Friday, April 8, 2011

The rest of the insulation story

Day 2:  Air sealing in the attic continues, along with the announcement by John that three bats have been found in the attic; they were probably nesting  in the old fiberglass batts. He brings one outside with his bare (gloved) hands, but the other two have hidden again. I am a bit skeeved out by this, but as long as they don't encroach on my living space, I suppose I can ignore them for now. C is out of town and this is definitely under his job description, not mine.

As more holes are drilled in the master bed and bath, holes made in the kids' rooms yesterday are filled. This is a process that takes a few days--fill, dry, sand, fill again, dry, sand again. As bad as the dust was yesterday, it is five times worse today, and spreading fast. The guys put in another looong day (here at 8am, leaving at 7pm) but they all comment on what a "good time" they are having on our "interesting project." To each his own, I guess!

Day 3:  The basement crew joins in for a day of spray foaming. They cover the rim joists and squeeze into crawlspaces to spray under the sunroom and family room floors. I can hear the poor guy from where I am sitting in the family room saying he is stuck in a corner, but I am assured he is a bit of a character and just putting on a show. The smell from the foam becomes a bit overpowering (it smells until in hardens and cures, and then is odor-free) so we open windows throughout the house. Aside from this, the day proceeds as usual, with John of the Bats and Kyle taking their leave around 7pm and heading home. All of the insulating has been completed, but there is still patching work to be completed, and Brian wants to do another blower door test to check his work, so Brian and John will stick around one more day.

G and R head up to bed, and after they have read quietly for half an hour they prepare for sleep. G throws his book to the ground and all of a sudden something is flying around the room. They watch for a few minutes, then come downstairs. "Mom, there's a bird in our room." Well, we did have all those windows open today, and G's didn't have a screen--so it's quite possible. We all head back upstairs to take a look. I peek in the doorway to see where the critter is hanging out, and there it is, dangling off the window molding.

Hmm, I think, birds don't usually hang like that. That's a freakin' BAT encroaching on MY living space! I quickly shut the door and think for a second. I decide to get a broom for some reason, perhaps remembering that time in England we came home from vacation to find three blackbirds had flown into our home through the fireplace and taken up residence in our absence--my dad went after them with a broom and whacked the floor so hard he broke the head onf the broom from the handle! While I am downstairs older son B has the presence of mind to ask the boys if they were bitten; both say no, thank goodness.

When I return with the broom I slowly open the door, still not sure of my plan. The bat is still hanging there and I am just about to enter the room  when ZOOM, there it goes, flying circles around the room. Door slams as I let out a little shriek and drop the broom like a hot potato. G starts breathing fast and R starts crying; I calm them down, telling them I was just startled. Why does this stuff always happen when C is out of town? I tell the boys to get sleeping bags and camp out in the guest room; Griffin says his boots and clothes are in his room--what will he do for school? I tell him to wear his sneakers and he will have to wear some of R's clothes to school instead. Luckily they are only a few inches apart in height.

Not knowing what else to do, I call C--who is at an awards dinner that night, and thus without his phone---and as a last ditch measure, Brian. Brian says no problem, just leave it shut up in the room and he will take care of it in the morning. I put some towels along the bottom of G's door so the thing can't squeeze through the opening and call it a (rather uneasy) night.

Day 4: G's pants are too short but he doesn't mind as he has a story to tell at school. B has some fun at breakfast talking about rabies shots and vampires. When Brian and John arrive, John starts on the walls while Brian deals with the bat. He finds it hanging off the crown molding, manages to get it in a towel and out the window. Luckily it didn't seem to leave any droppings, but I still washed all the bedding anyway.

You may remember from an older post that the results of our first blower door test showed a heat loss of about 143 kbtu/hr. Well, the results of our second test showed we are now at a loss of 64 kbtu/hr! This is a pretty impressive result. Brian had hoped to get us down to a 61 or so, and he has a few more recommendations of things we can do on our own to get us closer to that ultimate goal--but really, we are quite happy with the result! The house does feel better; I have already turned down thermostats, the house isn't as dry, and it also seems quieter.

Now I just have a ton of painting to do, though I believe I will wait until after the geothermal install is complete. We should have a start date soon!

The hole they drill, I think it is about 2" in diameter.

Here it is after the cellulose has been pumped in.

Upstairs hallway, lots of holes.

Drywall boxes in the attic built over the can lights.

Same box sealed up with foam.

A patched hole.

Before they apply the drywall compound, a small styrofoam disk is placed in the hole.

Filling the wall.

Our new tenant--yuck! He's been summarily evicted!
A big thanks to Brian for the use of his photos and all of his hard work and planning on our behalf, and to John, Kyle, and John, all from Envinity. You guys made this as painless as possible, though I am convinced the dust will never completely disappear (I dust a desk Monday, and Wednesday it looks like it's never seen a rag--what's up with that?). :-)

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