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RE: Energy Audit Post Mortem....Your thoughts are needed! (Follow-Up #51)

posted by: energy_rater_la on 01.12.2010 at 03:50 pm in Old House Forum

Yeah! Pictures!
Starting with picture 1
not mice holes at one time some electrical lines or plumbing lines ran through this area
pic 2 caulk sill once air infiltration is stopped
insulate this would apply to all sill plates
pic 3
remove batt insulation seal around each line. these are
hvac lines and power they should be caulked where the penetrate the building envelope
pic 4
on attic side of door install foam sheating board
1" or two layres of 1" liquid nail and button cap nails to hold in place. this will add insulation to the door
door should also be weatherstripped and have a sill that stops air infiltration
pic 5
I'd add a second 2" of foam sheathing to stop air movement down the starcase. take a razor knife to custom fit the sheating to fit tightly and weatherstrip
this allows a huge amount of air to come down the staircase.this top of staircase hatch would stop the bulk
and the secondary air leak stop point would be the door.
it may also benefit you to caulk the stairs to the walls and wood joints of stairs.
pic 6
this is the one I found most interesting..your insulation beneath the floor is not in contact with the flooring
(and it will be better in some places and worse in others)
this creates a cold (this time of year) air pocket above the insulation. air movement through this pocket keeps insulation below from performing and de-rates the R-value.
on top of this is approx 2" of wood at R1 per inch. so you have insulation..air movenent area effecting the insulation in the ceiling joist and then 2" of R-2 as opposed to R-4 per inch. this is a thermal break in the insulation made worse by void in insulation below.
pic 7
yep..voids..insulation not in full contact with flooring of attic
pic 8
ok..gap at bottom..vented attic..unvented? I agree to install missing section..and weatherstrip it keep that air from moving across the insulation..windows in attics will condensate although there are similar temps on each side
pic 9 ditto
pic 10
nice install..that it is over floored attic is the only issue I have with it.
(how much of attic is floored and would you pick up the flooring above insulation??)
also...dig some of that insulation out from around that fireplace..bet the insulation will be dirty from the air leakage between the brick and attic flooring..an indication of air leakage..the other end of the leakage would be felt inside where the chimney enters the conditioned space creating a chase for the attic air to enter the house.. caulking will solve the interior leakage
it may take fire rated caulk or foam from inside the attic
althoug sometimes I use ductboard and fire rated caulk.
you have to be careful what materials you put in contact with the brick. ductboard has a fire rating.
pic11
that same foam board that you are going to custom fit to make a hatch to open before entering this space should be used to make sides of a 'box' for this hatch to sit into
once insulation issues are resolved cut foam board to seal from framing to flooring caulk and air seal and cut the foam board sides of this box to create a damn to hold the blown insulation in place. you can use foam board (easy to work with) or build the box with a 1x caulking to air seal.
pic 12
oh well..push it back he/she was checking the depth
and yes it is virtually useless in the floored area
(see above for why)
pic 13
yep..like the fireplace both are leakage areas
pic 14 & 15
ah...balloon framing..this is attic opening..under floor would be the other air chase that your walls are comprised of.
pic 16
how big are those gaps? you can purchase backer rods to put
in gaps larger than 1/4". put backer rod into gap and caulk both sides of backer rods to air seal. then install trim piece over this and caulk trim in place.

this like the fireplace interior sealing is the secondary leakage entry. my question would be..where is the primary leakage.

___________________________________________________________
ok here is my disclaimer....
first this is an online opinion
second..I'm in Louisiana..minimal cold weather experience
(well except for the below freezing week this year and the snow last year>>)
Also..in my area we have no basements..

_______________________________________________________
I don't think you got as much info as you could have gotten from your auditor. but for $375 including a IR scan..you got a good price.

I would have hoped that he/she would have show you more leakage sites with suggestions on sealing..but for the cost..like me I am sure that more would have been charged for a more detailed report. Wish we could see the IR images!

We have a LOT of balloon framed homes here. mostly older homes where balloon framing helped in the summer with cooling.

Our solution for homes on piers is to foam insulate the floor (lots of leakage in floors..plumbing penetrations..those 6"x6" bath drain holes..electrical penetrations) foam will seal most openings under 8".
The foam would also be used to seal balloon framed walls.
this would be your most cost effective (vs time and materials of diy) to achieve this.

What you have going on in your walls is a convective current where walls are heated on one side and cold on the other. stopping the air movemnent caused by no sole or top plate will be a huge benefit.
air at rest is a better insulator that moving air. not as good as fg, cellulose, rockwool or foam..but if you are looking for cost effectiveness...stop the air movement,

As far as the attic goes..
at the very least..I would diy moving the insulation back from all the exterior walls and foam sealing the tops of the open framed walls. the foam should seal this area to the attic flooring (so move that insulation back about 2' to allow for this) and the foam should cover the wall openings and seal to the roof deck.
then the issue of the wood and air space becomes LESS of an issue as the bulk of the air movement would be stopped.

now you would get into the issue of closed cell vs open cell.
see location disclaimer..
we use open cell here as it allows any moisture to dissapate. it isn't a question for me..because I've learned it is not if it leaks..but when it leaks..

once you stop the convective current in the walls you would need to get caulk..cases.
caulk floor moldings at bottom to floor and top to walls
caulk ceiling moldings at top to ceilings and bottoms to walls.
and around cabinets in kitchen and baths..look for spiderwebs as an indication of air leakage sites.
window frames to walls aprons to sills
door frames to walls.
this will help to catch the rest of the wall leakage not addressed with foam insulation.

basement issues...not going there!

this is all based on my experiences and how we address
similar issues in my area.

hopes this helps & best of luck

NOTES:

Good info on air sealing residential structure
clipped on: 06.17.2011 at 10:51 pm    last updated on: 06.17.2011 at 10:52 pm