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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Improving heating efficiency: Setting priorities

    Hi everyone!

    I recently purchased a 1200 square foot, 1910 bungalow in St. Paul, MN. The house has a 15+ year-old gas furnace (forced air). It also has a combination of the original single-pane windows (many of which are missing storms) and cheap vinyl replacement windows (most of which have broken latches).

    Over the winter, I put plastic over the windows, installed thermal curtains, and kept the thermostat at or below 65 degrees, but my energy bill was still around $300/month and most of the house (especially upstairs) wasn't particularly comfortable.

    I am already planning to add insulation to my attic (there's very little/none there at the moment), but I am wondering whether I should consider replacing the windows and/or the furnace. If yes, which should be higher on my priority list? Or is there something else I should consider doing instead (like insulating the exterior walls)?

    Thanks very much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    693

    Default Re: Improving heating efficiency: Setting priorities

    I would insulate the attic first, walls second, windows third and furnace last. That was the route I took on my first and last house flip.

    I shudder when I hear about those kinds of heating bills. I was very conservative last winter in my 1500 two story and my highest bill was $86.00. My windows are not all that great either although they are all double pane.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    OKC
    Posts
    247

    Default Re: Improving heating efficiency: Setting priorities

    I agree with NEC, just adding insulation will make a huge difference.
    HOPE THIS IS HELPFUL!

    Oklahoma City, OK

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    OKC
    Posts
    247

    Default Re: Improving heating efficiency: Setting priorities

    your furnace should be 80% efficient if its only 15 years old, if so thats adequite.
    HOPE THIS IS HELPFUL!

    Oklahoma City, OK

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Needham, MA
    Posts
    559

    Default Re: Improving heating efficiency: Setting priorities

    agreed, full insulation first, attic if you need to start somewhere, heat rises....then windows, then furnace.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Improving heating efficiency: Setting priorities

    Thanks very much for the quick and helpful response!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Improving heating efficiency: Setting priorities

    One thing you might consider ..... if your furnace is 15 years old have it checked over thoroughly to ensure it will be in good enough shape to run another couple of years and the heat exchanger isn't cracked . Otherwise you may be changing the priorities and your budget.

    If it's good to go then start off with the insulating and air sealing ....look at putting an R40 in the attic and R15 - 19 in the walls.Cellulose would be worth looking into being reasonably affordable and can be installed into existing wall cavities. The windows can be replaced later as your budget allows.


    2 cents worth.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Improving heating efficiency: Setting priorities

    I agree with all the above replys. Good point by Canuk, that you do need to make sure that the furnace is ok.
    A recent example is a furnace that several technicians had tuned up but had not inspected the exchanger between the fire and the chimney. When we opened it up, it was packed with soot. The furnace had been running far more than it should have been!

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