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Josh-D. S. Davis

Xaminmo / Omnimax / Max Omni / Mad Scientist / Midnight Shadow / Radiation Master

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Energy Efficiency
Josh 201604 KWP
So, last month we had our air handler and plenums sealed for $650.

What this means is that they unhooked all of the ducts, and the big box on the side of the furnace. They cleaned it up, reattached it all properly, and sealed it with mastic, goo and fibers which harden to make an airtight seal.

Also, I fixed an air leak at the front door with three small nails. At the back doors, I adjusted 2 weather strips' placements, and installed just a tiny bit where it was missing.

Erica put a rolled up blanket in front of the french doors, and stuffed a rag in at the bottom where the pin goes in and I couldn't get any weather-strip.

All of this changed our gas bill from $119 down to $29.

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I just resealed my front door last month. It was pretty bad. I'm interested to see what it does for the bill. That's awesome yours came down so much! Mine has been like $160. Way too much.

I recommend the air handler being masticked. The $650 was for 2 units, so I'd expect a single unit would be $300-$400. This is apparently the biggest energy leak possible for any house.

Our 2 bedroom apt. was well over $200 last month in electricity to heat the place. It sucks balls :-/

You can get away with caulking the inside frames of windows and replacing door seals in an apt. It's cheap if you know how to do it and nobody will notice.

HVAC work might be noticed, depending on whether there's attic access inside the unit. Plus, it's hard to justify the expense. Just like it's hard for the complex to justify the expense of maintaining clean and sealed ducts when they don't pay the electric.

Plastic on 6 out of 7 windows and dropping the thermostat a touch (I had it set to be toasty when I get up in the morning and come home in the evening, but those are variable hours. And it doesn't really help me get out of bed.) dropped my power bill $50. I had a bit of a rainstorm through the ceiling vent in my kitchen as the snow melted, so I am really hoping that the landlord has to redo the ducts in the attic and that it will lower my energy bill even more.

Energy Costs and Snowmelt

EEk! runoff dribbling through? Is there some sort of roof leak then too?

Re: Energy Costs and Snowmelt

I am guessing. Drying out now, but it will need attention. And my poor window--the wooden frame got all flaky warpy in a few places, since it caught a lot of drainage.

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Air Seals (but not walruses)

You can hire handymen to caulk the windows and fix-up the rubber and metal seals around door openings for not too much.

You can do it yourself too, but that's REALLY not fun and I'd recommend lots of practice on someone else's house first.

(Too thin and you don't fill the void without getting messy. Too thick and you have goop everywhere. But, thinner is better. Wet your finger before swiping the bead to help the caulk come off easier. Dried caulk peels off of leather much easier than fabric. Modified latex is easier to work with, but pure silicone lasts much longer. It's harder to get caulk smudges off of brick than off of trim. Adhesive rubber door seal isn't adhesive enough. Instead, use the nail-on or the kind that snaps into a hard groove that is cut or nailed onto the trim.)

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Re: Air Seals (but not walruses)

Hehe... Yah, even good caulk only lasts so many years. Proper work has the old stuff scraped out first

Caulk is such a pita.

Re: Air Seals (but not walruses)

*further giggle*

All you crazy Texans! Our biggest leak is windows, so we're having those replaced. Next will be insulation. Then possible moving A/C + heater into/near the attic instead of being in the basement.

Do any of you folks have a house older than 50 years?

I lived in one as a kid, but since then, it's 1970s and later.

Another one is wall plates. I had some plugs and switches on the garage wall that were leaking cold and I sealed those holes with little rubber gaskets.

The plenum seal was cheap for its benefit. Since the pressure differential is big, a bunch of energy is lost right from the beginning.

Windows are important, because you'll get a new seal and better R-value, but they're expensive to do all at once.

Then there's exterior wall insulation (blown-in, semi-adhesive seems like a good product) and attic insulation. Rolls are best, but blown-in is way cheaper. Just note that cellulose can rot if it gets wet.

Attic insulation is important, but you guys have fairly mild weather, no?

rambly ramble sleepy

Well, as long as El Nino holds, our weather is weird :)

We got a pretty good deal on the windows, less than 500 per, but they haven't installed them yet... we're calling again to figure out what's going on.

We'll probably end up installing insulation when we next re-do the siding, since I want to pull off all the existing old siding (plus the REALLY old siding) and putting a proper wrap and backing down (which would allow us to insulate first...).

That *is* a good deal. I think standard was 2-6 weeks for the materials to be produced and ready.

That's less than I paid for materials 7 years ago. We had 8 custom windows, 2 standard sliding glass doors, plus 2 insulated, exterior swing doors We paid about $7200 total, and it was about $100/install, and the rest was material cost (2-pane, vinyl frame, low-e glass, plus caulk, etc)

So, if it's been 2 months, I'd be scared. If it's been 2 weeks, then I'd be impatient but still OK.

It's been about a month, and when I called today they recognized that's too long to go without a phone call :)

The sliding glass windows, we've been told, are the primo cost for windows. They can be up to 1k all by themselves. We managed to get a good deal because of the down economy, etc.

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