Just insulated home but not feeling it?


Old 10-07-12, 05:56 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Just insulated home but not feeling it?

Just a backstory: we have a home that was built in 1900. However, in 1986, we put on an addition.

We have a furnace and AC system that is about 7-8 years old. But, our house just has always seemed cold. I wouldn't necessarily say drafty, but cold. It is a one story, with an attic and a crawl space. There was no insulation in the old part of the attic, and some roll insulation in the new part. We knew there was some batting insulation in the walls of the new part, and assumed the old part to be hollow.

So, we called a very reputable insulation company. They came out, went up in the attic to look around, used some fancy contraption to measure heat, and agreed the older part was likely hollow. They quoted us a price, and we hired them.

So, they arrived, and drilled some holes from the outside around the house. Come to find out, there WAS cellulose in the walls on the old part. So, they pulled out the batting in the new part, and injected some spray foam. The did nothing with the old part's outer walls. I really would have preferred to have something done with the old part. But, according to them, there was already insulation in there, so they didn't need to do anything. So, they went up in the attic and did some cellulose blown in over the entire attic. We do not remember ever having insulation put in, and my husband has lived here his whole life, and I have lived here 35 years. So, the insulation that is currently there is very, very old. So, I cannot imagine it is very effective.

They suggested that we may want to think about insulating the foundation. We have thought about it, but for now, we are waiting to see how much of a credit we will get since they did not have to insulate the whole house.

Well, according to the thermostat and an indoor thermometer we have, it is 70 inside our house (however, thermometer puts it at 65), with nothing on (43 outside) However, at 70, it is still very cold. we have to layer on sweats, use blankets, etc. It is just very cold. The walls are cool to the touch.

I just don't know what to do at this point?

Last edited by Nashkat1; 10-08-12 at 05:18 PM. Reason: remove formatting
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Old 10-07-12, 07:20 AM
hvactechfw's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 6,245
so do you feel the thermometer is correct over the thermostat? If so, then increase the temperature until the thermometer reads 70. Thermostats do get out of calibration.

Your body is your thermostat...IF you feel cold then turn up the heat. The thermostat is a switch that tells the furnace or a/c when to operate.
Old 10-07-12, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 9,995
You need better advice than you are getting. An independent energy auditor can evaluate your home and tell you where you need improvement. Air sealing should have been done first. Even though you don't feel drafts, your warm air is leaking out the upper portions of your home and cold air is leaking in the lower portions, it occurs in every home, but worse in older homes.

You say they told you the walls were hollow and then discovered they were filled with cellulose. Arghh!!

They pulled out the batt insulation on the new part and injected spray foam! Those walls need to be inspected with a thermal camera as now you know there is little or no batt insulation and their foam job may not have filled everything completely. Adding foam to a previously fiberglass installation is questionable. A quick Infrared camera check on a cold day will tell the story.

My feeling is you paid a lot for this work and you need to be sure they did it right. Another opinion from someone NOT on their payroll, an energy auditor, would be great.

Old 10-07-12, 08:04 AM
GregH's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9,721
There are differing thoughts on human comfort and I am of the opinion that "feelings" have no place in solving HVAC problems.

You first off need to get a reliable digital thermometer that can also measure humidity.
You would do well to get two of them to be able to measure different areas of the house.
Humidity is a condition that could cause discomfort as much as temperature.

If you had one mounted to the wall where the thermostat is located and the other sitting on the arm of the couch or where ever you relax you could tell if drafts or heat loss from windows could be causing your discomfort.

You could use the results of trying this on which to base improvements to your house.
Old 10-07-12, 04:54 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 6
I guess my concern is less about whether the thermostat is incorrectly calibrated but rather the other major issues: are there leaks in the duct work? Windows need replaced?

Also, if their first impression was that these walls were likely hollow, even if there is cellulose, apparently it is not doing a very good job, if their feel test gave them the idea that the walls were hollow. I just cannot believe that if the old part's walls are poorly insulated, which is what I suspect, they would just say, "Welp, okay, don't have to do it now" Seems odd.
Old 10-29-12, 06:42 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 6
OP back....I took your advice, and went out and bought a thermometer. We have been using it in different rooms in the house.

Surprisingly, for the most part, the temperature matches up with the thermostat. Sometimes, it is 2-4 degrees off either way; not sure why. But, usually, it is right on point. However, one side of the house is consistently 4 degrees cooler than the rest of the house. And, one particular room in the house can get as high a 7 degrees higher than the thermostat temp. It is an inner room with no windows, so that may explain some of it.

The humidity has hovered around 50-55% most of the time. 55% is pretty much the normal humidity we get here, with it getting as high as 65%, and never going below 50%.

So, I guess this doesn't have much to do with the insulation. It just does not seem any different in here temperature wise as it did before, and I guess that's what I was expecting with new insulation. I guess we'll see with the utility bill if it made that much of a difference after all.

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