Newbie insulation help needed

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  #1  
Old 12-09-05, 08:37 AM
Tai-Pan
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Newbie insulation help needed

I just purchased my first home and I am trying to understand some things about insulation. I have searched the net and this site but I have come up empty handed, so any help is apprciated.

I have a home built in the early 1950's and it has no insulation no central heat at all. The result of this is that I discovered last night (it was 21 degrees here in Texas) that the food in my fridge is almost warmer than the air in my home. Insulation is in order.

Also, since I am a first time homeowner, cost is a big factor so I am trying to plan my DIY insulation strategy to give me the best bang for the buck.

What order should I insulate my house in?
I am thinking this:
1) Check all weather strip/caulk
2) Replace all electrical cover plate seals
3) Attic insulation
4)?? Wall insulation
5)?? Crawl space insulation

I would like to do blow-in in the attic, but I do not think I will be able to get a blower this time of year. Is it really much better than batting?

Also, how much benefit will I see from insulating the crawl space? It looks like a horrid amount of work.

Do I have any other option for insulating the walls besides blow-in? Drilling 200 holes and then patching them doesn’t seem like a lot of fun. Is the benefit enough to justify the cost and time?

Blow-in foam looks easier than blow-in cellulose, but the cost is extraordinary. It would cost close to $2,500 in materials alone to do my walls. Are there any cheaper suppliers?

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 12-09-05, 11:38 AM
andy2's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 36
Originally Posted by Tai-Pan
Also, since I am a first time homeowner, cost is a big factor so I am trying to plan my DIY insulation strategy to give me the best bang for the buck.

What order should I insulate my house in?
I am thinking this:
1) Check all weather strip/caulk
2) Replace all electrical cover plate seals
3) Attic insulation
4)?? Wall insulation
5)?? Crawl space insulation
Maybe I am wrong, but I would start with the following:

1. Go through entire house searching for; and sealing, possible air leaks with caulking. Also, check exterior of house. Replace old weather stripping and caulking and keep an eye out for areas that haven't been caulked. Use rod backing to fill bigger holes that need to be caulked.

2. Electrical plate covers don't need to be replaced unless damaged. There is a product that you can install that blocks air leakage through electrical light switches and plugs. I can't remember the name of the product.

3. Insulate the crawl space.

Check levels of insulation in the walls and attic.

andy
 
  #3  
Old 12-09-05, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,125
Newbie insulation help needed

Much depends on your climate and whether you air condition. The caulking and weather stripping are obvious cheap first steps you can do now. You will learn more about your house by doing them. If your windows have air infiltration around them, I woould remove the trim and fill the gaps between the window and framing. - You can re-use the trim if you are careful.

I would attack the ceiling/attic next. Whether you heat or cool, this gives a benefit. - More of a benefit if you heat only. I would blow in because it gives better, more reliable coverage in all incessible areas and easily allows you to cover the tops of ceiling joists with a couple of inches and not go with a full 6" batt if you don't need it. Correct your ventilation (eave and roof) to eliminate summer heat build-up and winter ice dams.

I would then go after the walls. This is a substantial area and does pay off. If you are going to do substantial interior work, you could look at interior insulation holes that could be patched when you do other work.

I put the crawl space low on the priority list because it is already a sem-conditioned (or protected) space. In the summer you may actually get a benefit from the ground temperature. Smae applies in the winter. depending on the ventilation and height.

These are just my priorities and could change depending on the house and location.

Dick
 
  #4  
Old 12-11-05, 04:41 PM
Tai-Pan
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Okay, thanks for the information. I completed the blow in cellulose in the attic this weekend. Messy, but pretty easy.

I guess I will skip the crawl space for the time being. I live in Austin TX so cooling is more of an issue than heat, in the summer I will probably want the cooler grounds' bennefit.


I guess I will look into doing the walls. I don't really plan on doing any interior sheetrock work in the exterior walls, but I plan to put on a new hardiplank exterior this summer. Perhaps I will hold off on insulation the wall until then, unless their is an option for more afforable foam.

Thanks
 
  #5  
Old 12-12-05, 07:59 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 857
Originally Posted by Tai-Pan
The result of this is that I discovered last night (it was 21 degrees here in Texas) that the food in my fridge is almost warmer than the air in my home. Insulation is in order.
Sounds like you need a new fridge.
 
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