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Vaulted Ceiling energy concerns

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:38 am
by Fellowcraft
Hello Shannon,

I have a vaulted ceiling in my living room which I believe is the cause of my outrageous natural gas bill. I live in Ontario, and while we have had an unusually cold winter, in January my gas bill was $190 which is unreasonable. The house is a bungalow with a loft, and is 1700 square feet; at it's highest point, the ceiling at 20 feet. In your experience, have vaulted ceilings been the source of this much energy waste? If we brought the ceiling down to a normal 8 or 9 feet and filled the cavity with blow-in insulation, would this improve energy efficiency? Or if we reduced the angle and brought it down partially and spray foamed in-between the trusses? Just wondering what your thoughts were.

Thanks again.

Re: Vaulted Ceiling energy concerns

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:40 am
by Shannon
This could be the cause of your heat loss. There is generally much less R value in a vaulted ceiling because of the reduced amount of space to place traditional insulations. How ever it is going to cost you much more than the extra amount of energy it may have cost you last month to reduce this energy loss. My guess is that if your entire home is vaulted then you are around 2000sq. of ceiling . The cost of opening that all up and furring down the joists so more insulation can be added will be a large and fairly expensive project costing likely close to $3000 dollars to add another R 20 or so to it. That is if you do all the work and don't count your time as any value. The simplest would be to open the ceiling and remove the existing insulation and adding 3" or so of closed cell sprayfoam and re finishing the ceiling but that would be closer to $6000 likely.

So comparably speaking even if you took the cheaper route and lets say it saved you an average of $30 a month in winter ,winter months being maybe 6 months it would take you over 16 yrs just to break even. And we don't even know if that is the main problem? Also is this the first winter with the new carbon tax ? How much is it adding to the bill that you are not used to?

It may be worth the money for an energy audit if you are really concerned? They can come in and take an over all look at the home and also do negative pressure tests to see where it is leaking the most and offer suggestions on places to improve.

If you do not have ceiling fans up in that ceiling then that would for sure help push some heat back down and recirculate it also.

Hope this gave you some factors to consider.

Re: Vaulted Ceiling energy concerns

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:16 am
by A. Spruce
Heat rises, so with high ceilings you will have to have the thermostat set higher to be warm at floor level. Adding ceiling fans will help greatly to mix the warm and cold air and push the heat down into the room.

Re: Vaulted Ceiling energy concerns

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:14 am
by Fellowcraft
Thanks to both of you for your reply and suggestions. You are absolutely right about the rate of return on such an expensive renovation versus the energy savings. I think I will definitely look into the ceiling fan option and see how that helps. Thanks again for the advice!

Re: Vaulted Ceiling energy concerns

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:54 pm
by Shannon
yes the ceiling fans are the cheap option for you by far. Make sure they are variable speed and likely remote controlled will be the easiest install.

I am curious if you guys have a carbon tax added to your natural gas bill there yet? We have not seen it in Saskatchewan yet.

Re: Vaulted Ceiling energy concerns

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:46 pm
by Fellowcraft
Hi Shannon,

Thanks again. Will definitely go with a remote control. We have not been hit with the carbon tax yet, but I'm sure it's coming. When that happens, I may just keep my furnace off completely. : )

Re: Vaulted Ceiling energy concerns

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:18 pm
by Shannon
Lol. Good luck with the fans. Let us know how you make out.