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What to improve first? 1952 Home Energy Efficiency.

barnabaas | Posted in General Questions on

Home’s built in 1952.  I don’t think much has been changed energy efficiency wise to the home outside of maybe an HVAC once and I just replaced the water heater when we first moved in.  I’m just learning the in’s and out’s of home ownership and hate the idea of a poor performing home energy wise.  However I’m trying to go about this in a somewhat responsible way both financially and environmentally.  To begin I’m thinking I should work on the insulation of the home (I’m open to suggestions however).  Here’s some info for now and if I’m missing something or if more info is needed please ask.   

I’m in climate zone 3

– Old cellulose in the attic which is covered randomly with open face batts, def. not up to code.  This is all inside a vented roof with my HVAC and duct work living up there as well.  So not ideal but not really something I can change currently
– Bare vented crawlspace with pier foundation.
– Walls are stucco with no insulation.

Again I’m trying to make my home more energy efficient and I’m trying to figure out where to start and to get a game plan together for future years to come but I’m having sever analysis paralysis with all the potential options for upgrades.

I was going to start with removing all the old insulation in the attic, air sealing and re-insulating up to code with blown in cellulose.  After that potentially blowing in cellulose through the walls.  From there I don’t know.

Would doing something like this be a good start or would the money be better spent getting a blower door test etc.  We have new windows not that that’s important or helpful but at least I know that’s taken care of.

Any help, thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #1

    Air sealing the attic is job #1

    Air sealing the bottom of the house comes next. How to go about it depends a bit on the floor assembly details. How deep are the floor joists? Plank subfloor or plywood?

    Blowing cellulose in the walls behind stucco may be risky, depending on how the wall was built. Stucco needs an air gap as a capillary break between the the insulation &/or sheathing. If it's stucco on lath nailed directly on the studs it requires gutting the walls to be able to create the that air gap, and vent the air gap to the outdoors. If you're not gutting the walls, air sealing the walls is the next step.

  2. barnabaas | | #2

    Hey Dana. Thanks for the reply. The floor assembly is plank subfloor for every part of the house other than the bathroom which looks to have plywood. The floor joists are around 14.5" wide and 7" deep. I have no idea what's behind my walls in regards to the stucco but that makes sense about needing some room to breathe

  3. tightwad | | #3

    Brett, you've come to the right place. I will leave the details to the experts, but I strongly recommend one thing: Have a long-term plan.
    For example, where do you plan to put your HVAC and duct work in the future? A mini-split might help solve that. The wall insulation is a real challenge, and your approach will depend on whether you're in a humid or dry climate 3 location. But you may be able to include a bathroom remodel at the same time. And so on.
    I can think of many times I've had to re-work things I'd done before. Now I make lists, drawings, and prioritized lists. It slows me down, and that's a good thing.

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