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Old 08-21-2012, 01:46 AM  
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Default Cold!

Hello everyone and thanks in advance for any advice. My home is a single story built in 1976 and each winter my electric bills triple to the point that last year I couldn't afford to pay it each month. As far as I know, my house is well insulated. The attic has laid in not blown in insulation with no gaps however the attached garage attic is not insulated. Under the house, the crawl space is big enough to actually crawl in and the insulation is nicely fixed to the underside of the house. I did not see any gaps. I did replace half of the carpet with wood lam a few years ago and that made things colder. My windows are the brown windows common in the 70's but they are all double sliders. There are two tall skinny view windows (non sliders) but they have storm windows attached to the exterior. I have 2 sliding glass doors that seem to seal well. Last year I put thick vinyl shower curtains over all the windows and sliders but they didn't seem to help. I also put them on the outside of my bedroom window, doubled up and tacked tightly. Also did not seem to help. I turned my thermostat down to 60 degrees and wore full winter gear inside the house for 4 months. I don't want to spend another winter being cold all the time. I do have a fireplace that I only use to burn papers and old bills. The cost of firewood is more than electricity anymore and most of the heat goes up the chimney anyway. I keep the damper shut. One more thing, my house is one of only two in my neighborhood with double front doors so I think it might have been the show house originally. (The cabinets and trim are not the cheap stuff). I have had a terrible time getting a proper fit with products to insulate where the two doors come together. I have tried the stick on gray stuff and the brown vinyl strips.

Any DIY help?

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Old 08-21-2012, 07:20 AM  
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How thick is the insulation in the attic. And welcome to the site.

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Old 08-22-2012, 05:04 PM  
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You need to check the R-value of the attic insulation. In your area, the local HD or other supplier can advise you but I would guess R-38 is a minimum and the floor would be R-30 in the crawl space. Anything less needs to be addressed now. In addition, you did not mention the walls. For Oregon, I would think R-21+ would be preferred . . .

I had a house in VA that had bricks and parging but no insulation! We had to dress for outdoors to live indoors. I added up to R-30 in the attic and it instantly improved the situation. Then, as I remodeled each room, I stripped the drywall on the exterior walls and insulated them. Adding storm windows completed the make-over.

But there is more . . . Your garage wall (common to the house) must be R-21+ and that includes the attic intersection with your house. Frankly, I'd spray foam the attic common wall.

You have work to do now! Its August and Winter is coming! Good luck.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:38 PM  
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Something (a lot of things, actually) is/are very wrong. Electrical rates in Oregon are among the lowest in the country, with much of the power being generated by hydro (dams). Where in Oregon are you? We're an hour from the coast, and live in a leaky, 70-year-old beater with mostly junk windows and poor insulation (none in crawl space). Our electric bill is on the budget plan--$114 every month, which I think is quite reasonable. Request an energy audit by your local utility district--they used to be free, and will tell you precisely where the heat is escaping.

Sounds like your furnace or heat pump needs replacing--they are often only good for 15 years of steady use. Double front door is a definite heat-waster, and should be replaced with a new single. A good set of glass doors on the fireplace will also help, as many dampers are leaky affairs even when closed.
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