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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: how to figure break even?
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 13:41:14 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Fri, 18 Jul 2008 14:31:23 +0000 (UTC), enigma <> wrote:

>"FarmI" <ask@itshall be given> wrote in

> actually, no. one of the reasons i'm inclined to accept this
>bid is because he makes no claims of dramatic savings through
>his product, *and*, more importantly to me at least, he has a
>working knowledge of the period construction of my house; he
>*knows* where there are likely to be diagonal crossbracings of
>the post & beam frame.

I hate to say this but it might be cheaper to do a "hillbilly remodel".  That
is, have a fire and use the insurance to build new.  Yaaaa, I know, you like
the place...

The problem I see is that even after the insulation installation, you're still
going to have a drafty old house that is almost impossible to seal up.

I've been working with a friend on a similar situation.  His house is turn of
the century.  He had the foamed-in-place wall insulation installed by a guy
who knew what he was doing.  I borrowed a thermal imaging camera to make sure.
This foam was supposed to seal the gaps between the walls and floors and it
probably did, judging by how much foam is visible in the basement.  Still the
house has cold drafty floors.  A look with a thermal imaging camera shows cold
air coming in everywhere - around the windows despite caulking.  through the
tiny cracks in the hardwood flooring, despite floor insulation.  Around pipe
and wire wall penetrations.  Finding and sealing all of these would be a

The solution we settled on was to quit chasing every leak and instead
overwhelm them with heat.  We installed a free-standing wood boiler and
under-the-floor hydronic radiant heat.  Now the system simply overwhelms the

His is a very small house so it doesn't take that much wood to accomplish the
deed.  Firewood is free for the hauling from construction sites so he has a
huge surplus of that.

The main point of this post (other than to commiserate with you about the
amount of work and cost involved) is to suggest that you rent/borrow/hire a
thermal imaging camera, perhaps before but certainly after the insulation is
installed.  Connect the output of the camera to a video recorder so that you
can review it later.  This video will be invaluable in tracking down the air
leaks that will remain.

There are consultants that do these surveys and they usually have a "fan wall"
that is installed over a door with enough air handling capacity to reduce the
pressure in the house substantially.  That really makes infiltration routes
stand out in the imager.

You can do the same thing with a variety of improvised fans.  Or even a big
fire in the fireplace in the winter.


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