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January 20th, 2009

Adventures In Home Ownership…(continued)

So…the insulate the exterior wall of the bedroom proof of concept test:  The results are pretty much what I’d hoped for.  Sunday I cut and stuck foam insulating panels on the back bedroom wall with double sided mounting tape.   For the rest of that day the temperature in the room seemed to maintain pretty steadily.  But the real test I knew, would be how it felt in the morning after a good overnight chill outside.

I’ve actually been running an oil filled space heater in the bedroom lately because it gets so cold overnight.  When I first moved into Casa del Garrett, I used to run an electric blanket.  But the blanket died on me last year and I bought the oil filled space heater to replaced it, thinking that a space heater was a more versatile spot heating solution then an electric blanket.  Since I was testing the difference insulating that back exterior wall would make, I kept the heater off.

Monday morning the bedroom was refrigerator cold when I got up.  But none of the foam panels I’d put up were radiating coldness at all.  So it was coming from somewhere else then the sections of wall I’d insulated.  As I paced around the room trying to see where the cold was coming from I realized I’d forgotten about the wall length closet on one side of the room. 

That closet goes the entire length of the bedroom on the wall I share with my neighbor.  One end shares a wall with the bathroom and the other end of it is the exterior wall.  That little slice of exterior wall in the closet was cold as ice when I put my hand to it and it was chilling all the air in the closet, which then seeped out into the bedroom.  So Monday I put up some more sheet foam against that wall.  I also added some more foam panels to a portion of the exterior wall that had been built out to accommodate one of the heating ducts as it was very chilly too. 

Once more I slept without the space heater on.  This morning when I got up it was 16 degrees outside and the bedroom was pretty warm.  So this pretty much settles it.  My project starting next spring is to insulate the exterior walls here at Casa del Garrett.

More on that as I get into it.

3 Responses to “Adventures In Home Ownership…(continued)”

  1. Bob C Says:

    You didn’t happen to take any base-line readings did you? I suppose outside temps being so variable would mean that you would have to do a months worth of measuring and charting to figure out inside/outside temps and then A/B them with and without the foam.
     It would be interesting to know exactly what the temp improvement is.

    But the foam couldn’t do anything BUT help in some way.
    What thickness did you use? And do you think that thickness matters that much? (Obviously under 1/4 inch isn’t going to help as much as 1" foam.) (And will 10 panels of 2" foam fit in Traveler?)
    Will you now put plastic over the window openings/cut-outs? Or are the windows double-pane and not a problem?
    Now the REAL question: Are you going to be a BAD HOMOSEXUAL and just leave that blue foam bare? Or are you going to decorate it tastefully?

  2. Bruce Says:

    I didn’t take before and after temperature readings, on the premise that if I had to see it on paper to know it was there it wasn’t enough difference to matter.  But I have another room, the front bedroom which I use as a den, that I haven’t done this to yet.  I’m going to go ahead and put foam up on the exterior wall of that room too now, so I can start saving some money on the energy bills here.  I’ve had a space heater in that room too because it gets so cold at night and in the morning.  So I can take more precise measurements on that room.  Problem with that room though is I have bookshelves bolted onto that wall and I don’t want to take them down until it’s time to do the whole thing right.  So I might not get a good measurement from that room either.

    I used half inch foam.  It fits nicely with the existing window frames, and seems to do the job very well.  I’ve never put a hand to any of those panels since I put them up, that they’ve been cold to the touch.  At the moment, I’m just going to leave them bare.  It’s not like I have a love life where I have to worry about how the bedroom looks.  And it’s just the second floor so guests when I have any over, won’t likely be seeing it.  Unless I geek out and decide I just have to show them.  Which I probably will.

    Not sure how I’ll do the permanent insulation on those plaster walls, but yes, the finished work has to be nice looking.   The reason I’ll wait for spring is I need to bust open the part of the wall that has the heat duct in it because that needs insulating too (I’ll probably stuff fiberglass batting in that) and that will mean doing drywall work and I probably need to set up something for that outside on the deck where I have room to store and cut drywall sheets to size.  That’ll have to be delivered.  I’ll have to temporarily relocate the bedroom too, and move a bunch of furniture around as I do each wall in each room.  It’s going to be a big project.  So I’ll wait for warmer weather and plan it all out in the meantime.

  3. Bob C Says:

    I would drywall right over it. Or perhaps put 1/4 X 2 slats at 16" intervals (Vertical) And then screw/nail or glue the drywall to those. It seems you don’t have a well-working stud locator, but I would think you have 16" centers.
    Another, probably easier and less mess/hassle then drywall might be paneling. A nice fake wood paneling will give you a nice campy trailer-home feel to the place. You’ll feel just as home as you would in North Topeka! Or you could find some other color/material of paneling.
    But doing the drywall/sheetrock is the proper, and best way to do it. And that will add another layer of thick, dense insulation.
    Unless you’re really into the whole DIY thing, it MIGHT be worth while to hire a pro-sheetrock guy to come in and do it. Someone with experience will get it done, and done right, in a day or less. I’ve done a little bit of dry-walling, and there are definately techniques and methods, and tools to do it right. I’ve done it, and then found myself sanding and re-sanding, and then applying more putty, then re-sanding for days. And THEN a pro dry-walling friend of mine tells me "Oh, all you had to do was while the plaster was still wet….blah blah…and then you don’t have to sand at all!".

    A pro dry-wall guy can also get the materials a lot cheaper, and being a job that small (In their terms) he would most likely already have the putty/plaster etc.
    I’d bet at least you could get a free estimate from a pro. And perhaps home despot or the hardware store can recommend someone.

    Then you can paint, wallpaper, draw on, or whatever on your own.
    But I’m glad this is working out well! I myself don’t have to worry much about it because I live in a basement. Just some leaky (But now over-sealed with spray-foam) window wells.

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