of an air return in the room. So have been advised in the HVAC section by "beenthere" to increase my air flow with additinal ventilation from that room to an adjoining hall where there is a cold air return. This will help cold air to be drawn out as warm air is blown in. Do you have a cold air return in this room?
Also, prior to insulating I had noticed icicles building up on my roof at the eaves troughs on cold days, from warm air escaping through poorly insulated ceiling only to be trapped in the attic. Solution-(in addition to attic insulation) increase rooftop ventilation as well as soffit venting to create a proper air flow year round. This helps hot air escape the attic in summer and cold air escape in the winter. Otherwise the trapped air hot or cold radiates its temperature back down into your house year round and in the summer the trapped hot air bakes your shingles as well. In additon you can be trapping humidity in the attic. So ice and ice dams forming around the edge of the roof in my case were a sign of lost heat escaping through the celing only to be trapped in the attic and melting the snow as a result.
If you have R39 in the attic you shouldn't be loosing much heat so maybe you need to check your heat vents and returns and furnace filter as well.
Don't start cutting holes until you read up on it a bit, but there is a proper ratio of soffit to rooftop ventilation to make your whole attic work in your favour. I used to walk halfway up the stairs and feel a wave of heat or a chill as the attic temp was affecting my top floor.I figured if heat rises my top floor should actually feel warmer than the main or at least equal. So, I added insulation in the attic, sealed the venting pipes, improved soffit ventilation as well as rooftop and now, no icicles, 10" of fresh snow this week but it's not melting because my heat is in my house not my attic.
I also examined my furnace piping and taped a few joints with foil tape. In doing so discovered dampers on several runs which needed to be adjusted to balance my air flow to different ares of the house. This can change pressure to that rom as well.
So insulation and ventilation go hand in hand. Next step is a new furnace but my gas consumption is already down 20% from same billing period and same average temp last Nov so that's a sure sign of progress. Also found using a laser LED temperature scanner a big help in locating COLD spots on walls and base boards due to drafts. Good luck

Chemist1961 12-23-2008 10:57 PM

sorry went on a bit didn't mean it to be a lecture.

newbieowner 02-10-2009 08:32 AM

I always listen to lectures. Now I know what you all mean by air flow. I do not have a central air system or forced heat.

hychesee 02-13-2009 02:24 AM

Hello newbieowner, uninsulated floors are very common and attic escapements even into bedroom closets are not that uncommon. Chemist1961 makes some fine points. Does this new R39 box you made fit up inside attic and over the access hole? if so then do what others have said and make sure you have an in and out to the room. You can not force hot air into a pressurized closed room, hence the need for a cold air return - leave the door open an inch or so just to test, then put a louver in the door bottom if it proves right.

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