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Old 12-11-2008, 02:53 PM   #1
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What works for me


Two years ago I had a water heater go out. At that time I was already researching Marathon water heaters. When mine went out I bought a Marathon. Its the most thermally efficient water heater on this planet. This is what started me on this green journey.

I noticed my electric bill go down right away, and since then I have stayed busy employing energy saving tactics. Now, my electric and propane usage is down 25% (or more) from 2006. Here is a list of things I have done. Most of these I will discuss in detail as I add to this thread.

Sealed HVAC ducts (in basement)
Switched to CFL
Got rid of recessed lights and put in drop lights (CFL conversion kits)
Sealed my leaky rim joist
Sealed my outlets on outside walls
Minor fixes to attic insulation
Removed all window and door trim to seal windows
Sealed cracks in corner drywall joints
Added cellular shades to windows
Moved my office to the bedroom (forces me to shut off PC)

More to be done:
Attic to R-50
Use FOMO for insulating rim joist
Insulate basement (foundation walls)

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Old 12-11-2008, 03:22 PM   #2
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I sealed my outlets using Doug Rye's method. He has a DVD out if you want some good ideas for sealing homes. There are seperate versions for existing and new build.

Removed the cover and remove the outlet. Use can of foam with straw and seal holes into the outlet box where wires come into it. Wait for foam to dry before putting it back together. Then use caulk to seal the edge of the outlet box to drywall. Then put the little foam blankets under the outlet cover when putting it all back together. Lastly I use child proof outlet covers in un-used outlets.

Prior to doing this work I could put my hand in front of an outlet and feel the cold air coming in, now I cant. I am sure this idea works well and is cheap to do.

Bob

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Old 12-16-2008, 09:13 AM   #3
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Great thread Bob!

Please continue to keep is updated as you continue your green friendly projects.
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Old 12-18-2008, 05:01 PM   #4
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In the basement where unfaced insulation is stuffed. pull down a few and check them. When I pulled a few down I noticed some were black. This is a sign of infiltration and not necessarily mold. Between the sill and rim joist in some areas I could see out. I used cans of foam and spray real lightly so that it stays in place. Seal in a 'U' shape down one floor joist across the sill/rim and up the next floor joist. When all is dry put the insulation back in.
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Old 12-18-2008, 06:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tldga3 View Post
Got rid of recessed lights and put in drop lights (CFL conversion kits)
Are you able to control your lighting patterns with them (will the lights shine over a wide area or are they focused on a smaller area)? I need to do something with my 5 cans in my living room, they burn a ton of watts and put out a poor amount of light. I talked to a lighting guy this spring who claimed that most of the light is wasted bouncing around before it ever leaves the can.

Last edited by fhivinylwindows; 12-18-2008 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:30 PM   #6
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Are you able to control your lighting patterns with them (will the lights shine over a wide area or are they focused on a smaller area)? I need to do something with my 5 cans in my living room, they burn a ton of watts and put out a poor amount of light. I talked to a lighting guy this spring who claimed that most of the light is wasted bouncing around before it ever leaves the can.
look up 'the can converter'
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:03 PM   #7
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Removed all window and door trim to seal windows
We built an addition on my mom's house a few years ago. We haven't put the trim around the windows yet but there is pink insulation stuffed into all the gaps. Would it be worth the few minutes and few dollars it would take to remove the pink insulation and spray foam those gaps? Anyway, I'm not sure the pink stuff could be doing it's job if it's stuffed in there. Would you redo it if it were your home?

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Use FOMO for insulating rim joist
What is FOMO? Is it the same as 'Great Stuff'?
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Old 01-09-2009, 12:22 AM   #8
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We built an addition on my mom's house a few years ago. We haven't put the trim around the windows yet but there is pink insulation stuffed into all the gaps. Would it be worth the few minutes and few dollars it would take to remove the pink insulation and spray foam those gaps? Anyway, I'm not sure the pink stuff could be doing it's job if it's stuffed in there. Would you redo it if it were your home?


What is FOMO? Is it the same as 'Great Stuff'?
The pink stuff isn't blocking air flow which is the problem. Air goes right through insulation. A vapor barrier is needed which greatstuff helps provide.
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:01 AM   #9
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Great Info TLDGA3. I've missed a few of those spots
GMA,
If you foam around windows get the specific foam for windows and doors. It will not bulge as a it has a different expansion rate.
I have also found substantial draft at my baseboards. Have pulled carpet back room by room and put the straw in there to foam. Recommend using Dap Latex spray foam for this one in case you get any on the baseboards or flooring. Corners seem to be especially drafty. You can reset the carpet with a wide putty knife.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Switched to CFL
Got rid of recessed lights and put in drop lights (CFL conversion kits)
How do you like the CFL bulbs? A few years ago I (gradually) switched all of my light fixtures to using the Reveal bulbs. Now my eyes don't feel strained when I'm scrapbooking or reading. Is the light from the CFL bulbs hard on the eyes or is there really no difference?

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I have also found substantial draft at my baseboards. Have pulled carpet back room by room and put the straw in there to foam.
Thanks, I'll make sure to get the foam just for windows and doors. I took all the baseboards out of a room I'm painting this weekend and it made me think of what you said about foaming that gap. I have a wood (laminate) floor in that room. Since the flooring needs space to expand, do you think it would still be okay to spray the foam down in there?
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:49 PM   #11
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Use caulking to fill the gap between the floor and the wall. Thermal images show definite air movement through that space.
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:54 PM   #12
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Thanks sunthas. When I put the flooring down I left space on all four sides for it to expand. If I used the spray foam on the two exterior walls, would the floor just expand in the other direction or would it buckle? The floor isn't nailed or glued down, there is a pad under it.
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:16 AM   #13
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Depending on the space you left if you can still get the straw fill tube under the drywall you may be OK. If the foam expands out too far you need to back off on the nozzle pressure, and you can trim the extra foam with a knife when it's dry.
Doing the rim joist and sill plate in the basement is a huge factor so you may want to stock up on foam. I too did the rim, top sides and bottom of each joist space as well as the sill and basement windows. Not sure the sides were necessary but it was only two more beads.
If you're doing a lot you can buy an econo gun with a dial nozzle and jumbo foam cans that screw onto the gun..but it's not always cheaper in volume. Dow also makes a jumbo pack of "Great Stuff " with a needle nozzle for larger jobs
The cans generally have a length of bead desciption on the label to help you figure out what you need. Check their weight versus price.
I found corners were the worst for leakage, including inside closets. I ran a vertical bead outside where the dywall butts and it helped. Consider how corners and inside walls are framed are framed in when the house is built...less insulation, more gaps.
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:06 PM   #14
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I know what you mean about the corners being colder. I painted a room the other day and last night I was in there touching-up some areas. I noticed that one of the corners looked like it hadn't been painted. I was sure I painted it. I looked a little closer and it looked like someone sprayed water on the paint when it was still wet. The paint is washed away. It's a spot about 1-2" wide and it goes from the floor up about 3'. I've been the only one going in there since I painted, so I know nothing has been spilled there. I'm sure it's just condensation from the cold temperature outside meeting the warm temp of the drywall. It explains why there are water stains on the baseboard there.

I had the same problem around Christmas with another exterior corner in a different room. I thought there was no insulation in that section of the wall, so I drilled a 2" hole in the drywall, but there was insulation and no water damage. I didn't check in the very corner though, I drilled about 6" to the side of it. I wouldn't mind drilling a hole in those two corners and shooting some foam in there, but I'm not sure if it's built so there's a space to fill or not.

Thanks for the info about the foam. I think I'll try that.
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:06 PM   #15
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Part of the issue is how corners are framed. Because I cut into a lot of walls I run into this opposite closet walls etc. Many corners in older homes have air pockets that were poorly or sometimes never insulated. If you use a therrmal scanner corners often show up much colder than other areas on the wall. Mine show more than 10F degrees difference. I have a corner in my kitchen adjoining the the garage on one side and porch on the other, which is hollow but it sits behind my cabinets. I think I'll drill and fill from the garage.

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