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 10-28-2003, 18:59 Post: 67377
kwschumm



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No, this is not a scam.

In the current "Stickler" thread the issue of energy consumption for Mark's house came up. I wanted to offer up a tip that may help save some energy.

When we built our house we did everything we could to make it as tight as we could. When the house was complete an energy auditor came out and did a blower door test, certifying our house as a "super good cents" house which should mean low electric bills. The house had a 0.30 ACH (Air changes per hour) rate which is very good.

In spite of all this planning and certifying our bills were consistently a lot higher than projected.

We have over 60 recessed light fixtures in our house. These were all supposed to be Air-Loc fixtures to keep air exfiltration from occuring, but they instead installed Air-Loc READY fixtures. When I held a smoke stick near the fixture I could watch the smoke rise up through the fixture.

The manufacturer of our fixtures, Juno, sells gaskets that are made to seal Air-Loc ready fixtures and make them Air-Loc fixtures. These gaskets are dirt cheap - less than $2 each.

When I bought and installed these gaskets our electric bill dropped by 20%/month. That was like a two-month payback, and my wife has commented that the house feels a lot less drafty.

So, if you have recessed light fixtures this is something to look into.






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 10-28-2003, 20:13 Post: 67383
JAZAK5



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 Save money on your electric bill

excellent tip!!!! are these lights incadecent or flourecent






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 10-28-2003, 20:21 Post: 67384
kwschumm



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These are mostly long-neck halogen fixtures. The only exceptions are the wet area fixtures in the bathrooms that are incandescent. I should mention that the wet area fixtures were a no-name brand so I just caulked those around the perimeter where the fixture pokes through the ceiling sheetrock.






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 10-28-2003, 20:29 Post: 67387
Chief



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 Save money on your electric bill

Laying an R-38 layer of insulation in the attic will make a big difference as well. Saved a bunch on my electric bill doing that. I also never use the heat pump when the outside temp. is below 35 degrees. I use the woodstove or kerosene heater downstairs. And the big tip for some free and easy heat is that I park my 4410 in the basement after several hours of hard running. Definitely puts out some heat. Wink yeah right






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 10-28-2003, 20:46 Post: 67388
kwschumm



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Insulation is very important but it doesn't stop air movement. We have cellulose insulation, R21 in the walls and R43 in the attic so I was very surprised at the difference the air-loc fixture gaskets made.






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 10-29-2003, 01:02 Post: 67401
AC5ZO

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 Save money on your electric bill

Some recessed light fixtures require an airgap to the insulation or they will overheat. Some that I installed a few years ago required a clearance of 6" or so. Please check the types of fixtures that you have before you put any insulation over them or seal them up.






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 10-29-2003, 07:17 Post: 67412
TomG

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 Save money on your electric bill

Around here most energy efficient buildings would have vapour barriers above the ceiling that I think would prevent the problem. Maybe it is a heat issue and codes require air space above fixtures. That might prevent vapour barrier from being laid on top of them unless structures were build above the fixtures. If I had a choice between paying carpenter hourly rates or buying 2-cent gaskets I'd likely go for the gaskets. Having much space for hot air to escape from the ceiling to the attic sure would run up the heating bill.






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 10-29-2003, 08:57 Post: 67422
kwschumm



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Our house has vapor barriers but that doesn't solve the problem. The heat loss is caused by air exfiltration through the penetrations cut in the sheetrock and vapor barrier for the fixture. You can't cut those penetrations tight enough to eliminate gaps through which air can leak.

AC brings up a good point. In my case the fixtures were all approved for direct contact with insulation, but if you're retrofitting you need to check this to prevent a fire.






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 10-30-2003, 06:17 Post: 67519
TomG

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I was trying to figure why the ceiling wouldn't have been built and vapour barrier laid over the whole thing rather than cutting panels out of the barrier for the lights. I can think of several reasons such as the barrier tending to tear where it goes over the lights or maybe disturbing overlap between widths. Just trying to fill in some gaps in my building technique knowledge here. I always thought having continuous barrier was desirable.






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 10-30-2003, 13:06 Post: 67558
kwschumm



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Tom, are you thinking that they would build the ceiling and install all the light fixtures and then install the vapor barrier on top of the whole thing before insulating?

That seems to make some sense and I'm not sure why they don't do it that way. One drawback may be an air gap between sheetrock and the vapor barrier that would lay on top of the ceiling joists, but I'm not sure if that would be a problem or not. Another problem may be the fact that putting 12-14" of insulation on top of vapor barrier may cause the vapor barrier to tear through, especially as it ages and becomes more brittle.

I know I wouldn't to work in attic built that way.






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