Enhancing Energy Efficiency in Historic Homes. Please proof this inspection article.

Enhancing Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings.

Great job, Nick; keep 'em coming!!!

One caveat that may need to be addressed, if not here, at least somewhere. Many areas, like here where I live and operate, have some very strict guidelines and requirements that are imposed on buyers and homeowners of historic homes. Any and all alterations, additions, upgrades, retrofits have to be submitted and approved by a Historical Society or committee before even applying for permits. Sometimes even the colors for paint have to be approved. I do a number of old historic homes within the Pensacola city limits, well over a hundred years old, but most around 80-90 yrs old. I have seen many go through this process and they find it can be very daunting and tedious at times. On the up side of this, these same people will provide the history and reveal resources for the buyers and remodelers.

Just FYI, This Old House magazine and website provides a plethora of resources for finding items, hardware, HVAC upgrades made specifically for this area of historical housing.

Air sealing is often the biggest bang for the buck in older buildings. Not just window and door weatherstripping but sealing in the basement and the attic in particular as well as the bypasses that are so common in older homes.

Thermally yours,

John Snell
ASNT NDT Thermal/Infrared Level III #48166
The Snell Group


Agreed, John.

Around here, I have yet to see a house (new or older, sad to say) that had an ACH50 of less than 10 - 12. Seems like badly installed fiberglass insulation is the rule, rather than the exception. They they chink the window and door penetrations with fiberglass. Unsealed can lights and bathroom exhaust fans vented directly to attics and unsealed sheathing. The builders seem to believe that Tyvek does not have to be taped and that it does the air sealing.

I, heavily, recommend spray foam insullation. Good R value plus the added benefits of air sealing and water / vapor barrier.

That’s just in my area, mind you.

Hope this helps;

But Will it’s just a little hole. It won’t matter.

We have a long way to go in getting folks to take energy efficiency seriously in most circumstances. It’s a shame given the modern materials that make this effort a lot more successful with a little attention to detail.

A little hole can cause a LOT of air infiltration, amd moisture infiltration, in our humid for three seasons climate.

And there are many “little holes”.

Add to that the, usually, negative pressure conditions in modern houses (forced and induced draft furnaces and water heaters).

On you major point, I really agree.

Don’t forget, one of the most important aspects of air sealing is to determine the thermal boundary of the home.
Great comments!

great comments, guys. Doug, that’s a very good point