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Thread: Garage door insulation before/after

  1. #1

    Default Garage door insulation before/after

    Preface to the prefaces:
    Yes, I know full well that insulating the garage door with absolutely no means of cooling or removing the hot air will not do anything in the way of making the space cooler.

    Preface to the preface:
    The following data doesn’t show as much of a difference as felt in person. You used to feel the heat radiating off the garage door, to the point that it was making me sick while installing the insulation. Temperatures felt like they varied greatly depending on what area of the garage you were standing in. After the insulation the garage temps felt much more evenly distributed, and there is no radiating effect felt from the door.

    Preface:
    After I placed the thermometer the first day I realized I probably should have put it in the middle of the garage, not off to the side that I did. I put it on top of a stack of boxes on the “cold” side of the garage. During the hottest part of the day, that side of the garage is noticeably cooler than the other side. But I was looking more for the overall trend; the exact numbers weren’t so important to me.


    Garage basics:
    -Brick exterior
    -3x exposed walls – house is a “U” shape, the garage is one leg of the U
    -No windows
    -Insulated walls – how well insulated I do not know
    -Insulated ceiling w/ crawl space access (no stairs/ladder). The flat ceiling to the garage is insulated, with the exception of the access door/hatch. The sloped roof of the crawl space is not insulated.
    -Standard 16x7’ metal garage door
    -No threshold strip on the garage floor, but no light showing under the door when fully closed
    -No fan or other device to move air
    -Water heater is in a corner, with just one exposed side





    Test conditions:
    -Digital thermometer rated to 125°F used
    -Garage light left off except to check thermometer
    -Garage light is a fluorescent bulb
    -Thermometer left untouched in the same location throughout the test, placed out of direct sunlight when garage door is open
    -No engines or other heat-releasing devices used (vehicle not started, no tools used, etc)
    -Outside temperatures taken from www.weather.com for the 76052 area code - refreshed just before recorded

    Recorded temperatures with notes:




    Install comments:
    Installation took 41 minutes from start to finish. Time was started from when I picked up the boxes from the front door and carried to the garage, and ended when I put the last tool away. It included a short break to test two different wines (wedding preparations) and deal with my fiancé cutting her finger on the bottle wrapper. I would guess install took a total of 25 minutes start to finish. It only required a razor knife, a tape measure, and a straight edge (I used a 4’ level).
    I had 113” of insulation left over since I had to buy two single door kits for my double door. This is enough to replace two sections in the future, should any get damaged, so that’s a decent bonus. I might just use it to insulate the crawl space hatch piece though. I was ten optional trim pieces short. I wasn’t expecting ANY, so receiving the seven they gave me was a welcome surprise. The pieces are just over $1 each, and definitely make the finished product look tidier, but they aren’t needed by any means (hence being optional).





    You can see some of the optional trim pieces running vertically along the metal pieces:



    Overall impression:
    As I said earlier, the data doesn’t seem to tell the entire story. The garage feels much cooler, especially when standing right next to the door. I could literally feel the reduction in radiating heat as I was standing behind the door installing that column’s panels. It does retain heat, which should be awesome in the winter, but also means it stays toasty throughout the night. I would think you’d need to leave the door open for a bit after you pull in a hot car. Or get some kind of exhaust fan. However, the space cools much quicker when I open the door to the house – we have a small laundry room that you need to pass through to get from the garage to the kitchen, and leaving just the garage to laundry room door open will cool the garage a few degrees very quickly, without raising again until the door is closed.

    The insulation added some weight to the door, but it is barely noticeable when lifting the door manually – my electric opener is broken right now (stupid car is directly under the unit, so it's a pain to get to it). The door still stays balanced and open at the same points it did prior to the insulation, so I don’t see a problem occurring with that when I fix the opener.

    Noise is greatly reduced as well. I can hear less outside noises when I am inside, and the air compressor noise is greatly reduced when standing outside the door. I’m not sure I would have the compressor run while working out there with the door closed, but now I can start the compressor in the middle of the night without having to worry about waking the neighbors.
    Last edited by RobŪ; 08-09-2011 at 04:06 PM.

  2. #2

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    With the insulation installed, can you and your family now comfortably play in the yard, like in the picture on the box?

  3. #3
    Obnoxious at any speed altiain's Avatar
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    What was the cost of the two kits?
    Iain

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrj512 View Post
    With the insulation installed, can you and your family now comfortably play in the yard, like in the picture on the box?
    Yes he can. The heat radiating from the air compressor is no longer a factor in the global warming effect.
    05 MX-5 Mazdaspeed #1024 Titanium Gray Mica

  5. #5

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    Yes, I put the little colored neighbor kids on my shoulders and run around smiling.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by altiain View Post
    What was the cost of the two kits?
    You know, I thought I put that in there.

    I paid $192.69 shipped from Texasgarages.com (http://www.texasgarages.com/akit.htm). They gave me the "August summer sale" price despite buying it 7/27. I think they actually have a "sale" every month, just think of a new name for it each time. Orders over $150 are shipped free, so the two kits qualified for that. The Texas tax was $1.xx less than it would have cost if I paid shipping, so that was a pleasant relief. I have to say I was a little annoyed that they shipped from Kentucky or somewhere (forget, don't feel like looking it up) instead of Austin like I thought it would be. Didn't matter much, but it added a few days of shipping time that I wasn't expecting.

  7. #7

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    I like it. I have been thinking of doing the same thing with some type of exhaust system to get the hot air out.

    Gabkwong and I installed a passive heat exhaust system in his garage using an AC/heat register, and a 4 foot piece of round metal duct. The duct was lined up with the wind turbine we installed on the garage roof. It draws enough air out of the garage to hold a tissue up against the register.
    1990 White NA - SOLD
    1994 Black NA - SOLD
    2006 Red NC - GT with limited slip, HIDs, all OEM.

  8. #8

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    My AC plans have been put on hold for now, but I wanted to get the insulation done while it was fresh on my mind. I DEFINITELY need an exhaust fan, or a fan in general. When it comes time to remodel/makeover the garage soon I will be installing a ceiling fan I took out of my office, so there will be at least some air movement. Still not AC cold, but should at least feel better than nothing. One day..

    I'm interested to see how warm it stays in the winter now. With the water heater (tank-style) and a contractor light thing, I'm hoping it will be warm enough to not have water freeze again.

    And yes, it was one of the more expensive kits out there. But it was also the one with the highest R-value I saw. I'm sure I could have saved a few bucks and gotten a lower R-value, but I'm happy with it right now, even without AC or it being winter. Oh, and I get some kind of tax credit for this kit as well, so that's nice :)
    Last edited by RobŪ; 08-10-2011 at 07:50 AM.

  9. #9
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    I did the foil backed poppy stuff last year. No change. I think this thicker stuff would have helped more.

    I had to replace my garage door opener last night (got home, tried to open it and sproing the sprocket broke off). Took about 2 hours to swap, so don't worry about that (was $230 for the 3/4hp jobber @ Home Depot).

  10. #10

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    My opener is fine - it's just the usual stripped plastic gear making it useless right now. I already have the gear (took the unit apart to see what was wrong) but the car's hood is centered underneath the opener, so it's incredibly awkward to get to, especially if I don't want to stand on the hood. Since the car doesn't move the only real reason I have to open the door is to take the garbage cans out. So it's not a priority at the moment.

  11. #11

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    I worked on some advertising collateral for a guy who had patented a Garage fan that he claimed would keep your garage and attic significantly cooler throughout the summer. It mounted in the ceiling or attic ladder panel. It was essentially a 12" SPAL-type fan with a built in thermostat and humidistat that you could adjust to turn the fan on and off. It required either cracking the garage door or installing a small louvered vent in the garage door to draw outside, ambient air in. It would blow air into the attic and out through the roof vents.

    According to the materials he gave me (including his home energy bills showing a significant decrease in electricity used for air conditioning once he installed a prototype in his own home) it seemed very effective.

    Combined with garage door insulation it might be super efficient.

  12. #12

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    Sounds like the house fan systems that are all over Florida - at least the house I lived in out there had it, as does most of my family in the Orlando area (there's a ton of them there...large family). Only those did the entire house, not just the garage. I know the one in my house worked very well when it wasn't too humid outside, so I can imagine it'd be cool in the garage too.

    My problem is that I can't put a vent in the garage door for HOA reasons. Cracking the door open slightly seems somewhat counterproductive to insulating the door though, no? I wouldn't get the radiating heat from the panels - which was the real killer - but there'd be a good sized "hole" in the insulation since the door would be open a bit. I guess it moves enough to not worry about that?

    The only part that "sucks" about this is that the crawl space above my garage is not attached to the actual attic at all. There is absolutely no reason that I need to go above the garage, so using that hatch would be fine, but it won't cool my actual attic...which is fairly large and very hot. I'm not even sure how many vents are in that crawl space, so that'd be something I'd need to check (I'm assuming this guy knows the vent area you'd need to properly work?).

    If you still have the info, I would be interested to check it out. I don't have the $2000 budgeted for AC out there right now, but if this setup is significantly cheaper it might be doable in the near future.

  13. #13

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    I don't think he ever got the product picked up for production. Don't think it made it past a prototype. It should be pretty easy to make one, though. (Sans thermostat/humidistat - just manually turn it on/off when you need it).

    With regards to cracking the garage door - it's necessary to let fresh air into the garage which will be circulated up through the attic (crawl space) and back out to the atmosphere. You'll never get your garage lower than the outside ambient air temperature without some type of cooling system. But you can at least keep it ambient as opposed to an oven.

    His product worked with whatever is standard spec attic venting on production homes. Didn't require additional vents. It was called the "Garage Addict Fan". I found a PDF sales pitch document for it (never seen it before) here: LINK

  14. #14

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    Hmm..for the $25 fan cost it says, that might be worth looking into to hold me over till I can go forward with the actual AC. Even wiring in a thermostat wouldn't be that difficult. Probably wouldn't even bother with a humidistat though. Thanks for the heads up - I'll have to see what I can find when it comes time to start wiring the garage properly.

  15. #15

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    My plan was to modify a 9" house fan from Wally World (about $10) along with a thermostat control. There is no attic vent on my garage so I would need to add a vent.
    1990 White NA - SOLD
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  16. #16

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    Also a very good idea. The more I think about it, the more I realize I need to do something like this anyway just for the sake of having an exhaust fan of some sort, AC or not.

  17. #17

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    Go over to home depot or lowes and buy a gable vent fan and a return air filter register. $100 tops gets you the thermostat with the fan. Runs on 120 volts and the filter register can be used to stuff a piece of foam in during the times when it is not needed.
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    Things to be careful of:
    - water heater in the garage (blow out the pilot, sucking gas into the garage, boom)
    - negative pressure to the house, sucking the AC out the door
    - room above the garage, brick all around no venting capable (which is my problem + gas w/h in the garage).

  19. #19

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    - The water heater has been my far-off concern since we moved in. I obviously have been working in the garage with the door open, and the wind literally gets funneled directly into our house/yard. So I've had that situation in the back of my mind for awhile. To be honest, I did completely forget about it with talks of an exhaust fan though, so good bringing it up. I've been back and forth on completely enclosing it since it'd only be a single ~3-foot door I'd need to build. Once I get to the remodel part of the garage, I will actually research pros/cons of completely enclosing it. Ideally I'd replace it with a tankless heater to free up that much more garage space, but that will never happen. Have you done something to get around this issue? Suggestions? Like I said, I'm not at that point yet, but if we're all here coming up with potential issues and solutions, I'm all ears.

    - The door from the house to the garage is a storm door. It's actually a tighter seal than our front door (which I need to get around to correcting as well) and needs to go through a small laundry room before it goes to another door to the kitchen. But yeah, that would be a concern as well, but I don't foresee it being a major problem.

    - This is a very good point. I only peeked my head into the crawl space to see if it's insulated, but I haven't actually been up there to see how well it's vented, if at all. I *do* see a few of the vents under the overhangs on the outside, so I'm assuming they are actually functional. I will have to look into those more once I have to get up there to wire the garage, so excellent call on that one! I probably would have completely overlooked that until I bought everything to make some kind of exhaust fan setup.

  20. #20

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    Now you all have me trying to figure out how to vent my garage. Since there is a room above it I can't go up.....hmmmmm
    If you're addicted to cold turkey how do you stop?

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