email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Monday, July 28, 2014

28 Year Old House Renovation Plans

I've sure been doin some research and talking to contractors (and checking with subsidy programs from my electrical supplier lately)!  I have pages of notes.  And I am darn near worn out just trying to combine all the possibilities.

The various contractors all promise 30% energy use reductions in just a few years.  Well, if I believed them all, I wouldn't be paying ANYTHING for electricity or water in just 3 years.  R I I G H T !

The electrical supplier site suggests I can reduce my bill 30-50% with 5-8 year paybacks.  The Govt  sites say about the same.  Those seem more reasonable and trustable.  So I could save $1,000-$1500 per year by spending $8,000 now.  Seems reasonable.

The best savings seem to come from...

1.  Attic blown insulation (gaining from R-12 to R-49).
2.  Attic baffles directing outside soffit heat to the roof vent.
3.  Basement blown insulation.
4.  Expanding/Sealant around the the attic and basement edges.
5.  Having the ducts scraped clean to improve air flow.
6.  Installing a low blow attic fan.
7.  Having the existing heat pump tuned.

An almost none of that was what I expected when I started to investigate this.  I thought it would be all new triple-pane windows and door weatherstripping!

I've learned otherwise...  Its all about proper insulation.  The standard batted stuff is crap.  It never fits tightly, and it never does the job.  But it is cheap for the builders and looks good.

My house is totally electric.  The average bill is $220 per month.  Which isn't horrible.  But if I stay here 10 years (and I probably will), I could save a few thousand $ in some simple ways.  Items 1-4 +6 seem like the way to go for me. 

But I'm still having a few geothermal companies come by for estimates.  That could save LOTS in 20 years.  More a selling point than an advantage I will see.  But I may stay here long enough, so who knows?  And I like the idea, personally and ideologically.


Megan said...

But weren't you seriously thinking about moving in a couple of years' time? That's not a reason not to go ahead, but ... buyers won't necessarily appreciate the merit of better insulation, unless, of course, you show them your before and after electricity bills.

Interesting to learn of the size of your electricity bill. Ours for an all-electric house occupied by 2 people is just a little more, on average - say $250 per month. More in summer when we run the air conditioner; less in winter, as we don't use a heater. I had understood that electricity in the US was much cheaper than it is here, so I was surprised to read about your bills.

Sydney, Australia

Thumper said...

We had our ducts cleaned and sealed...I don't know how much energy savings it presented, but the state gave us $250 back for doing it, and the house smelled better.

We're considering getting better insulation, as well, not necessarily for savings on our power bill, but for comfort. The bedroom side of the house gets unreasonably warm during the summer, and better insulation is about the only thing we can figure will help.

Funny enough, the best thing for the kitchen side of the house was removing a window. The temps dropped by several's much nicer in here now.

Katnip Lounge said...

We had blown-in insulation added and it DID make quite a bit of difference...especially in the summer when we get huge amounts of radiant heat.

Have you considered solar or is it not feasible in your climate? We are thrilled with ours.