Monday, April 16, 2012

Insulation and Heating Decisions

The time that R and I dread is upon us, which means we need to make a decision. Never an easy thing for the likes of us, though we have an idea of what we want. What makes it complicated is when the experts don’t agree with our decision.
Our initial idea was to put in fiberglass insulation and then get forced-air propane heaters, or Rennai heaters. We had them in Quechee, and they worked great, though for full disclosure, we lived on the second floor of a condo complex, and we had other dwellings below us and next to us, so we benefited from their heat. Even still, the air heaters worked fine, and they are much simpler to install.

Now for whatever reason, most contractors I meet are not so into this arrangement. They tend to opt for the more high-tech and drastically more expensive options. Granted, they are usually more efficient, but in my opinion, are often seem more than what is necessary. I remember the previous contractor wanted to put in hot water pipes under the floor, which makes for a nice and cozy house, but is an expensive option. Now talking to KB, he is endorsing a boiler/baseboard heating setup with either spray foam or cellulose. I realize these are modern, state of the art choices, but man are they expensive. Our house is fiberglass with wood heat, and we are fine. Sure, it’s not 80 degrees inside, and it’s not as sealed as it could be, but we like it that way. A house should breathe, shouldn’t it? We’re not sissy city folks anymore, we like a little draft now and then.

This hasn’t come up outright, but I sense a little reluctance on going with the fiberglass. It could very well be just my insecurity, but I’ve yet to really get a ringing endorsement, but we have to keep in mind that we have to ultimately come up with the decision. We are leaning to fiberglass. After consulting with my Mentor, he said fiberglass is fine, and I also spoke with another contractor friend who said he just built a camp up north and he used fiberglass. Plus, if we used fiberglass, I could theoretically put a lot of it in myself, and it would be a fraction of the cost. We are talking an order of magnitude, here.

We’ll see where this one goes. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to benjaminsteel for the pic.

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