Energy efficient home - insulation and heaters

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I want to make my home more energy efficient. I live in a 2-family, 3-story brownstone that is over 100 years old. I currently have a recently purchased gas furnace with little to no insulation in my walls or ceilings. I have 9 foot ceilings. I live on 2 of the 3 floors that have a total of 2,400 square feet of living space. I would say that the builing is 30 feet wide and 40 feet long. The windows are huge and have recently been replaced. Most of the walls are drywalls and a few walls are actually plaster.
The first thing that I want to do is install insulation.
1. Is it more cost effective to use foam (poured or spray) insulation or break down the walls to install typical insulation? What is generally the cost of each based on per square foot? 2. If I have foam insulation installed, what are the concerns? Do I need to be concerned about a vapor barrier, which I do not have right now? What other concerns? 3. Can I spray foam insulation by myself? Or should I use an installer? How much could I save if I did it myself? 4. I have an open layout in the 1st floor. Do I need to insulate the ceiling between the first and second floor? 5. Do I need to insulate the ceiling between the 2nd and 3rd floor? The 3rd floor is not my apartment.
Next I want to add baseboard heating and install a boiler:
1. What kind of boiler do I need? 2. Should I choose baseboard or radiator? 3. Is it worth it to install this system if I have forced air heat? My system doesn't feel adequate enough but maybe that is due to the lack of insulation. 4. Would it be difficult having each room with its own thermostat? 8 rooms altogether.
I have a huge front door with gaps around all four sides. Although I have a foyer door that eliminates some of the draft, what can I do to fix those gaps. The door is over 3 feet wide and around 8 feet tall. Conventional weatherproofing supplies don't fit. I am thinking of replacing the door altogether. But I wanted to save the front door if possible. I tried to place a rubber strip on the bottom of the door but there is still some space. I even have a mail slot that is not air tight.
1. What should I do? replace the door and frame?
I would also appreciate any other advice you might have. Thanks.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I also need to think about whether I should repoint my exterior brick. The space in between the brick is very very thin. I can't tell if I need to repoint but a contractor mentioned it to me. Do I need to do this in conjunction with everything else?
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I had cellulose blown into the walls.
Bob
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Bob,
Correct me if I am wrong but I was informed that cellulose would cost more to install if my walls were already closed. What are your thoughts on this insulation? What did you do in preparation of this installation? Did you need to worry about a vapor barrier? How do you like the results? Bob F wrote:

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They drilled 1" holes from the outside through the siding to install it, and inserted plastic "plugs" to cover them. My house is older, with older oil paint on interior walls, which I understand is a pretty good vapor barrier. Then again, I live in seattle, which doesn't have the extreme temp differentials of most of the northern US, nor the need for humidfiers.
The house felt significantly less "drafty" after wall insulation, and bills went down.
Bob

walls
that
and
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First off, your supposed to insulate first, then replace the furnace after doing the appropriate calculation to determine the size necessary (size should go down). You will end up with an oversized furnace that will be less efficient and short cycle.
And if you have a limited amount of space to insulate, go with the foam because it has a higher R value than anything else. That's even if you have wal cavities to fill in.
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installer? How much could I save if I did it myself?
There are kits available online for this. Search for them. Very few people try to insulate their house with foam.

ceiling between the first and second floor? 5. Do I need to insulate the ceiling between the 2nd and 3rd floor? The 3rd floor is not my apartment.
The main reason why you might want to insulate inbetween floors is if someone else lives on the floor above or below you. You want to put regular fiberglass insulation there or something else to absorb the noise. However, I have heard of people doing it just to trap heat, but it's not very common.
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If I wanted to do it, what are my options if I don't want to break down the ceilings? Can I still use foam? snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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Not sure what the cost would be in NJ, but in the Springfield, MA area w/ brick exterior you would pay around $2.00 a SF. If you are thinking of having the brick repointed this is a perfect time to insulate w/ cellulose 1" holes would be drilled into the mortar, and cellulose would be blown on. When done the holes would be filled with new mortar. The cellulose should be blown in 3.5 pounds per cubic foot. Cellulose, when blown at the correct density works as an air barrier. This would eliminate a need for a vapor barrier. You may want to consider having an energy specialist come to your home and perform a blower door test. This will test the building tightness, and show where the air leaks are in the building envelope.
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Is cellulose better than other foam insulation? What are the advantages? Is is better to install this insulation fromt he outside? Please note that the front of my building has very thin mortar. 1" holes would be completely visible. snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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On 22 Jan 2007 13:17:26 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Don't give up. Maybe they can make other kinds of holes.
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mm wrote:

better thru indoor walls, a good plasterer can fix them so you never knew wall was disturbed.
dare not insulate till the K&T situation is cleared up
the bottom line........
at some point the cost of insulating will exceed the energy saved while living in the home...
how much above that are you willing to spend?
insulating cielings nets large savings, walls not as much. so I insulated opur cielingts many years ago, and may do the walls in the future, they have no insulation.
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Do you know where I can find a specialist to perform a blower door test?
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Check w/ your utility companys. They will have programs and contractors they use. You can also go on the DOE web site. They may have a direction for you to go in, as far as finding a contractor.
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Does anyone know of a company that will perform the blower door test (or energy audit) for a house located in northern NJ? I called PSEG and they no longer perform these tests nor do they know anyone who can help. I checked the DOE website and did not find anything. I checked the yellow pages but didn't find anything either. Thanks.
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Where?
Nick
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Newark, NJ snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Please note that sealing can be more important than insulation; I'd suspect it's an issue after 110 yrs.
There are all manner of seal material available- some can close 1/4" gap. Were I you, I'd research this thoroughly, given the potential of huge, immediate savings. And curtailment of waste. Insulated door wouldn't hurt, either.
J
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Most of my home is brick and there are some wood areas which probably have gaps. There might also be gaps in between the brick due to crumbled mortar. I could probably only seal the wood from the outside. And I would love to repoint but I hear that is very expensive. When I replaced the doors and windows, I tried to use as much foam sealant as possible.
What would you recommend?

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

<SNIP,SNIP,SNIP>
Wait. Brownstone = Row House?
Unless you have the end unit, there is no point in insulating the "party" walls between houses. Nada.
And there is only one ceiling to insulate. That is the one under the roof. Typically, the house will have a flat roof with very little space between ceiling and roof deck. And very little ventilation. This calls for strict attention to moisture control or you will have major problems.
That leaves only the front and rear walls. Unless they have been "built out" (or in), you probably have a 1" air space to insulate in.
Except for the roof (which may be a big BTU loss) you may be quite limited in what you can achieve.
Post back if I have the style of building incorrect.
Jim (formerly of Weehawken)
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