Home in need of rework
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    168
    I live in West Texas, sort of dry, in a home built in 1969.
    Central air/heat is all electric (no heat pump)and about twenty years old. I need to rework the whole house as to energy efficiency. I found this site, thank goodness. This whole area is confusing and getting good advice is a little difficult. I have two questions that I need help with:
    1. What elements of the house (windows, doors, attic, ductwork) do you see as most critical? I am particularly wondering about the attic and ductwork issue. Also, is window replacement essential? (it is expensive).
    2. Is it a no-brainer that the central unit needs to be replaced for simple cost-efficiency matters. It is working okay. Cooling is the big issue down here, but winter bills for the electric heat can get expensive though it's a short season.

    Thanks so much,
    jdb



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Huntsville,AL
    Posts
    4,125
    for house, read at BUILDINGSCIENCE.com
    read lots here!

    most heat loss is thru ceiling of topmost floor
    most heat gain is thru west windows -- SHADE

    HVAC must work as a system:
    above ave design
    above ave equip selection
    above ave install
    above ave duct install
    above ave system checkout | commissioning

    Someone would have to pay me to get my 1974 windows changed!

    harvest rainwater,make SHADE,R75/50/30= roof/wall/floor, use HVAC mastic,caulk all wall seams!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Upgrades to the homes envelope;

    Insulation,walls(if possible) and attic,floor if possible.

    Windows ,double pane tinted are great,if not in the budget,tint or use "sun screens' for cooling, and caulk and check seals for heating.

    A new high SEER heat pump,two stage compressor and variable speed indoor fan (top of the line equipment,check out several brands ),will provide effiency and much better indoor comfort,but the cost is like the windows.

    If your replace the windows ,you may want to look at adding insulation to the outside of the home and using stucco or siding over it.


    Adding any of this will require a Manual J type, load calculation,to determine the correct size HVAC system with the improvements,then a Manual D to determine any duct system modifications needed.May want new ducts with better insulation then you may have


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    168
    cem-bsee and dash

    "Someone would have to pay me to get my 1974 windows changed!"

    funny, I, too, have tired at the thought of getting the windows replaced. I may just plow the caulk to the old windows and them see how they do. I know they need it.

    I know this is going to cost some money, but the issue is where to get the most bang for the buck. The reworking of a 40 yr old home such that it's going to be somewhat efficient in the energy-struggling world of the next 20-30 years is a challenge. But, I'm hearing both of you say to look first to insulation, attic and maybe walls. Okay, thanks.

    My house faces west. 5:00 pm in July in West Texas is a fun experience on the front of the house. Just opening the storm door is an exercise in burn control.

    I'm going to begin researching the matter of a good experienced contractor. I'm going to need help. I'm hearing your combined voices say that spending money wisely on both components, the house and then the system would be wise.

    Just pondering your replies makes me think to look to spend money in the attic, insulation and ductwork analysis, and then on the system always with advise from the contractor.

  5. #5
    windows are expensive but they let alot of heat gain and loss from your house. insulate everything you can wall floors attic .if you cant afford to change the windows then look at storm windows if installed correctly they work great and if you dont like te way they look outside they make them for the inside thats removable and get rid of the straight electric furnace and go with a good heatpump will save you money

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    168
    Thanks Morris-Jenkins,
    The more I read and learn, the more I realize that all important aspects of this equation have to be dealt with and that this is going to take some time. I will look into the storm windows or try my best to deal with the heat loss/gain from the windows.
    I'm also growing in the realization that the right contractor is the ballgame. I think that may be the real challenge in my location. I am particularly interested in finding a contractor who will analyze the duct system. Surely, after nearly 40 years, it will need reworking.
    With an all electric house in hot West Texas as electric rates rise it seems that an efficient heat pump is a foregone conclusion. I just want the rest of the system to be ready to utilize it's capabilities.

    Thanks,
    jdb


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    168
    I have an insulation contractor coming over to address that issue. I have another question? What do you think about radiant barriers in the attic?

    thanks
    jdb

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold.calm
    Posts
    5,366
    jd

    Do a heat load/loss yourself (Red Tab Above) with the way the house sits now. Then do it again with new windows and insulation. You’ll be very surprised at the outcome.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Huntsville,AL
    Posts
    4,125
    I do not waste any time tinking of radiant barriers -- dust is one big problem with them! think cellulose & Styrofoam & shade.

    are your present windows not weatherstripped? if not, such is SIMPLE to add, ~$3/window + 1h.

    storms are cheap
    film works
    harvest rainwater,make SHADE,R75/50/30= roof/wall/floor, use HVAC mastic,caulk all wall seams!

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