Top 5 Benefits of Insulating Our Floor

Ewww! Look at all the nasty insulation being hauled out of my basement. I feel like I can breathe better just seeing it go. Guess what good it was doing me? Not a bit! It wasn’t keeping my floors warm, it wasn’t keeping the damp basement air out of our lungs, it wasn’t keeping my heating and cooling costs down. To be fair, it was a nice cozy home for the mice (I guess the scratchiness doesn’t bother them).

#1 Cut off Rodent and Bug Access

While we were planning and saving for this home improvement energy upgrade, this was the benefit furthest from my mind. Then…the mice came. Every night, we made sure there wasn’t a crumb left out to entice them. We set humane traps, but I personally witnessed a mouse go right into one, eat the peanut butter and come right back out. Every morning would begin with sanitizing our stove and countertops as there were mouse droppings everywhere – an ideal and appetizing way to start the day. I found mouse poop in my kids’ closet and had to haul everything out, get our hepa filter vacuum, buy gloves and paper towels and sanitize the whole thing – multiple times. It was a nightmare. Once we air sealed our basement, the mice just vanished. Their home in the fiberglass insulation and their access through our kitchen cabinets and walls were cut off. I need to remember to pause with gratitude in the morning when my counters and stove top are just as I left them.

To add to the joy of eliminating mice, we also saw a black widow spider in our bathroom – crawling out where our pipe comes out of the wall. I’m not one to be scared by spiders, but I don’t take too kindly to the ones whose venom can send small children to the hospital. Air sealing our basement brought peace of mind…and we foamed up the pipe entrance in the bathroom for some added security.

#2 Warm Floors!!!

Our floors were freezing before. You’d be advised to put socks on before getting out of bed in the morning. Doing laundry without shoes on wasn’t possible because the tile floor was the coldest. There is a good reason for this – our basement is cold like most, but it also had 2 broken windows. Our sons broke both. The first one they came by honestly – the old fashioned method of playin baseball. The second, they purposely bashed out with my high school field hockey stick because they “wanted to see what would happen.” This adds up to our floors being suspended over a large envelope of air the same temperature as outside. It doesn’t matter how hard our radiators work…they aren’t going to overcome that. In fact, our warm air was being sucked out into the basement (warm goes to cold).

Now we can even walk barefoot on our floors without getting frostbite!

#3 Major Improvement to the Addition

An addition made in the 60s with a crawl space underneath makes up our master bedroom. There has never been a stitch of insulation above or below it and our room has always been sweltering, suffocating and miserable in the summer and frigid, uncomfortable and uninviting in the winter. Insulating and air sealing our crawl space have made the biggest difference in this part of the house. There are not giant temperature differentials anymore. This summer our room held onto its air conditioned air and one could actually bare to be in there. This winter the master bedroom has been cozy and warm.

#4 Moist environment cut off from our home

Our basement is unconditioned and will always stay that way. It has a water drainage problem that can only be fixed by jacking up our house and completely redoing the entire foundation. That is not going to happen, so we have our basement organized in a way that water and moisture won’t harm anything. This makes for a damp environment that I don’t want mixing with our living spaces. Now that our basement is air sealed, all that dank air can stay down in the basement and I only have to breathe it when I rush down there to get something out of our deep freezer.

#5 Energy Savings

This will be the top benefit when we are ready to do our attic because that is where our duct work is located and where our biggest leaks are. We have not gone through enough time yet to know the actual numbers of our energy savings, but we know our equipment is running less frequently. With this extremely cold December and January the temperature outstripped the capacity of many people’s heating systems. Our was able to keep up and maintain the set temperature.

We will update you with real numbers when enough time passes to compare. I look forward to retrofitting our attic, but life is holding us back. We need a new roof and we want a responsible attic, but we also want our attic to be more usable by adding egress. Right now, it cannot be a bedroom because there is no reasonable fire escape. The cost to us to put on a new roof and properly insulate and seal our attic while fixing our duct work vs. the cost of doing all that plus bumping out some framing and creating an accessible window makes it obvious that we should wait until we have saved enough money to do the whole thing at once. So, we must be patient and dream of our next home improvement project. Think of all the value we’ll be adding to our home by completing our energy retrofit and adding a bedroom! It will definitely be worth the wait.

The kids couldn’t resist playing with the ,blower door. We tested before air sealing our basement and crawl space, so we could know our rock bottom score before any improvements. As expected it was bad – 19.8 air exchanges per hour under 50 pascals of pressure. This means our house was super leaky and that we were exchanging the entire envelope of conditioned air in our house with the outside air EVERY HOUR. We were reheating our house 24 TIMES A DAY – that’s ,expensive. Can’t wait to find out what we score now with our bottom plane (basement and crawlspace) air sealing!

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William came to study the problem. He was incredibly thorough weighing in all possible causes and solutions to my Attic blues. He then put together a plan and executed it to perfection. If you do not go to Responsible house… Read more “Attic Blues”

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They caulked all the places on the interior of my log home where I was losing heat. I am saving 20% on my heating bill now. The team also fixed minor issues with the house which they found during the… Read more “Very Happy With The Work”

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The experience I had from Responsible House installing my new insulation it was quick and effortless. Their team came in and within two days I was able to return to a much warmer house. My air-conditioning would run almost constantly… Read more “Quick And Effortless”

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A Net Zero Home
When conditioned air is trying to escape to the coldness outside, it has a hard time. This house only allows it’s volume of air to switch with the outside once every 24 hours. That’s 12 times more efficient than the average home. This is the 2nd tightest house we have built.
Outdoor Kitchen Window
Energy efficiency is not about your windows but this is one of the times we do recommend replacing your windows - when you are reimagining your space. This kitchen renovation on a 200 year old home also highlights Responsible House’s breadth of experience and that we can handle any projects tangential to your insulation needs.
Kitchen Remodel
We had to give you a peek of that window and kitchen from the inside. Truly reimagined!
Nellysford Cottage
This adorable cottage may not look fierce, but it is holding onto it’s air envelope mighty tightly. It takes 12 hours for all of the conditioned air inside of this house to sneak through the tiny holes present and be replaced by unconditioned air from the outside. In contrast, the average home does this every 2 hours. Super leaky homes (and plenty exist) perform far worse than that – every hour or even less!
Bungalow Remodel
These homeowners took it slowly over 5 years - insulated the ceiling of their basement, replaced their roof to prep for solar, had some solar installed, conditioned their attic (and replaced old HVAC equipment), and finally completed their solar array. Their home is cozy and energy efficient now.
Annie Interior
On a cold day, this home exchanges the entire envelope of air inside with the outside air about once every 40 hours. This is stunningly low! This translates to not having to keep your heater running on a cold day because you aren’t constantly heating the outside air that is coming in. The average house exchanges it’s entire volume of air (that you paid so dearly to warm up or cool off) with the outside air every 2 HOURS.