This is lengthy, so be forwarned.
I have an addition on my house(I've only been here 3 yrs) I found out that
the addition was put on in 1983. From what we can tell, it is on some kind
of poured cement walls, like you'd find in a basement, but we don't know how
far down they went or if they are on footers.. They bumped out half of the
back wall(the family room wall and the kitchen wall)they added on a room
apprx. 14' x 24', a vaulted ceiling and a corner fireplace...the problem is,
they left no access to the underneath...this room is freezing...we know that
the only insulation underneath was a single roll of paper backed yellow
batting(insulation) that at one time was stapled to the undersides of the
beams, that has since fallen to the ground, that is only about 12" below(not
enough room to crawl around under there even if we had a way in)we need to
get this room better insulated and some heat to it. There is one heat vent
on the outside wall, and the tube runs underneath the floor, above the
ground, so by the time the air gets to the vent, it's already cold...thats a
span of 14', no wonder its cold.
We were thinking about ripping up the carpet and flooring to expose the
beams and add some kind of a vapor barrier(which we know, there isn't
any)and use furring strips to hold up some insulation close to the floor
along with putting in radiant heat flooring. Any other ideas on how to make
this room livable? or any advice on what we're thinking about doing?
Wonder why they didn't just pour the floor. But if there are wood
beams, I'd be careful about adding vapor barrier, as you dont want the
wood to rot. Is there circulation between the crawl space and the
outside, or the inside? You're probably losing a lot of heat through
the ceiling, is there any insulation up there?
Try drilling a plug in the floor and injecting cellouse in the
opening. I do not sugesst you doing this yourself, I would reccomend a
reputable insulating company
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Depending on how floor is constructed, it may be less work to add an outside
access hatch, and manually dig out the crawlspace to a usable height.
Neither solution is attractive. There are companies that advertise that they
dig out crawls into partial or full basements. Dig an access trench, punch
through a short section of foundation, and start carrying buckets and
barrows of dirt. As long as you don't undermine existing foundation, house
won't fall down. For people that actually go for a usable basement, you end
up with a double foundation wall, with a ledge inbetween, connecting the
inner and outer rings of concrete. To just get a usable crawl would be a lot
less work than that. One man-height trench up the middle, and just keep
raking the dirt down into the wheelbarrow. You do have to re-engineer any
interior piers as you go, of course, but that shouldn't be a big deal.
Can you insulate the floor - yes.
Will insulating the floor change the temperature much in the room - I
Insulating the floor won't change the performance of your central
heating (which you say is blowing cold air).
You haven't described the ceiling, but that's the first place to look
for heat loss. The walls are probably next. Not much heat gets out of
the floor. Insulating the floor will help keep heat in - but you won't
notice the difference if most of the heat is going through the ceiling.
whew, your questions and description sure did lead to a wide variety of
responses. People suggesting digging up your crawl space, etc. Digging up
your crawl space will in no way make your room more livable.
First - how is the cooling in the summer? If cooling is fine then I would
consider abandoning the 14' run from your old furnace for heating. It was
certainly an afterthought anyway. If you have insulation that's fallen get a
kid who can squeeze into the space to staple it back into place. That's not
your problem anyway.
So, how to we get cost effective and comfortable heat into this room. First,
I would look at the fireplace. Is this a woodburner? If not, I would
consider converting to gas. Many gas units can be hooked up and retrofitted
for general heating purposes. This room would then have its own thermostat.
If you didn't want to mess with your fireplace then I would consider adding
either radiant floor or hot water baseboard heat. Both are very comfortable.
The baseboard would be a bit more efficient but also somewhat unsightly. The
underfloor radiant is not seen. Both will require a boiler of some type.
Your installer will suggest one. Your installer will also have a
recommendation for which choice is best in your situation.
As others have suggested, insulation is important too but is worthless if
you have no heat to actually contain. I do agree though that the floor is
the least likely place for heat loss.
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