I live in Minnesota and while I suspected my attached garage was not
insulated I just now got around to actually checking. The builder
sheetrocked the attached garage without insulating first. There is no
insulation in the attic/ceiling, either. Question: Is it worth it to
tear the sheetrock off and insulate (ie. is it going to make that much
of a difference in heating/cooling bills)?
Most sites I have found emphasize the importance of having an attached
So long as the adjoining walls in the living space that share a common
wall with the garage are insulated to normal exterior wall specs for
your area, and the door from the house to the garage is an insulated
door, then the only downside is that it gets really cold in the garage
in the winter.
How far North are you? Do dipstick heaters get used around there??
Insulating the garage walls and ceiling is a daunting challenge with
little energy payback to the household. Adding the garage to the
conditioned space is NOT a good idea!! Garage doors are very energy leaky!!
We are in SE Minnesota so it's not like we are north of the Arctic
circle, but it gets cold and it's quite windy. The wall between the
living area and the garage is insulated correctly, as far as I know.
The door is insulated, as well, but I am considering maybe a storm door
into the garage, now.
Not sure what a dipstick heater is and while I have no plans to add the
garage to the conditioned space I was a little annoyed to see that the
builder sheetrocked without insulating. I'd have thought if he did not
want to insulate at least it would have been left unfinished to give
the owner the option.
Ok, not far enough north for dipstick heaters.
Oil gets very viscous on sub zero weather. A long time ago, I visited
in eastern Quebec (north of northernmost Maine) in February. The hotel
had outlets at every outdoor parking spot, and every car that drove in
had a extension cord hanging out over the radiator. Plug the cord
into the outlet and oil temps stayed above freezing. Seemed like when
the weather warmed up to 0, it would snow. Most of that week, it stayed
I grew up in NW Minnesota not far from the Canadian border and when I
was a kid we always plugged our car in at night if it was outside.
But, I don't remember doing that if the car was in a garage. Don't
remember seeing the block heaters around SE MN or WI, though.
As long as you don't know the meaning of "plug my car in in the morning
so I can start it", then you don't need to know this (it's heated
dipstick to make your crankcase oil thin enough to turn your engine over).
You'd think, wouldn't you?
If you really wanted to insulate, you could do it without too much
grief, I'd think, by punching holes in each space between studs at the
top, blowing in insulation, then patching the holes, which isn't too bad
Or just lag a 2x8 to the studs to cover the holes- makes a great place to
put hooks for garden tools, bicycles, etc. Putting those through rock always
messes up the rock where the tool bounces against it anyway.
Insulation is nice- as long as you drive the car every day, the heat from
the block, plus the leakage from the house, will keep the garage above
freezing on all but the coldest nights. (At least at my latitude.) And if
you want to do a project in winter, a space heater in an empty but insulated
garage will make the space tolerable without a heavy coat.
I bus to work, but my wife is out and about hauling the kids around
places so, yes, the block would be warmed periodically throughout the
day. I'll see if I can blow something into the attic, too, maybe on
top of some rolls....
If there are no obstructions, it seems possible with a little ingenuity to
cut the top 12" off the sheetrock and work the insulation down into the
cavity. A long clamp to grip the paper and a couple of long cords might do
it. Maybe not, but I would probably try it.
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