Q: Jonathan asks: We recently purchased a three-level townhome in Virginia, built about 15 years ago. The third floor, where the bedrooms are located, stays about 5º F colder than the main living area on the second level. There is only one heating zone with the thermostat on the second floor. A heating technician has balanced the ductwork but said he cannot get more heat to the … [Read more...] about Is Attic Air Sealing & Insulation Worth It?
Kanil writes: I need to build a few interior storm windows by mounting energy-saving clear window film to contain the heat, but still have high light transmission. I have seen a lot of articles online that mention clear low-E window films with high VT (visible-light transmission). But I couldn't find a commercially available film of this kind. Could you please recommend … [Read more...] about Low-E Storm Windows & Low-E Films
Pierre writes: My basement wall is insulated with a 2 inches of Styrofoam and I built a 2×4 wall and added Roxul insulation. I planned to install vapor barrier on top. Is it OK to add this vapor barrier? It is for a bathroom with a tiled shower. I live in central Ontario, Canada. Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, writes: The short answer is: Don’t use a vapor barrier in a … [Read more...] about Basement Vapor Barriers
Don asks: Our house measures just over the EPA limit for radon. Is this something we should be concerned about or are the risks overblown? How effective are radon mitigation systems and what do they cost? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: While radon stories rarely appear in the news anymore, the health risk from exposure to high levels is real and significant. … [Read more...] about Is Radon Mitigation Worth the Cost?
John asks: Is it better to use Icynene (open-cell) or closed-cell spray foam in an unvented cathedral ceiling? We are building a new home in Atlanta, GA. Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: I don't really like unvented cathedral ceilings, also called "hot roofs", because they are very unforgiving. If the roof sheathing or rafters ever gets wet from a roof leak, or … [Read more...] about Spray Foam Insulation for Cathedral Ceilings
Aaron writes: I own a post-and-beam house built in Portland, OR, in the 1950's with no insulation. The entire house has an exposed beam ceiling that we do not want to cover up, so we plan to put rigid foam above the roof sheathing. On the walls, however, we are getting conflicting advice and strong arguments for each option -- drill-and-fill cellulose vs. exterior foam. I do … [Read more...] about Dense-Pack vs. Exterior Foam Insulation
Dan asks: I am renovating an older house and am installing radiant heating on top of the existing slab-on-grade. I am planning to use 1.5 inches of foam board, which gives me R-7.5. Is that going to be enough R-value? Also what should the density be of the insulation foam board be? On top of the insulation and radiant tubing, I am thinking of pouring self-leveling Gyp-Crete. … [Read more...] about Insulating a Radiant Slab