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Old 09-03-2014, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Crafton via San Francisco
3,463 posts, read 4,377,481 times
Reputation: 1595

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Schwabe View Post
What was your experience with the spray in foam insulation? Is it possible to insulate just a small part of the house? I have a relatively recent powder room addition built onto the back of the house that leaks like you wouldn't believe. I'm trying to figure out how I can tighten it up.
Because my house didn't have any open exterior walls, I couldn't do spray foam. Instead I had liquid foam injected from the exterior. When it dries, it's the same as spray foam. My house was vacant for a year before I bought it so I can't tell how much I'm saving on energy costs because the bills show the previous year's use as virtually zero. I did contact quite a few of the references I was given by the company I chose and they reported a 40% - 60% savings in heating and cooling costs.

I wanted an unbiased opinion so I also called an insulation contractor I knew in the Bay Area. He told me that spray foam is best because it fills all the nooks and crannies and won't compress over time, but it is more expensive than blown in. I got one estimate from the foam company and one from a company that does blown in insulation. Now here's the odd thing, the estimate from the foam company was $100 lower than the estimate from the blown in company! I don't know why. Maybe one of them miscalculated the amount of insulation needed? Needless to say I chose the cheaper and better foam insulation. I also got a $500 tax credit. Not sure if that's still in effect.

I'm pretty sure you could get that room insulated. PM me for contact into and details on the company I used.
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:04 PM
 
Location: NW Penna.
1,758 posts, read 3,624,770 times
Reputation: 1877
Didn't read the entire thread, but I just wanted to share my experience with a '40s house constructed of concrete block with brick veneer. Plaster walls. It had zero insulation in the walls. But it did have triple pane windows. In spite of having zero insulation except for some meager and inadequate fiberglass batting in the attic, once you got that house to temperature (either heating or AC), it was pretty efficient to keep it there. I found out fast that the trick to living cheaply in that house was to not monkey with the thermostat, just set it and leave it there. I used an electric space heater as supplemental heat in one room that had a NW exposure. The HVAC was forced air gas. 80% efficiency, with an one GE Weathertron AC unit. Gas water heater, gas range. The gas and electric bills for that house were surprisingly low.

The place I resided previously was a '30s brick apartment building. The walls there also had zero insulation. Plaster walls. The windows were very leaky old wooden single pane double hung. I taped plastic over most of them every winter. I had window AC units in summer. Either summer or winter, I could be comfortable with that setup for reasonable cost. Window AC is cheap and efficient.

Based on those two data points, and living in a wood frame house now, I would pick masonry over frame. And I don't think I'd rush to insulate the walls of an old masonry house with plaster walls, because I'm not convinced that gives very much bang for the buck if you are one who keeps the t-stat at 67-68F or so in winter and 70s in summer. Might be different if you want 80F all winter and 65F all summer, lol. Getting an efficient furnace and decent windows and plugging leaks that allow cold air drafts would be a higher priority for me.

eta: I lived in one early 19oos masonry house in Washington area for about a year. It had steam heat and window AC and decent windows. Again, I don't think insulating the walls would have made any appreciable difference and would have taken a long time to see payback on.
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Old 09-04-2014, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Crafton via San Francisco
3,463 posts, read 4,377,481 times
Reputation: 1595
Quote:
Originally Posted by SorryIMovedBack View Post
Didn't read the entire thread, but I just wanted to share my experience with a '40s house constructed of concrete block with brick veneer. Plaster walls. It had zero insulation in the walls. But it did have triple Pane windows. In spite of having zero insulation of parents t for some meager and inadequate fiberglass batting in the attic, once you got that house to temperature (either heating or AC), it was pretty efficient to keep it there. I found out fast that the trick to living cheaply in that house was to not monkey with the thermostat, just set it and leave it there. I used an electric space heater as supplemental heat in one room that had a NW exposure. The HVAC was forced air gas. 80% efficink iency, with an one GE Weathertron AC unit. Gas water heater, gas range. The gas and electric bills for that house were surprisingly low.

The place I resided previously was a '30s brick apartment building. The walls there also had zero insulation. Plaster walls. The windows were very leaky old wooden single pane double hung. I taped plastic over most of them every winter. I had window AC units in summer. Either summer or winter, I could be comfortable with that setup for reasonable cost. Window AC is cheap and efficient.

Based on those two data points, and living in a wood frame house now, I would pick masonry over frame. And I don't think I'd rush to insulate the walls of an old masonry house with plaster walls, because I'm not convinced that gives very much bang for the buck if you are one who keeps the t-stat at 67-68F or so in winter and 70s in summer. Might be different if you want 80F all winter and 65F all summer, lol. Getting an efficient furnace and decent windows and plugging leaks that allow cold air drafts would be a higher priority for me.

eta: I lived in one early 19oos masonry house in Washington area for about a year. It had steam heat and window AC and decent windows. Again, I don't think insulating the walls would have made any appreciable difference and would have taken a long time to see payback on.
I found out that many older masonry homes, pre-1900, often can't have the walls insulated because there isn't enough space between the walls and the brick. My house had more modern framing so I was able to insulate. It certainly feels more comfortable. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I can't compare costs because my house was vacant the year before I bought it. Again, the references I contacted told me they saw a 40%-60% drop in their heating and cooling costs after insulating. However I didn't think to ask if their homes were wood framed or masonry. Based on what I've heard from my neighbors with uninsulated houses, I'm able to keep my house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter without using as much energy as they do. I also think that many old brick houses are drafty because they need re-pointing.
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Old 09-05-2014, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Troy Hill, The Pitt
1,178 posts, read 1,513,179 times
Reputation: 1080
Quote:
Originally Posted by erieguy View Post
Where's it selfish and wasteful? Unused areas that get logged out, wood used for building, mulch, etc... Soil that gets sold, used on site and in other areas. The house gets built and other trees are planted. Most everything gets used/recycled.

Most of these areas are properties people no longer want, able to maintain, want to maintain, pay taxes on, farm, etc...
Quantity over quality. These places usually require more energy to heat and cool. They're further out necessitating longer commutes to work/play/shopping. A lot of energy towards regular landscaping and sprinklers.

You'd be surprised what the net effect of all of this is.
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Old 09-05-2014, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Troy Hill, The Pitt
1,178 posts, read 1,513,179 times
Reputation: 1080
Quote:
Originally Posted by jea6321 View Post
Its quicker and easier to clear the entire area for infrastructure than it is to work around the topography and trees. Its more cost effective/profitable and they can keep the homes cheaper by doing so. unfortunately consumers are most often driven by price more than anything so to keep the homes as low priced as possible, the developers must do whatever they can to reduce costs.
I get where its quicker and easier. The problem is when everything becomes about "quicker and easier" you usually get a not so nice house on what looks like a golf course. Somehow the thing still costs $500,000 and up.

Some people may like that initially. They won't when they attempt to sell it and have to put money into it to update everything so it doesn't look outdated, but that's for them to find out.
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Old 09-05-2014, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Downtown Cranberry Twp.
34,585 posts, read 13,488,154 times
Reputation: 7084
Quote:
Originally Posted by Q-tip motha View Post
Quantity over quality. These places usually require more energy to heat and cool. They're further out necessitating longer commutes to work/play/shopping. A lot of energy towards regular landscaping and sprinklers.

You'd be surprised what the net effect of all of this is.
I'm well aware. I live in the area/s where these homes are.

You're assuming people care about the complaints you have. Like myself, you couldn't pay these owners to live in or near the city. We'd rather just visit.

Last edited by erieguy; 09-05-2014 at 05:25 PM..
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Old 09-05-2014, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Downtown Cranberry Twp.
34,585 posts, read 13,488,154 times
Reputation: 7084
Quote:
Originally Posted by Q-tip motha View Post
I get where its quicker and easier. The problem is when everything becomes about "quicker and easier" you usually get a not so nice house on what looks like a golf course. Somehow the thing still costs $500,000 and up.

Some people may like that initially. They won't when they attempt to sell it and have to put money into it to update everything so it doesn't look outdated, but that's for them to find out.
Again, we don't care.

If we didnt like it we wouldn't live in them. While you're complaining about navigating through the city, paying excessive Allegheny County/city taxes, potholes, road construction, etc..., complaints from us suburbanites are few and far between with those issues.
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Old 09-05-2014, 06:12 PM
 
Location: About 10 miles north of Pittsburgh International
2,461 posts, read 3,973,742 times
Reputation: 2370
Quote:

These places usually require more energy to heat and cool.
I'm sorry. Are you saying that today's new construction is less energy efficient than the older houses in question?
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Old 09-05-2014, 06:35 PM
 
3,240 posts, read 2,858,269 times
Reputation: 2259
Smh
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:01 PM
 
6,498 posts, read 8,230,370 times
Reputation: 4581
Quote:
Originally Posted by Q-tip motha View Post
Quantity over quality. These places usually require more energy to heat and cool. They're further out necessitating longer commutes to work/play/shopping. A lot of energy towards regular landscaping and sprinklers.
I always have to laugh a little to myself when I hear people talk about their sprinkler system. I don't think they're wrong to have, but the only time people mention them to me is when they break. And then they act like it's on the same level as a major roof leak or the furnace dying. A coworker of mine just bought a foreclosure house in Peters and has been doing some legitimately needed work, but was also lamenting about the cost of repairing the sprinkler system and about how it couldn't wait. Dude, it's a sprinkler system...100% a luxury that absolutely could wait.

This isn't really an old vs. new thing, it's just hard to keep things in perspective sometimes. To use myself as an example, I was in a huge rush to get rid of my drop ceilings when I moved in, but really it wasn't urgent for any reason other than that I wanted it to be urgent.
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