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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Default How to insulate an 1836 Colonial home

    We are trying to become more energy efficient in our 1836 Colonial home. We are located in a Historic District and have to have any exterior renovation approved by our local Board. We would like to insulate the walls of our home. The interior of these walls have been fully restored and we would rather not remove these. We have heard that blown in insulation can create a serious moisture problem and create rot in the sills over time. We feel that we are the current caretakers and do not want to mess this beautiful home up in any way. Is there a way to blow insulation in from the exterior without much damage? We plan to have the exterior of the house painted this season and would like to address our heat loss problem first. Are there products that might be better suited for our home? We also are concerned with the health of our family and indoor air quality. We are trying to make our home"green" and more comfortable in the long New England winters. Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    2

    Default Re: How to insulate an 1836 Colonial home

    I have the same questions for my 1882 farmhouse on Boston's South Shore. My biggest concern is the potential for moisture and resulting damage to materials, not to mention mold.

    Also, what would be the best use of resources for increasing energy efficiency: Increasing existing insulation in attic? Caulking any joints, holes, or cracks in siding, around trim, and in foundation? Adding hardware store variety insulators to light switches and receptacles? Rehabbing original 2 over 2 double-hung sash to tighten them up, including adding weatherstipping? Caulking around existing storms, or installing new storms? Other?

    I hope to get some thermal photos of my house in the next couple of weeks, and those might answer my questions.

    It is just hard to know where the most heat loss is happening, and to balance that with cost of remediation, and potential for damage and/or decreasing indoor air quality. I want to get the most bang for my buck without unintentionally creating worse problems down the road.

    Thanks for any help.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1,387

    Default Re: How to insulate an 1836 Colonial home

    Howdy, Consider getting a few insullation companies to come and bid the job and ask them you questions. I have 105 year old home in a small town in Nebraskan with ballown construction walls. The first 88-- years no insullation. Then blown in cellous on the north walls only. I am renovating it now and have had to remove the plaster in the north wall. No wetness no mold no rott was found. I have been reading about insullation and one of the advantages of blown cellous is that it lets the moisture trave threw it not stopping the moisture. The cellouse weg page recommends not using vapor barriors with it. The best advantage is that the density of the cellous really reduces air infiltration unlike fiberglass. I have seen blown in holes made at the top of the interior walls insullation added and instead of extensive wall repair- crown molding installed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: How to insulate an 1836 Colonial home

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Miller View Post
    Howdy, Consider getting a few insullation companies to come and bid the job and ask them you questions. I have 105 year old home in a small town in Nebraskan with ballown construction walls. The first 88-- years no insullation. Then blown in cellous on the north walls only. I am renovating it now and have had to remove the plaster in the north wall. No wetness no mold no rott was found. I have been reading about insullation and one of the advantages of blown cellous is that it lets the moisture trave threw it not stopping the moisture. The cellouse weg page recommends not using vapor barriors with it. The best advantage is that the density of the cellous really reduces air infiltration unlike fiberglass. I have seen blown in holes made at the top of the interior walls insullation added and instead of extensive wall repair- crown molding installed.
    Thanks for the insite to your insulated walls. We are trying to figure out the best way to make our current home green, without later problems. Sounds like I should take a look at the cellous web-site, thanks for the info. Hope the renovation progresses well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: How to insulate an 1836 Colonial home

    Quote Originally Posted by jean5700 View Post
    I have the same questions for my 1882 farmhouse on Boston's South Shore. My biggest concern is the potential for moisture and resulting damage to materials, not to mention mold.

    Also, what would be the best use of resources for increasing energy efficiency: Increasing existing insulation in attic? Caulking any joints, holes, or cracks in siding, around trim, and in foundation? Adding hardware store variety insulators to light switches and receptacles? Rehabbing original 2 over 2 double-hung sash to tighten them up, including adding weatherstipping? Caulking around existing storms, or installing new storms? Other?

    I hope to get some thermal photos of my house in the next couple of weeks, and those might answer my questions.

    It is just hard to know where the most heat loss is happening, and to balance that with cost of remediation, and potential for damage and/or decreasing indoor air quality. I want to get the most bang for my buck without unintentionally creating worse problems down the road.

    Thanks for any help.
    Sounds like we have the same problem...how do you make an older home more green without health concerns or future problems. I am going to take a look at the celluse web-site and see what I find. If you hear anything, please let me know.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: How to insulate an 1836 Colonial home

    We have cellulous insulation in our attic, and it doesn't seem to cause any moisture problems. I've heard conflicting reports about the moisture damage it might cause in the walls. I'll keep investigating before taking any action. Good to hear from Timothy Miller that he hasn't had any problems with his insulation.

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