For a handy homeowner in Baraboo, a DIY insulation project was an exciting endeavor. However, the owner of this aging home wanted expert guidance to ensure their efforts led to the results they were looking for. To get it, they hired Accurate-Airtight Exteriors and together we located the home’s problem areas and made targeted improvements that increase comfort, efficiency, and energy savings.
Accurate-Airtight’s First Visit – Energy Audit
Soon after purchasing this circa-1900 home in 2018, the owner called Accurate-Airtight Exteriors and asked for an energy audit. We conducted a thorough energy assessment and discovered the following problems:
Poor attic insulation
Exposed crawl space dirt floor
Extensive air leaks
In our energy audit report, we noted which improvements would have the greatest payback. Pictures were included as well.
Accurate-Airtight’s Second Visit - Installing Spray Foam Insulation
Following our energy auditor’s recommendations, the homeowner installed basement glass block windows and removed the bricks installed above the foundation wall. A-A Exteriors was hired to install spray foam insulation in this “sill box” area, the crawl space walls, and the under-roof slopes in two knee wall attics. A-A also installed a new, quiet and efficient bath fan.
In late 2018, based on energy audit recommendations, the homeowner removed the old, dirty cellulose insulation in the attic and air sealed attic wiring and plumbing penetrations with canned spray foam. Discovering that the ceiling joists were only 2X4s, the homeowner reinforced the joists before completing electrical work and blowing in 16” of cellulose over the entire attic. Also, at the recommendation of the auditor, the homeowner installed an insulated, weather stripped cover over the attic pulldown stairway.
The winter of 2018-19 revealed what the home energy audit had predicted: the laundry room off of the kitchen was very cold. Not only was the wall connection leaky, but other laundry room walls proved poorly insulated. This prompted the homeowner to do extensive remodeling of the laundry room in 2019 and reinsulate it with mineral wool and rigid foam. Accurate-Airtight provided valuable advice to help the homeowner achieve this DIY home insulation installation.
Accurate-Airtight’s Third Visit – Cellulose Insulation Installation
During the winter of 2019-20, the homeowner noted icicles—indicating poor insulation above the upstairs bathroom. Accurate-Airtight came in 2020 to dense-pack cellulose insulation into the sloped ceilings and exterior wall cavities. (Prior to exterior wall insulation, the owner removed asbestos siding from the whole house.) One crew member crawled above the porch roof to blow insulation into the area where the wall meets the first-floor ceiling. This “band-joist” area is commonly leaky and poorly insulated.
In a follow-up visit, A-A owner, Torrance Kramer, found a few under-insulated areas with a thermal imaging camera. He made sure those few areas were insulated before the siding was put on a week later. House wrap, one-inch rigid foam, and Smart Siding over the original wood siding reduced air leakage in the home still further.
As of January 2021, no icicles are forming, the once-cold basement is warm, and the home has even heat in every room. The owner was especially pleased with the way A-A crews treated serious hazards like asbestos, lead, and carbon monoxide. The owner has followed A-A recommendations in many areas, such as installing carbon monoxide alarms in the basement and bedroom area.