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More insulation = less heat distribution?


jurched's Avatar
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01-19-09, 06:22 AM   #1  
More insulation = less heat distribution?

After buying a 1930 colonial with cast iron radiators, I insulated it top to bottom: ceiling, walls, floors. Each year saw a different part of the house getting insulated. And, each year had my wife complaining how much colder it feels! This year is particularly bad for her. Makes me wonder if closing all the air spaces has restricted air flow and therefore reduced heat distribution? I mean, why else would insulating a house result in much colder air flowing along the floors and topical heat above head-level?

J

 
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01-19-09, 01:31 PM   #2  
Hi J, first you need to turn up the thermostat. I’m sorry just had to say that. But do check the on/off spread on the stat. When you are better insulated, you can tighten up the temp range and keep a better average house temp. Unfortunately, most of your work is already done, and it sounds like you may have overlooked some air sealing. I will hold off on the long list of “where to air seal” to see if you feel that was done.

Check your humidity, if low it can be adding to the discomfort. Test for and identify drafts. Concentrate your efforts on the areas where she feels cold. There is a reason, and she will let you know when things are better.

I have addressed the issue of one family member being colder than the rest many times and it can be done. The fastest way to find your problems would be an energy auditor with their testing equipment. I can guess, but without my blower door and infrared camera I’m flying blind. More info and we will go from there.

Bud

 
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01-20-09, 08:25 AM   #3  
Well, there is a draft problem, but its not cold air coming in from the outside, but rather from the inside. When I sit at the bottom of my stairs, cold air rushes down the steps like a flood, fast enough to rattle a piece of paper. It moves across the living room to reach the radiator. I'd install a fan if it didn't involve severe plaster ceiling damage. Otherwise, I've done a lot to cut down on drafts from the doors and windows and cracks in the moulding. I'm seriously thinking about installing underfloor heating in at least the kitchen area, where the drafts are quite noticeable. Just getting nervous about that avenue as more and more people post complaints about underfloor system performance in this forum.

J

 
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01-20-09, 09:33 AM   #4  
OK, tell us what you have done for insulating upstairs, how much and where. Let's find the source of all of that cold air.

Is it a full two story or are there any sloping roof areas with side attics. Dormers? Attic entrance? Insulation between floors? 1930 would probably have board sheathing under wood siding? 2x4 walls? And anything else you can add.

Bud

 
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01-20-09, 12:56 PM   #5  
Posted By: Bud9051 OK, tell us what you have done for insulating upstairs, how much and where. Let's find the source of all of that cold air.
Bud
Its a dutch colonial with a walk-up attic. I insulated the attic floor, which made for 30% in gas savings. In the attic itself, the joists have old R-13 foil-backed insulation layered with R-10 foam and sheetrocked to the unfinished kneewalls (I was preparing to finish the attic. I did not yet cover the insulation beyond the kneewalls with paper, so there are seams. The attic door is not insulated. Walls have been insulated.

Windows are cheap but not noticeably drafty.

The front door is well-sealed, but the windows on either side of the portal were drafty, so I pushed insulation into the cracks and keep a blanket across it. The back door opens to a vestibule, and I have both weatherstrip and a blanket to cut the drafts. The basement door has a blanket to stop drafts from there.

The basement is particularly cold thanks to ancient windows. There is no insulation between the basement and the first floor (I've been working my way down).

The attic really is a separate issue, as mentioned in my other thread, New Roof = Heat loss. In that regard, I cannot tell if I need more insulation around the soil stack, or there is a problem with ventilation that causes heat to build there.

Heat, of course, is hot water in cast-iron radiators.

That's my situation. The downstairs is by nature colder than the upstairs, but the upstairs floor is really cold this year. (I am under the impression that space beneath the lower level roofing allows cold air to enter the joists and travel between house levels, even though I put insulation there.)

In reality, I can't imagine what more I can do to improve things short of underfloor heating, but I'm not looking forward to that by any means!
J

 
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01-20-09, 02:02 PM   #6  
Just wanted to give you this link for the moment. I'll be back later to respond.

Welcome To Home Energy Magazine Online

Bud

 
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01-21-09, 01:41 PM   #7  
Thanks for that link. I already noticed some issues with my "Key junctures," and this confirms it.

J

 
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