what happens if?........................


Old 10-07-04, 05:36 AM
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what happens if?........................

I have read some of the crawl space info here but not all of it. I have the oldest house in my town. one hundred years plus. I have added on a large addition which is now finished. In the old part I have the dreaded crawl space in the back part of the house and a full basement in the front.The foundation is stone, the joist are 2x6 and not equally spaced. It is dirt floor and I have roughly 2' hieght to work. Yeah it is not fun but I want to keep the old part. I live in the midwest(IL). So.........I know this is way out there, but here goes. First I would like to put heavy plastic on ground for moisture. Then I would like to blow cellulose ins. onto plastic and bank it up against walls. I assume this goes against any standard installation process- but will it work? Moisture Problems??????? If this won't work-what's best?
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Old 10-07-04, 07:21 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 1,873

This is a much better product for your applicatiion, than filling plastic with cellulose.

Older homes verses newer homes verses energy efficient homes are affected by the issues at the time they were built and methods were used to address those specific issues. For example a house 100 years old has 3 to 4 air exchanges per hour, a newer home 50 years old will have 2 air exchanges per hour and an energy efficient home will have 1 or less air exchange per hour. In each case, the houses were specifically designed to have those air exchanges. What an air exchange is the entire volume of air is expelled from the house and is replaced with fresh air from outside. If it costs one dollar to heat this volume of air of the house, then an energy efficient house would cost one dollar an hour to heat the home. A newer house two dollars and an older home 3 to 4 dollars an hour. This translates into annual costs to heat your home. A newer home would cost about half to heat the same size older home and an energy efficient home would cost about a quarter what it would cost to heat a older home.

Though the crawl space insulating is a good idea and may help with your comfort and energy bills. I doubt very much if it is going to make a significant difference or even noticable difference. If you want to lower your energy bills and increase your comfort dramatically, then I would recommend air sealing. I would even go as far as recomending having a professional air sealing company do it for you.

The company that you are looking for utilizes measurement and verification. The most common equipment used is the "Blower Door". What this does is measure the amount of air exchange in your house before air sealing, then measure it after the air sealing. There are formulas that are used to determine the reduction of your energy bill by the air sealing. Of course there are variables and each company does it differently. But what you really want from this type of company is how they determine your base heating costs.

I can tell you how I do it, but I doubt it if any other company goes as far as I do. I ask you permission to obtain the heating costs from your utility or fuel supplier for the past 20 years. I inspect the house for improvements and inquire when the improvements were done. I add the 20 year history and divide by 20. Then compare the years prior to and after the improvements and make the appropriate adjustments to the average to determine your base. This may sound difficult but once given the information it takes me less than five minutes to calculate. The importance of this is that all actions done under air sealing are influenced by the base. So a company that does not take the time to obtain an accurate base, is not going to do that good of a job air sealing.

If you are wondering how much this costs, it is considerably less expensive than changing all your windows and a little bit more than insulating the entire house. By the way, insulation is used a lot in air sealing, especially walls. The method used is dense paking.

Since there is a direct correlation to energy bills and comfort levels in a home, the benefits to air sealing a home like yours can be tremendous. In other words, if you reduce your energy costs in half, you increase your comfort levels proportionately. If you search for "Air Sealing", you will find companies in your area.

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