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Home Repair and Maintenance


I am going to insulate my knee wall myself. The NY Energy Smart audit suggested insulating the knee wall saying it would save about $75 a year. The consultant listed a cost of $840 to do it. I can do it myself for much less. They recommend insulating it to R16. I went to Home Depot and found R13 and R19, but no R16 batting. Hmmm. But after some research I found that what I want to do is place R13 batting in between the studs. Caulk the vapor barrier to the studs, and staple every 10 inches or so. After I cover the wall, I will cover all of the batting with rigid foam insulation caulking it in place. I think I can do it all at a cost of under $100. I saw the rolls of R-13 batting for about $11 at Home Depot, and I think I only need 4 or 5 of them. I didn’t look at the rigid foam, but will check tomorrow. Maybe I will stop at Lowes at lunch time. According to the audit report, I have about 210 square feet to do. The audit report says ‘3.5″ Fiberglass,1″ XPS Siding, R-16′. So I am assuming I am reading it right.

I want to replace my four sliding glass doors (they leak air between the panels like a sieve). I like Andersen, but the guy from the NY Energy Smart program is pitching Schuco. I have done some searches and read a lot of good things about Schuco windows.

I love the look and quality of the Andersen French Wood Gliders. The natural wood would go well in our house. I like the idea of the energy savings of the Schuco’s with the triple pane-kypton filled glass package. I am leary about the vinyl frame of the Schucos and how long they will last. I like that I can call Andersen and get parts for my 30 year old Andersen windows. Could I do that with Schuco? What would be cool is if I could get the Schuco glass package in the Andersen door. I have more research to do. I am thinking about calling Andersen and asking them about Schuco, and calling Schuco and asking them about Andersen. The consultant guy gave me a price of $8200 for the four Schuco doors installed. The price I have for the Andersens is $1172 each plus $449 installation (next three doors would be a little cheaper), but this works out to about $6484 installed. I might be able to get the guy to come down on the Schucos. He was going to give info on where I can go see some Schuco doors. I am definately not plunking down $8000 without actually seeing what I will be getting first.

We got our Energy Smart home assessment report last night. Interesting stuff, but lets look closer at it.

They made various recommendations:
Insulate attic flat, cost $882, ann. savings $7, payback 127.8 years.
Insulate attic kneewall, cost $840, ann $75, payback 11.1 years.
Replace lighting (CFL), cost $42, ann savings $42, payback 1 year
Replace windows, cost ?, ann savings $558, payback N/A
Seal attic doors, cost $150, savings $0, payback N/A
Seal front door, cost $85, savings $0, payback N/A
Attic flat access, cost $175, savings $0, payback N/A

Total cost $2174, Annual savings $683, Payback 3.19 years.

Hmmmm…. Payback of 3.19 years to have all this work done! But I had already switched almost all of my home lighting to CFLs before the auditor came. So scratch that. I also remember the auditor testing may front door during the blower door test, and saying it was well sealed. There were no leaks there. Scratch that. They had left the cost of the widows off because they didn’t know what options I might want. But they didn’t leave the savings of the windows off. So if I exclude the savings from the windows, and the stuff for the lighting and the front door, the cost is now $2047, with a savings of $82 a year, and a payback of 25 years. The consultant guy threw out a number for the 21 windows of $19000 I think. So throwing that number into the equation, the payback turns into 30 years.

Interesting stuff.

I called the consultant guy and he confirmed my reading of the numbers. I may still have some of the work done, or do it myself. I am not replacing all of the windows in my house. I will replace the weather strippping on on the Andersen windows. I am still looking at replacing the sliding glass doors. I am not sure if I will go with the Schuco doors, or the Anderson French Wood Gliders. I will go into more detail on this in another post. They didn’t include home sealing since my house is a post and beam design, it would have been hard for them to do. Hmmm.. I seem to be doing fine with it. I have been busy sealing my house slowly, a little here, a little there.

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