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July 27, 2011


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If you're looking at attic insulation then I'd also recommend getting an energy audit and considering air sealing. We did energy audit followed by air sealing & attic insulation and it cut our heating costs about 30%. Well worth the cost for us.

I would love to be the recipient of your small snowblower "give away!"

Major shopping list of all the college stuff needed to equip a student to be away from home to attend college.

One website listed 108 essential items. It was around 85 after you eliminated all the necessary girl stuff.

Alot more then when I went to college and alot more money.

Hey Jim!

Who did your energy audit (the utility company or a private company? What is air sealing? How much was the total cost for doing the audit + air sealing + attic insulation?

What was the breakeven (e.g. cost you $1000 -- you save $100 a month on energy costs -- so you broke even in 10 months?)?

Good advice -- appreciate it! Would really love the numbers.

As an architect the vast majority of older houses (especially before 1978) are improperly insulated, caulked or just plain leak alot around windows doors and just about anything which impacts the heat or cooling by air infiltration. Sometimes a DIY could spend as little as $50 an realize a HUGE gain. Replacing window can be a major expense but could pay it back with the energy saving very quick. The energy audit could tell you this on the cost/benefit.

One thing most people don't realize is that insulation doesn't do much good if you have significant air movement. Every hole in your ceiling up to the attic, if not properly sealed, can leak significant air (and heat). Get a bunch of caulk / foam sealant and send your son up into the attic to seal around chimney chases, holes for electric lines, ceiling light boxes.

Make sure to use fire-block caulk/foam in appropriate places.

Here's good info on air sealing into attics:

Fantastic article Michael -- thank you. Wish there was a video for it. The pictures were helpful though!

Nate, Michael covered air sealing pretty well.

In my case the energy audit was done by a private contractor but if I recall right our utilty had a deal where they paid for it. The audit was around $100 or so.

Our house was built in 1985 and had little insulation in the attic and none in the crawl space. So we got extra insulation in the attic and got the floors done too. Most people wouldn't need all that. Our costs were about $7000 total but tax credits and rebates from the utility paid around half of that so our out of pocket was more like $3500. We save around $300 per year on heat due to the changes so the break even point for us is around 10 years.

I would check with the electric/gas utilities and see waht kind of offers they may have. The utilities often have rebates for energy improvements. Your state may also have some sort of tax incentives. And currently the IRS will pay 10% :

Note, our costs were on the high side. I don't expect it would cost most people that much. If you DIY then its a lot cheaper and insulation isn't too hard to do yourself if you take some time to learn how to do it correctly.

We need to fix our in-ground swimming pool so we can sell the house next year - will be about $1500 for the work and $2000 to have new water delivered (2000 gallons), would take an eternity to fill via the hose and I want to enjoy it before the snow comes!

The dust has already settled on the tablet wars. There is the iPad2 and everybody else. Just depends if you want iOS or Android.

Jclimber - what is your opinion on the windows 7 based tablets?

Just a note on ipads. I spurlged on one for a trip this past month. I had a windfall from work. It was tithed, spent and saved on it in that order. I got an ipad 2 with 3G. I thought the 3G would be, no. We were in the middle of Denali in Alaska. No cell coverage. No 3G. Most places have wi-fi which was very adequate for the minimal amount of surfing a person needs to do on vacation. It's awesome for books. Music, the speakers are tinny but sounds good with my computer speakers. I signed up with netflix but the motorhome we rented had a DVD player. Definetly a fun TOY. I'm sure there's vastly more applications then I will ever have an inclination to use.

kjaxx - I only use Macs at home so no opinion on the Windows tablets. fwiw, the only tablets I have actually seen people use have been the iPads.

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