Home insulation and air sealing


Old 04-21-10, 12:56 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NJ
Posts: 232
Thumbs down Home insulation and air sealing

I am considering having my old home insulated and air sealed. Due to money troubles, I am considering only insulating the attic and skip the walls. I understand the walls are very expensive to insulate and the pay back period is many years. I have two contractors bidding for the work - both tell me that it is no good unless I also insulate the walls and it is not a matter of air leakage. I also know this is where they make the big money. Your take on all this? I think sealing the top and bottom of the house will be "good enough".
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Old 04-21-10, 04:16 PM
mickblock's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Calumet Township, Indiana
Posts: 616
Well I tend to agree with your understanding. Air sealing is step one. Were did I read that the average home has enough airgaps to equal a 14 square inch hole? Was it here? It would defeat the purpose to insulate the walls without doing a thorough air seal. Both sealing and insulating are ideal, but if you had to pick one...
Old 04-25-10, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: us
Posts: 5
Air sealing (re:)

Most heat is lost thru the ceiling so thats the most cost effective approach with a liomited budget. If you are interested in sealing, first google on air tight drywall approach. Works best on new construction but they can so remods too. Be aware as you become more air tight you will need a heat recovery ventilator for fresh air makeup
They basically use the drywall as an interior air barrier (foam outlets, caulk drwall to floor, seal air duct penetrations, vent stacks and other penetrations thru the attic, etc)
Old 04-25-10, 05:17 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,353
Upvotes Received: 16
Hi netmouse. Air sealing is first as stated. Just a lot easier to do before the new insulation, plus it is the number one most cost effective improvement you can do. Here is a link of the issue. It opens slow, but a good read. http://www.efficiencyvermont.com/ste...ide_062507.pdf

Now the attic. How much improvement you will get depends upon what is up there. If there is no insulation at all, adding anything will make a big difference. If there is 6" already, with none in the walls, then adding a foot will be barely noticeable. The reason, if there is already some insulation, then the ceiling is not the major player in your heat loss. Thus adding more can only reduce a small number.

If NJ has any stimulus money, Energy Star or other, the improvements you make will reduce your chances of qualifying for their programs, so check first if you want to consider some gov money. If not, air seal like mad. Most older homes would be hard to over seal, but if the front door feels like you are pulling against a vacuum, or the windows sweat in the winter, it is too tight. Combustion air for the furnace is also an important issue.

This all may sound confusing, but last whatever when energy prices went crazy, it was extremely important and taking care of these issues now is just beating the rush for the next price jump.

Good Luck

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