News & Insights

Insulating Pat’s Home

Carl Christianson

We recently completed an insulation project for a long time member of the Corvallis community. Pat requested that we give her a quote on installing new wall insulation in the home that she and her husband built in the 1950’s. Many of the older homes in Corvallis don’t have any insulation in their walls which can lead to drafty, uncomfortable rooms and high energy bills.

When we provide Home Weatherization inspections or Energy Audits, we typically recommend spending money first on air sealing and insulating attics and crawlspaces because they are easy to access and thus less costly. Wall insulation is usually a secondary project. Wall insulation retrofits are expensive because we need to drill holes either on the interior or exterior of the home to blow in the insulation. At Pat’s house, her vintage wall paper meant that we had to drill from the outside.

In one marathon day last week, we removed a row of cedar sidewall shakes from her home, drilled holes and filled each stud bay with blown-in dense pack fiberglass insulation. A brief description from the University of Minnesota: “Dense pack insulation is ideal for insulation retrofits in older homes. For instance, it can be blown into closed stud wall cavities with minimal disruption to the exterior cladding or interior plaster. In addition, because the stud cavities are fully closed, it can be blown at high densities, which can improve the R-value of fiberglass insulation and prevent future settling. Finally, since the exterior walls of older homes are commonly constructed with boards rather than sheet goods and don’t typically have a continuous air barrier, air infiltration through the wall is often a significant issue. In this situation, the air sealing benefits of dense pack cellulose or fiberglass can significantly reduce air infiltration.”

Insulation values of R 3.5 to R4.2 can be achieved, so in a 2×4 wall you may see insulation values between R12 and R15 as well as reduced air infiltration.

We discovered that a few of Pat’s walls had already been insulated during a previous remodel. To be fair to her, we are crediting back to her the cost for insulating those walls.

Once the walls were insulated, we sealed each drill hole, reinstalled siding, re-painted and cleaned up. Please give us a call if you would like to know more about insulation, Energy Trust Weatherization Inspections or Performance Tested Comfort Systems Inspections. 541-754-6326.

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