This may seem trivial, but to me as a homeowner it isn't. When it comes to blown-in or spray foam insulation in unfinished attics, does neatness count?

Just finished reading the Steve Jobs bio by Walter Isaacson. Job's adoptive father built cabinets at one point in his career, and always used the same care on the sides that would rarely be seen. Job's had that attitude about the inside of Mac computers.

Every time I climb into the attic at my house to change the filter on my furnace, I grimace at the lunar landscape of old fiberglass batt insulation, new cellulose insulation, wires, ducts, tops of canned lights, and of course cobwebs. It makes me question the effectiveness of the insulation.

Am I just being a Felix Unger?

Views: 263

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

In short YES - as they say the devil is in the details & one can tell a lot about the care & quality of the work that went in just by taking a quick look. In your case it sounds like they simply blew in some insulation & didn't bother dealing with any of the air leakage paths which just cut the usefulness of your insulation dramatically. You also should not be able to see any can lights if the insulation was done properly.

For more on just the air-sealing portion - http://blog.sls-construction.com/2011/air-sealing-attic-penetrations

Hi Jim, You know the old saying, "a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind".  Now, I have to defend my desk quite often with the retort, "so what does an empty desk say?" but that's the point, I have blown the first impression.  Not everyone is going to give me the chance to defend myself.

From a technical perspective, neatness in the installation of insulation is doubly important because the flaws will drag the average down and limit the potential of the improvement.  An extreme example is, if you leave the front door open, it doesn't matter how much insulation you put in the walls.

As Sean mentioned, what they missed is more important than what they did.  Air sealing the attic floor, sealing and insulating those ducts and checking those recessed lights to see if they are air tight and IC rated, then cover them. 

As for the cobwebs, not much you can do there :), but the good news is, there is lots of room for improvement.  Even if it doesn't make a huge difference in your energy costs, it will put a smile on your face with every filter change.

And yes, I'm working on my desk.

Bud

Sean and Bud, thanks for weighing in. The crew that worked on my house did do some air-sealing, focused mostly on the can lights. Come to think of it, that may be all the air sealing they did.

I tend to be neat outside with a cluttered mind—my wife is the opposite, but we've learned over the years to get along pretty well. I put up with a certain amount of clutter and she lets me meditate every morning without interruption.

The crew that worked on my house did lower my energy bills and make our home more comfortable, so I can forgive some clutter. But I have a hard time recommending them to others.

The shame of it is, when the crew is there it would only take 15 minutes to straighten the most of it. Those young guys and gals can jump in and out of an attic faster than I can climb the ladder to peak at what they are doing. If there are some easy things that could be done to get the big stuff either out of organized, I would try calling the owner and simply ask if someone could come back for half an hour. Sometimes the boss doesn't know and would be more than happy to accommodate.

Worth a call.
Bud

Something to think about...

No, I'd be twitchy about that sort of stuff too. It makes it feel like your house is less than you want it to be, even if the insulation is effective! Have you considered stripping it all out and redoing it with new materials?

Aye, there's the rub! Should I do it myself...

Leave it to Allison Bailes to study the problem in detail—and come up with the answer that neatness, in fact, does count. It counts a lot.

http://www.energyvanguard.com/blog-building-science-HERS-BPI/bid/25...

RSS

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.

Latest Activity

Maria Lacey replied to Jamie Kaye's discussion Flickering LED lights
"I think the tendency is to look at lamps (light bulbs) as though they're the same if they all…"
21 minutes ago
tedkidd commented on Scott Mellberg's blog post Lessons from Energy Efficiency Advisors: Getting Homeowners Onboard with Home Performance
"Absolutely agree Ben, "How much do I use, how much do others use, and what is my reasonable…"
1 hour ago
Profile IconTauran Ivall, Alex Burnham and Annika Brink joined Home Energy Pros
2 hours ago
David Eakin replied to Jamie Kaye's discussion Flickering LED lights
"I also thought that, but I tried to put a CFL in the A-19 outside fixture at my…"
2 hours ago
Ben Jacobs commented on Scott Mellberg's blog post Lessons from Energy Efficiency Advisors: Getting Homeowners Onboard with Home Performance
" I believe a major problem of government, of energy utilities, and home energy efficiency…"
3 hours ago
Jill Lindman posted an event

EEBA Houses That Work Education & Training at Johnson County Administration Building

August 22, 2014 from 8:30am to 4:30pm
About the SessionsIntro to Houses That Work: In this session participants learn how the many…See More
3 hours ago
Glen Gallo replied to Tom Conlon's discussion Whole House Fans - Love 'Em or Not?
"Title 24 requires whole house fans in zones 8-14 in the prescriptive path only. With many…"
4 hours ago
Jenn Saunders replied to Jenn Saunders's discussion iEnergyApp: Quickly generate professional reports for homeowners and get more contracts!
"Hey Tom, You are most welcome.  iEnergyApp is not free, but it is reasonable and pays for…"
5 hours ago
Jenn Saunders posted a photo

Automatically Generate Clean Simple Reports for Homeowners

Stop spending hours cropping and resizing images, formatting and reformatting a Word document to…
5 hours ago
Eric Sperline added a discussion to the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
Thumbnail

Beware ebay seller "supermomofps"

I bought a blower door system on Ebay from "supermomofps"  The item was never sent and…See More
5 hours ago
Larry Nissman replied to John Shillito's discussion Fixing a water heater?
"I have to agree with Kurt. 2000 ppm is exceedingly high. I have tested hundreds of hot water heater…"
5 hours ago
Tom White's video was featured

Passive House Revolution - Film Trailer

Looking for energy-efficiency in buildings? There's no need to wait for new technology - Passive House buildings use 80-90% less heating and cooling energy.
6 hours ago

© 2014   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service