View Full Version : Cold house, help!!

Mar 11, 2017, 09:42 AM
This year (2016/2017), my house has been getting colder than previous years. I have replaced my windows, caulked around doors.. but still nothing!
It seems as if the cold draught is creeping from the walls. I live in Alberta, Canada and man has this winter been brutal. Anyone with advice or how to fix the problem would be great, as I am puzzled as of now! 🤔🤔🤔

Mar 11, 2017, 11:02 AM
What is the R value of your attic insulation? Looks like a Minimum is R40. New construction shows R 20 in exterior walls, 2X6 construction or 2X4 with sprayed in foam. Actually, cold doesn't come in, heat goes out. What you are feeling is the heat leaving your body going to the wall, that's why you feel "cold". In pure Physics, cold doesn't exist, it is lack of heat.

Mar 11, 2017, 02:53 PM
I agree about attics. Heat goes up before it goes out, unless you have really drafty doors and windows.
I have spent 4 winters carefully checking snow melt on my roof, and icicles on my gutters.
I have eliminated all icicles and most spots of snow melt by
Locking doors even when home, because the tiniest extra closure of the doors makes a difference in heat getting out.
Not using any exhaust fans, and taping over them. (Shower with the door open. Boil water with a little fan blowing moisture out of the kitchen.)
Insulating my attic folding stairs.
Make sure plugs and switches on outside walls are insulated. I have one on the north side that sends a polar gale through it.
Make sure all windows are locked, and take out all screens (little late for this year). Screens subtract 5% of solar gain.

The first 3 have cut my propane bill a lot.

OH and I just made a computer desk on casters! It gets 85-90F degrees in the big window on a sunny day, but it's cold there at night, so I now can roll 3' away.
The newest windows are great for being draft free, but it's your ceilings that heat heads for first.

Caulking around doors??.... consider new. All set up. Expensive but will really help.

You might be able to rent an IR camera to go around at night.
Get ideas at FLIR.com. They have some cheaper ones and you could split the cost with neighbors.

Mar 11, 2017, 10:37 PM
Well my house was built in 1956. I went up the attic and measured about maybe 10-11" of insulation? What is the requirement for the depth of insulAtion in attics?

Mar 12, 2017, 04:35 AM
That's R40 and that's good, but only if it covers every opening in the ceilings. Electrical boxes can't be covered, nor stove pipes, exhaust fans, etc.
But a 1956 house might not have any in the walls and that will give you that feeling of oozing cold.
I would replace the door you use the most with an all new all set up door. It will make the most difference.
Also I would guess that a lot of heat is lost where your access to the attic is.

Mar 12, 2017, 08:28 AM
See if your utility provider can provide you with a free energy audit, to help identify your homes energy inefficiencies. This may help guide you to improvements or upgrades.

The Home Energy Assessment Quiz | BPI | Home Energy Audit (http://www.bpihomeowner.org/take-home-quiz)



Its more than just how much insulation you have but what kind, and you must take your home as a whole and not just the attic, though its very important. A simple thing that I do besides preventive maintenance in the spring and fall of the heating and air conditioning system, is to just hang a thermometer around doors, and windows and various other places as half the battle is identify and correct those hot/cold spots.

Sometimes just caulking isn't enough and a thermometer (Or audit) will reveal that. Let me ask you, what are your thermostats set on, and how much is your heating bill?

Mar 12, 2017, 09:55 AM
My thermostat is set on 21.5 (automatically) but at times when it's really cold outside, I'd have to set at 22-24 degrees and still feel the draughts

Mar 12, 2017, 04:00 PM
If you feel cold coming IN, then walk around the house when it's windy and find the spots!

I got blasts from the cellar through an access panel to the bathtub in a closet.
And as I said, even switches on the north side let in blasts of air.
You don't say if you have attic stairs. You don't say if you replaced doors as well as windows. You answer about 1 question out of 5.
Gee thanks! You're welcome!

Mar 13, 2017, 07:54 AM
The one thing I have also noticed to check is where your themostat is located and what the temperature profile is around it. For example, mine is right across from my bathroom and near my office where a lot of heat comes by, as a result the basement gets cold. Close the bathroom door and office door, and the basement temp goes up.

Old house, especially post war houses in Alberta are a little dodgy (I like in Calgary). Replace the windows and doors. Get stuff to cover the bottom crack of the exterior doors. There is a lot that can be done, but finding drafts is hard, especially if you could have a break in the exterior that is letting air in. Or the insulation could have degraded. It might take a lot to get things warmer.