Insulating my old house
Have read the DOE fact sheet and their website. I'd like someone to sanity check what it looks to me we are suppose to do and answer some of my questions.
Our old house is a 1956 single story Ranch in the Oakland hills (945xx zip code) with an attached 2+ garage. We only see frost 3-10 days the entire Winter. It is shaped in an 'L' with the garage in the angle/corner where the 2 wings meet. It has vented crawlspace under the floor for all but the garage and enclosed patio. They are concrete slab. Our furnace is from 1973, and our ducts/vents may be as old as the house itself. We'd like to take care of them (HVAC & vents) AFTER we insulate the rest of the house.
1) ID how much you need and how much you have for your region/zipcode or based upon an audit (DIY or professional).
2) ID and fix air leaks. See step 4 & 5. In other words, do the attic and crawlspace 1st.
3) ID and fix any mositure problems
4) Insulate attic (up to R-38). Batt/roll is easiest for DIY homeowner. NOTE: When I did the calulations for our zipcode and a VH efficiency heater (90%+) it went down to R-30. Why so?
- How would we seal up air leaks before we insulate?
- we have about 2-3" of rock wool.
- we do not see any moisture retardant/barrier below the rock wool
- we have IC can lighting throughout the kitchen, family room and some small ones as accents in various other rooms (e.g., along the fireplace in living room). I do not know (yet) whether they are "air tight" or not. If they are, can we lay the batting over them? Or do we still need some loose batting around them?
- How do we insulate over the garage wich shares the common attic? BTW, the main attic hatch is in the garage. There is also a secondary one in a one of the bedroom closets.
- How do we insulate suntubes and ceilings that go up to skylights?
5) Insulate the floor over the crawlspace(up to R-13) since it is vented to the outside. Insulate the hotwater pipes.
- If we put in a hot water recirc for the master bath (which is farthest from the hater heater, does that make any difference? OR If we put in 2 local water heaters for the Masterbath's shower and sink, does that make any difference.
- How close to thew hot water heater do we insulate the pipes? It seems they are recommending within 3 feet as well as byond 3 feet. Our HVAC heater and hot water heater are both in the same closet, just inside from the garage. But I dobth that that wall is insulated or fire retardant.
- It looks like the reflective roll at HD is easist to install for the DIY, and costs about the same as batts/rolls. Is it actually R-15 to 17 like it is advertised? Are there any drawbacks to using it?
6) Insulate walls only when we retrofit/add siding or replace windows. I've read 2 conflicting views.
7) upgrade our ventilation ducting (as need be) and HVAC.