Proper insulation for the Chicagoland area?

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We recently purchased an brand new home in August and this is our first year in the house. The house is much larger then my previous house (3200 sqft vs 2400 sqft) and I've noticed that the furnace runs much longer and much more often then my previous house. Based on the specs of the builder, they put in R-11 batts in the ceiling with R-27 blow in "for tight insulation" and R-13 batts in the walls.
Does this sound sufficient? I'm not sure what the total R value would be for the ceiling (do you add the R-11 and R-27 to come up with R-38)?
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ATJaguarX wrote:

Yes, "R" values are additive.
Running longer is hard to compare -- need too much info unavailable such as the heat outputs of the two units, setpoints, etc.
More frequently at a similar setpoint could be indicative you have some air infiltration problems that weren't solved despite the amount of insulation installed. Or you w/ the larger house you also have a lot more window area. Are they thermal windows or storms; what about the doors--many new houses I see anymore don't have storm doors. Higher ceilings can add much move volume than simply the difference in area would imply as well. What about basement/slab comparison and what was done there or in the crawl space?
It's possible an energy audit could do some good -- again, first place to check with is the local utility companies or state/county/city for cost share or cost-free programs.
--
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Assuming you got what you mention, it is quite adequate. As mentioned below, there could be other things leaking and then maybe the furnace just is too small for your house.
I leave my blower run 24/7/365. Well 366 this year. I get more even hvac that way.

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I have noticed that a have a good variance in temperatures in the rooms on the 2nd floor in the corners of the house. I keep my thermostat at 68/69 and one of the bedrooms can drop to 63 with the door closed at night (we try to keep the bedroom doors open). Would leaving the fan run 24/7 help keep room temps consistent? Isn't this excessive wear and tear on the blower?
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wrote in message
I have noticed that a have a good variance in temperatures in the rooms on the 2nd floor in the corners of the house. I keep my thermostat at 68/69 and one of the bedrooms can drop to 63 with the door closed at night (we try to keep the bedroom doors open). Would leaving the fan run 24/7 help keep room temps consistent? Isn't this excessive wear and tear on the blower?
BRRRR. I keep mine on 77 24/7/365 too.
A fan pulls maybe 17 amp starting load and runs on about 3 amp. Cost wise is about a wash. They are made to run continuous. I ran my previous furnace for 18 years like that with no problems and am now running my 2 year one the same way. The new one had even better bearings than the old one. Run it.
And yes continuous will make it more even. You may need to damper down the warmer rooms to push more into the cool rooms too.
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I have been toying with the dampers for the past month and have not found a good solution to keeping the rooms an even temperature. I have been able to even it out pretty well (+/- a few degress between rooms)... I'm getting close. My only concern with running the fan 24/7 is that the volume levels of the return vents. They do produce a "vacuum" sound that I would have to get used to.
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In regards to the windows, we have "Energy efficient double pane-low e vinyl windows"... thats all I know. I have noticed, on very windy days, air will enter the house through the side tracks in which the lower sash rises and lowers in. I appologize for not knowing all the lingo.
Our house did not come with a storm door. This house does have a 2 story foyer and a "morning room", which is entirely made up of 3 walls of windows.
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ATJaguarX wrote: ...

Any air infiltration of that type that you can actually feel a breeze is a killer on thermal efficiency. That indicates to me either a very cheap window was used or the installation isn't up to par. Perhaps the external barrier was cut back excessively when they were installed and the cavity around them not insulated/sealed. If it's really around the tracks themselves, may not be a lot you can do but if it were a really new house I'd be on the builder about it to at least get an opinion as to the "why". He'll undoubtedly claim it's not his fault, but you might learn something (like the house you bought was a spec house and of course he didn't put in anything except a cheap window or somesuch).

I'd get a storm door in the morning if it were mine. But, w/ that much glass you have a problem no doubt that you're always going to have--heating in the winter, cooling in the summer. Large, thermal drapes to cover them on occasion (like at night) might help noticeably. If they're fixed, might even consider covering them w/ an external clear storm to provide an additional dead air space.
On the other post re: upstairs corners of rooms -- may be that the insulation in the attic wasn't blown evenly all the way to the corners of the house -- you may only have the R-11 batt extending to the corners of the room. Those are the kinds of things you can find out if you go look, but an energy audit professional (if any good at all) will know to check for along w/ a lot of other details.
Leaving the fan running may help in comfort by circulating air and minimizing cold spots. I wouldn't be concerned about the wear issue--w/ enough time you might be able to get a feel for whether it aids comfort enough additional to make it worth it by allowing for a slightly lower setpoint--or not.
--
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I have the builder coming out Friday to look over a few things (one of them being this heating issue). Yes, on windy days, I can put my fingers over/into the track that the lower slides on and feel a good breeze coming through it. I have temporarily shoved tissue into it to stop the breeze. We actually had the people that installed the windows come out for a seperate issue and he said that the air is normal (he experienced it first hand). Unfortunately, my wife was at the house and didn't demand a better answer like I would have.
I have been wanting to put up thermal drapes/blinds over the "morning room" windows since we've moved in... haven't found anything we like in terms of style.
Do you think a storm door on the front of the house would help significantly?
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ATJaguarX wrote:

...
If that really is "normal" for those windows, then they're crap (that's a technical term :) ). I'd still be curious if the air is actually penetrating through the window itself or around the window in the cavity and that's where it's coming out as it is behind where the real weatherseal of the window itself is located. I'd ask the builder if he can determine that while he's there -- he probably has enough experience to get an idea.
Do you know the make/series of the windows? W/ specifics, someone else may know or could at least look at the manufacturer's spec's.

Overall, sounds as you have bigger issues so "significantly" would be relative. In comparison to what you're losing there, yes--in comparison to the overall leakage probably not a lot give what else you've described. So, I'd probably back off of "tomorrow" to "next week" or "this winter" :) .
--



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Last night, it was approx 0 degrees out. I turned the furnace down to 62 before we left for a day trip. When I returned last night at 9pm, I set the furnace back to 68 (where I normally keep it) and it took approx 2.5 hours for the house to heat from 62 to 68. This seems very excessive to me.
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ATJaguarX wrote:

Not _nearly_ enough data to go on.
If it were a heat pump, for example, at those temperatures you would be operating on "emergency" heat and that may be well under-sized.
Or, it may just be undersized owing to all the heat losses we've discussed elsewhere.
--
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Any truth to this statement?
"A properly-sized system is designed as closely as possible to the needs of the house; on the coldest days of the year, it should run almost continuously."
http://www.hometips.com/cs-protected/guides/furnaces/furnace_size.html
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wrote:

Any truth to this statement?
I believe so. I had the HVAC designer size the furnace (gas fired, hot air) just that way when we built a house in northern Ohio some five years ago. The comfort level has been fine on the coldest days. We set the temperature to 50F when we're away on trips and it takes several hours upon return to reach the normal 68F. That's a bit inconvenient; but our fuel bills compared to several neighbors are significantly less for similar sized houses.
TKM "A properly-sized system is designed as closely as possible to the needs of the house; on the coldest days of the year, it should run almost continuously."
http://www.hometips.com/cs-protected/guides/furnaces/furnace_size.html
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I know the windows are made by SilverLine. I'll have the find out more information on the series.
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The SilverLine windows are double hung windows. I pulled open the lower sash last night and noticed that there is only a small piece of "fuzzy" felt like material that seals the lower sash on the sides when closed. I believe, on windy days, the wind makes it way through this "fuzzy" felt and into the weight chambers and up and into the room. I wonder if I should install better weather stripping on the windows myself.
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On Thu, 3 Jan 2008 08:30:37 -0800 (PST), ATJaguarX

Might help. Another *possibility* is added on storm windows. That is what I have here, giving three pieces of glass, and an additional barrier against winter's cold winds.
I'd also contact Silverline directly and make sure your windows are teh right ones for the climate.
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Well, since they've already been installed, I don't see the builder admitting he was wrong and replacing them (since has the same windows on 100 other houses).
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Are you talking about internal storm windows?
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On Thu, 3 Jan 2008 18:54:48 -0800 (PST), ATJaguarX

Mine are aluminum on the outside of wood double hung windows. The 'typical' setup... <g>
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