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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default 1886 house with COLD kitchen!

    I am renting a house built in 1886, and the kitchen is FREEZING! The cupboards are on an exterior wall, and they are like little refrigerators (the lower cabinets in particular). Is there an easy DIY way to insulate them? I don't see any holes to plug, and no draft, it's just really really cold. The cupboards don't seem to have their own back, they are just built onto the wall, if that makes sense? I obviously can't make major changes to the house since it is a rental, but if there is anything minor I can do (ie. something that doesn't involve taking walls down to re-insulate them) that would help, I would love some suggestions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,583

    Default Re: 1886 house with COLD kitchen!

    You might consider buying a sheet of ridgid foamboard insulation and cutting it to the exact dimensions of the back wall of the cabinet. Of course, you will be surrendering some depth of the cabinets. Foamboard comes in many thickneses from 3/4 inch upwards. Obviously, the thicker the foam, the better the insulation. The foamboard can also be painted with a matching color so as to be minimally noticeable when the door is open. A couple pieces of double faced tape should keep it from falling forward.

    If you have access to a table saw, foamboard cuts like butter, albeit little foam "sawdust" particles fly all over the place!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    820

    Default Re: 1886 house with COLD kitchen!

    the exact same answer i would have given

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: 1886 house with COLD kitchen!

    Thank you, that sounds very do-able! I'll look for some foam board when I'm out buying weather stripping for my doors later.

    The high temperature here today is 1 degree (F)...old houses are charming, but they are much less charming in the winter!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: 1886 house with COLD kitchen!

    oh, I should have asked, is it safe to have this kind of insulation near food/pots & pans, or do I need to cover it with something?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    820

    Default Re: 1886 house with COLD kitchen!

    it's perfectly safe to put near any food, opened or not, or kitchenware.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,081

    Default Re: 1886 house with COLD kitchen!

    Just a reminder, since you said that you were renting: don't cut or drill in the walls without a written approval of your landlord, everything you do must be detachable.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: 1886 house with COLD kitchen!

    Thanks, everyone! On a related note, has anyone used radiator reflectors for radiators on exterior walls? Do they work well, or are they a waste of money? My gas bill doubled this month, so I'm looking for anything that might help my cold kitchen!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,096

    Default Re: 1886 house with COLD kitchen!

    Have you asked the owner if they would consider insulating? It seems that this may be lacking, and blown-in insulation isn't terribly expensive these days.

    Sad to say, many renters don't think about such things when they are in the market for another home, but when the time comes that they have to pay the heating and cooling bills the nice home they just moved into may become a nightmare. From an owner's viewpoint, they can use insulation as a marketing assistant and it can make the difference when it's pointed out to a potential customer.

    Phil

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Boston area
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: 1886 house with COLD kitchen!

    Are you living in my house? You just described my exact situation, except mine is an 1865. My solution has been to find every single gap and caulk or foam it, put skirts on every door, and as soon as other work is done we're going to blow insulation into the walls. I know you can't do the last, but NStar will pay up to $2000 of the insulating for me and there are lots of other programs, you could mention that to the owner.

    Also, do you have steam radiators? They need to be level or tilted to the valve, the valve fully open or fully closed, and on the other side there should be a little slot labeled 1-10 that you can turn with a key to increase or decrease heat. That has made a big difference in my house.

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