With all the doom and gloom hanging over our heads on the state of the economy, we’re looking for more ways to save, but sometimes that means spending a little money first.
We had the folks from Informed Energy Decisions over a couple weeks ago to perform an energy audit/condition survey of our bungalow.
We heard about their services when we went to a talk last month about Weatherizing your Bungalow sponsored by the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association.
Ross showed up with a bunch of gear and asked us a series of questions regarding our main concerns or issues, and our goals.
For one, we wanted an assessment of our TV/family room off the kitchen, which gets rather cold in winter. Now, with six windows in the room, we figured that was at least part of the problem, and also because it lies over an unfinished and uninsulated part of the basement (Pete’s workroom), which also gets very cold. But was there something beyond that? And what specifically could we do to change that?
Yes, we could start by hanging drapes, making sure gaps and holes were plugged and sealed, and then see if that did the trick. But what we liked about their services is that after their assessment, we’d get a better idea of exactly what was going on, and they break everything down into a prioritized action plan. Many of the tasks we will be able do on our own at a minimal cost.
The first thing they do is make sure all windows are shut. They seal off the front entrance with this tarp and large fan. When they turn the fan on, it gradually depressurizes the house and gives the effect of a 20-mph wind coming at the house from all sides.
Next, Ross inspected every room in the house using puffs of smoke to detect leaks.
Yes, there are definitely some issues around the back door and the surrounding frame, but these can be sealed up with caulk and weatherstripping.
There is also plenty of air coming in where the baseboard meets the floor. We currently have no shoe molding because much of it was replaced over the years with cheap pine quarter round. When we had all the woodwork stripped, we excluded the shoe molding. My long-term goal is to install the proper size, which is taller than it is wide, and to use the proper type of wood.
Some of the good news? Our original, restored windows ARE efficient. Where they (and any type of window) are lacking is in the framing surrounding the windows, which can be sealed with caulk and/or expanding foam. Some windows do rattle a little within the frame, but these can be tightened up with weatherstripping.
We also have a damper on our boiler heating system (courtesy of the PO), which Ross said increases the efficiency of our furnace by 3-5%.
Later, I’ll get into more details about our results and interior winterization project. This weekend we need to focus on winterizing our garden: emptying the rain barrels, protecting the water fountain, and sowing our native grass seed.
In the meantime, ten more days ’til the Big Election. I hope to be able to focus on other things, including the house, after that. That will definitely be a welcome CHANGE.