We've been living in this old house of ours for just shy of seven years. The original portion of this house is thought to have been built in the 1890's, making part of this house well over 100 years old. There are two energy-related issues about this house that we haven't liked ever since we've moved in.
One, it's heated with oil (forced air). Two, it's like living in swiss cheese- the house is drafty, drafty, drafty- hotter than necessary in summer and colder than need be in the winter. Also, the temperature extremes within the house are comical. The living room thermostat can read 68 degrees while the temperature in the kitchen (on the opposite side of the house, both on the first floor) can read 52 degrees. And you wonder why I bake.
Relatively soon after moving in, we replaced 20 out of the 25 windows. This helped quite a bit and made actually opening and closing the windows as well as cleaning them much easier. It also meant less storm windows to deal with. Over the years, Jamey has worked off and on at insulating some of the trouble spots, but, oh, what giant project to tackle.
We knew once Jamey was out of school we wanted to think more seriously about improving the two major beefs we have with this house. We want to save money and live more sustainably. We have had countless discussions on the topic over the years with an incredible increase in frequency and duration in the past few months as we saw another winter looming.
Before making a decision about heating the house, we needed to get the house ready by tightening it up as best we can. I say "we", but of course I am referring to Jamey. It's not as if I don't want to help, it's just that he's so much better at it than I and someone needs to watch the three little ninnies that live here with us.
The first step of this process was a no-brainer for us. We wanted an expert to come in here and show us the holes, show us what we needed to do to insulate and tighten up the house. Who wants to set up a new heating system only to help heat the outside? The husband of a friend of mine is a building inspector and has become certified energy auditor (specifically, a RESNET Energy Rater). We gave him a call, asking that he come show us what we might not want to see but knew we needed to.
And show us, he did.
I'm so sorry to tease, but you'll have to come back for the next installment of "Heating Our House" to find out what happened next.