New Member Looking For Insulation Help


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Old 01-17-09, 08:00 PM
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New Member Looking For Insulation Help

Hi, I'm looking for some advice on my situation. Here's a summary of the background.

I live in Massachusetts where the winters can be harsh. I have a home built in 2007, typical colonial with 2 floors with a basement and a garage on the side of the house. It has the typical minimum building code requirements that almost all builders in my area use. My master bedroom is above the garage. The garage ceiling is finished so I'm going to assume there is insulation there since I can't verify it without drilling test holes. The home has a single climate forced air heating/cooling system where the thermostat is located on the first floor. I hope that's enough information on the house in question.

Here are my problems...

When I walk to the 2nd floor halfway up the stairs I can feel a difference in temperature. Winter time it feels like it's a few degrees colder and a few degrees warmer during the summer. Searching online points me to the lack of attic insulation. A peek in the attic showed me I have R30 batts. How much of an improvement in comfort can adding additional R30 batts do (R60 total)?

Since my master bedroom is above the garage it feels like that room has the biggest difference in temperature. If I was to set the thermostat to 70*. The 2nd floor highway and other bedrooms would read approximately 65* but my master bedroom would be 60*. Is there anything I can do to help improve that. I'll be realistic, if I can get the 2nd floor temperatures within 2* of the first floor I would be very happy.

Here's my last problem. I noticed the floor trims closest to the exterior walls tend to be pretty cold to the touch. In some parts of my house I can feel a draft coming from under the trim. Any suggestions to help lessen those drafts?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Old 01-17-09, 09:12 PM
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R-30 is not bad! Sounds like you have a duct problem and not a insulation problem. Minimum code is exactly that it is the minimum a builder can get away with. You should not feel any drafts in the home. I would look for a contractor in your area that does Thermal Imaging and get them to scan your home.
 
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Old 01-21-09, 01:49 PM
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Do you have a basement in the house and is the ceiling open so you can get to the sill plate and that insulation?

Your heating issue is something we have also. Two story - master bedroom with vaulted ceiling runs the depth of the house -half over the garage and half over the family room.

What finally fixed most of our issue was several years ago the HVAC guy showed me how to "balance the system" for the different seasons. Airman can probably explain it better but what your doing is reducing or increasing airflow to various parts of the house by adjusting the vents on the feed lines (hopefully you have those) at the furnace.

So in winter, because heat rises, I reduce the flow to the upstairs vents except the master. Open the flow to the downstairs especially the one at the foot of the stairway.

In the summer I reverse that. It made a huge difference in the house comfort once someone showed us how to do this.
 
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Old 01-21-09, 02:13 PM
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You can also remove the 'floor trim' and caulk the gap under the baseboard with silicone caulk to block the draft. Also caulk around outlets, windows, can lights to close the gaps.

Keep in mind that the room is over an unconditioned space which means the room will have to deal with the seasonal extremes of heat and cold. Nonexistent or poor insulation, gaps in the insulation, excessive air leakage or poor delivery of heat to the area are the typical causes of heating/cooling of rooms over conditioned spaces.

Room over the garage is usually the farthest away from the unit, which means by the time heat or cooling get there it is not the same temperature as delivered in the rest of the home. Check to see if unit is properly sized to condition the space over the garage. Check to assure ducts are insulated.

Often supplemental heating and cooling are the most economical solution. A window unit AC and a ceramic electric heater or baseboard heater can be used.
 
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Old 01-25-09, 04:09 AM
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I'll second Twelepole's suggestion of supplemental heat for the master. You could get some benefit from insulating the space between the garage ceiling and the master's floor, if no insulation is in place, but if you put it on the garage sid, then you're getting into firebreaks, permits, codes and inspections.

I've found that the oil-filled heaters which look like radiators work well and if you set one on a timer, so that it comes on about half an hour before the room will be used, run it for a couple of hours and then do something similar for the morning, the energy usage is pretty acceptable.
 
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Old 01-26-09, 12:42 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I had the heating company install 2 dampers to allow more air flow to the master bedroom last summer. It did help with the air flow but it wasn't the magic fix. There are 3 air ducts and 1 return in the room. Two of the ducts appear to have adequate blowing while the 3rd is ok.

The good news is the past week I went to the local hardware store and purchased roughly 260 sq ft of R30 unfaced insulation and added it on top of my old insulation. The room does feel more comfortable and it appears to be a bit warmer than before. Even my wife mentioned it felt better or maybe it's just a placebo effect?

I'm new to the home repair world so my lingo may be off. I know from the get go I have 2 possible areas of heat loss in my master bedroom. The ceilings slope down to create a dormer window. In that space the builder left 2 openings for storage space. I noticed I feel a bit of a draft there and may try to seal it up with insulating foam spray. Anyone with a cape style home have experience with sealing the storage entrances up? It's very odd though, last winter when I purchased the home it felt like the home was better insulated but this winter I'm feeling drafts coming from the floor and around the windows. I'll need to do some searching for threads on insulating the windows.
 
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Old 02-12-09, 05:14 PM
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An R-30 batt is only about an R-22 intalled overall, there are always gaps. If you are going to add insulation, blow an R-19 (Cellulose, not *fiberglass) or more over the batts, you will notice a big difference.


*Blown fiberglass loses it's effective R-value in cold attics, An R-38 is reduced to R-19 @ 10 deg. F. according to Oak Ridge Natl. Laboratory tests. http://www.advancedfiber.com/EDU%20New%20Research.pdf
It is recommended to blow 2-3 inches of Cellulose over blown fiberglass to fix the problem.
 
 

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