We have an old Ranch style house in South Texas that's been extended several
times. Can't keep the house cool or warm without the central units running
all the time.
1) The old part of the house has fiberglass insulation that the paper has
dried out and the insulation has settled. Basically it's not providing
enough (if any) insulating value. I've thought about blowing cellulose
insulation in over the top. Roof pitch is only 3:12 and it's a bear to get
anyplace close to the outside walls. Is cellulose any good? Am I better off
having someone blow in fiberglass? Or should I try to stuff fiberglass bats
out? Should I run them perpendicular to the ceiling joists or parallel so
they can fill the void over the settled insulation?
2) Same story on the old walls. I'm sure the insulation has settled in the
wall cavities. Aside from pulling siding or sheetrock down, how does one
re-insulate and existing wall? Most of the exterior walls are plywood
covered with the old shingles. Some is cedar board and baton. And a little
Utility bill is kicking our butt.
What zone are you, you say you do not heat or cool, have you had your
unit pro cleaned and checked out? Blow in fiberglass , install plastic
chutes so it doesnt block your roof, R 50- 70 is great , fiberglass
settles 15-20 % and looses efficiency as it gets colder. New windows
tri pane low E argon are best. Are your ducts insulated? Blowing in
walls is work and repairing of walls. Google will help, there are many
different types of wall insulation, maybe 6.
First off, I'm betting you're asking the wrong questions.
If your A/C unit is properly sized to your structure, it should
run a lot. One that kicks of soon is not right. This is one of those
"some is good, but more is not better" things.
Same for heat, but not as much.
That is, if the heat or cooling is maintained. If not, then they are not
up to the task, then there's a problem.
Next, the walls.
If indeed, the Fiberglas batts have really settled, you've got bigger
problems. But assuming they have, they have also lost insulative value
by being more compacted.
And the portions of walls with shingles on the outside mean that the
vapor barrier is formed on the outside, so that in cold times, moisture
migration will be stopped within the wall as condensation.
Ya know, if I were doing anything with it, I'd look to the roof first.
I'm betting that it doesn't have enough ventilation. And that soffit vents,
if they exist, have likely been covered over by attempts in the past to
blow in insulation, if any is there now at all.
If I were doing it, with difficult-to-work-in attic, I'd first ventilate the
hell out of the roof. You need a square foot of venting for every 150
square feet of vented space for comfort, and if you have less than a
square foot for every 300 square feet of vented space, divided between
peak and soffit, your shingles warrantee is void.
So get the roof ventilated so that no heat that makes it up there can stay.
That way, you don't have a bubble of hot air radiating downwards into
the living space and causing you to have to set the A/C to work longer
for the same comfort level. Think something like that would be nice for
cold times? Nope, it just encourages condensation in the attic.
Next, the roof insulation. Consider going to the ceiling instead. Couple of
inches of Tuf-R or whatever could get the job done, with a couple of inches
cut off their sides and ends, cut down the middle, etc.and then 2x2's
to the joists above. Then you could put in new drywall and reinstall ceiling
lights. Get into the attic and insulate the tops of the wall spaces, where
foam wouldn't extend, and that serves as air paths out.
If you have a few layers of latex semi-gloss paint on your walls and
you already have a good vapor barrier. If you've got paneling, you're
Hey, you're there, I'm here. But I hope I gave at least one thing to
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