“Thank you for the insulation, it has made the house much more comfortable, but we are especially impressed now the old insulation is all gone, that the house smells so much fresher” Mrs. B.B. Brownsville, VT
“The upstairs of our house is staying a good 8-10 degrees warmer this winter, Thanks again” Mr. E.P. Stockbridge, VT
“Yes, the reduction of our heating bill and the good for the environment is all fine and dandy, but what I am really pleased about is that she (Mrs. Homeowner) doesn’t complain about cold feet anymore” Mr. R.W. Newbury, VT
“I know you told me that the basement would be much drier, but I never expected I would be able to store my extra mattress here” Ms. D.S. Lebanon, NH
“I am glad the ice dams and icicles that used to connect the lawn to the roof are gone” Mr. M.S. Wilder, VT
“The ice dam is almost gone, but I am very happy that in summer the upstairs isn’t as hot as it used to be” N.K. Norwich, VT
“My last heating deliveries were less than half of what they have been” B.L. Pomfret, VT
One example of a house where “more was definitely not better” was a project we did in White River Junction. A few years before we were invited to perform a Home Energy Audit, the home owner invited an established insulation company in the area to install 24 inches of loose cellulose in the attic. Under normal conditions, this amount of cellulose would make a huge difference since the R value approaches R90. However, during our Audit, we discovered that there were substantial air bypasses in the attic floor and some of the framing of the interior walls that interfaced to the attic. So, as a solution, we first removed the relatively new cellulose and saved it for re-use, then we removed the degraded rodent infested old rock wool and disposed of it properly. As an air seal we installed a 1.5” layer of spray foam and chunks of rigid foam insulation at the large voids. This essentially established a moisture barrier but more importantly an air seal that would prevent warm air from the house to escape to the attic. We installed dense-pack cellulose in the slanted rafter cavities of the second floor and installed all the salvaged cellulose back in the attic, and topped it off with some new material as needed. The result was overwhelming. The homeowner was ecstatic and simply declared that we did more work for less money and fixed his cold house feel.
A condominium owner in Woodstock once made a call to the fire department because the icicles at her door were so extensive, the door wouldn’t open. As it turned out, the common area between condominium units was insulated with great intents and some haphazardly placed fiberglass. No airsealing appeared to have been performed. We removed the fiberglass, installed 1.5” of spray foam as an air barrier and installed 16” of loose cellulose for a combined R value of R70. The icicles are still there, but only quaint ones.
One paint retention example was a project in Hanover, where two walls of the house needed to get repainted every year. The homeowner had even installed round vent caps at the top of every wall cavity, but that made no difference. It turned out that the fiberglass insulated wall had a gap in the sheetrock just behind the baseboard heater and the interior air made it into the wall cavity. Then, the air would travel up the cavity, while the moisture would condensate on the back of the sheeting, and would exit the house at the top of the cavity through the wall vents the homeowner had installed. We simply repaired the sheetrock after temporarily removing the base board heat. Now the homeowners could again resort to their hobbies, building violins.
One example of DIY is a project we did recently in Woodstock, where the homeowner removed all the existing insulation from the attic, and in the area with a cathedral ceiling, he removed all the sheetrock and symbolic insulation. We did the installation of spray foam and cellulose, and he installed the sheetrock and made a new attic hatch. The blower door results - a measure of air infiltration to the house - showed a reduction of 44.3% ! And that did not even include a project in the un-insulated basement....