A 21st Century challenge
One of the most interesting aspects of inn keeping is the fact we get to live in a historic home dating back to 1854. It also presents us with one of our greatest challenges. While the stories of a home that pre-dates the Civil War are fascinating, the problems that lie within its walls are a whole different ball game. It is a double-edged sword in that homes back then were built to last, but they aren’t always efficient in a 21st century world.
Perhaps the biggest issue with an old home is sealing it. It isn’t uncommon for us to have a heating or cooling bill well over $1,000 in peak months. One of the first things we tackled to help combat this leakage was to replace all the old windows. We have replaced about 42 of the 55 windows in this house, with the remaining windows scheduled to be completed this coming summer. Even the most cost-effective windows are still a big chunk of change, so it has taken almost eight years to complete this project.
The second most important project we have tackled just recently with regard to sealing the house was to have blown in insulation put into our exterior walls. The process of getting this done involved a ton of paperwork that was required by Ameren in order to qualify for the rebate program they had for energy efficiency improvements. Additionally, we had to do two blow door tests, one baseline one indicating where our leakage was coming from and a second one post insulation insuring our results were good enough to get our rebate. We also had to do some additional sealing to help the insulation along, including purchasing inflatable plugs for the fireplaces to be put in place when they are not in use, taking every single plug and light switch off the exterior walls of the house and gluing in foam gaskets which proved to be a daunting task when we discovered there were more than 40 plugs/switches and caulking basement windows and any other leaky spot we could find. We still need to add a few extra rolls of insulation in the attic to seal it up even further but had to wait until we had a new AC unit installed, which should be more efficient in cooling the house.
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