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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Do it Yourself Discussion! => Topic started by: mavendrill on January 17, 2019, 10:02:42 AM

Title: Sequence of Insulating Tasks
Post by: mavendrill on January 17, 2019, 10:02:42 AM
I have a series of home improvement tasks I am planning, and not sure on the best order to do them... which is now leading me to avoid doing all of them.
My home is a 1940s cottage that has had two expansions.  The second expansion included proper insulation.  Neither the original or first expansion has insulation in walls.  The attic has some, but inadequate in both the first addition and the original house.  We live in the south, where winters are mild but summers are brutal.  Most of the work to be done is in the attic, which from March-October is typically north of 100 degrees, and frequently higher.

The list of to do things:
Kitchen vent goes into attic, barely works, has no hood, and lots of air infiltrate kitchen.  I want to replace, and vent to outside.
Guest Bathroom has no fan/vent
Master Bathroom has fan, but either it is broken, or no switch controls it.  Regardless, it doesn't work.  It vents to attic.  I want to redress.
We have a whole house fan, I want to remove (The outside temp never drops to levels that would make it usable except late at night when it will wake up kids).  Currently the opening is sealed with rigid foam board and good stuff.  I want to drywall and seal.
The attic needs air sealing.
We are going to add ~12 recessed lighting fixtures to the newest addition to the home (not 100% sure we will do recessed, but the walls are hideous faux-wood paneling and it is crazy dark in there.
We need to add insulation to the attic in the original part of the home.
Potentially related, we have popcorn ceilings we hate and I want excuses to take the popcorn off and make smooth (mostly relevant because cosmetic changes to the ceilings are fairly welcome).

There is no seal between the home and crawlspace/basement, which I probably want to address, but probably doesn't fight the above for priorities.

Any advice on what order to do would be greatly appreciated, as the whole list keeps me in procrastination mode, and I only have 6-8 weeks before it gets so hot its unlikely I will be able to work in the attic.
Title: Re: Sequence of Insulating Tasks
Post by: Fishindude on January 17, 2019, 10:39:47 AM
When it comes to energy efficiency in a home, pick the low hanging fruit (easy stuff) first.   
* Make sure all doors are weatherstripped and seal up good.   
* If windows are drafty, cover them with plastic short term, then get on a plan to replace as you can afford.   
* Fans vented into attic are no good, will cause problems, I'd quit using them and temporarily seal them off until you can properly replace.   
* If you don't like the whole house fan, temporarily seal it off, then remove and properly patch the opening when you can.

Most of the items above to seal up drafts will make a big difference and can be done pretty economically.   As you can afford it:
* Have your entire attic insulated with at least 12" of material, and make sure it's properly vented as well.
* Blow in some wall insulation in the un-insulated walls.
* Crawl space exterior walls can be insulated with spray foam from floor level to down below grade to seal things off.
* If you do the recessed lighting, follow all of the details regarding insulation so they do not become additional sources of drafts.
* Lastly, upgrade your HVAC equipment if necessary.
Title: Re: Sequence of Insulating Tasks
Post by: trollwithamustache on January 18, 2019, 08:56:40 AM
fix the vents first. bad air needs to go away properly.

Then the recessed lighting, with a goal of using some of that quality time in the attic to better plan the sealing and the later insulation work.

if time permits tackle the sealing then the insulation. If it doesn't, you have your list for the next year. This work is probably most efficient if done after all your wall/roof/whatever penetrations projects are done.

Note: this is the work efficiency priority, not house energy efficiency priority that others have suggested.