Slateandall (let’s call him Slate) has got his hands full. Writing from southern Connecticut, Slate describes his 1910s Tudor-style home as more or less of a train wreck from a performance point of view.
The house, according to Slate’s recent Q&A post, has no insulation to speak of and an aging gas boiler. Indoor air is high in humidity in the summer with heating costs running between $4000 and $5000 a year.
“The first thing we did energy-wise was install a minisplit system for the southern half of the house (all three levels) so we can survive the summer while figuring out what else to do,” Slate writes. “It makes the whole house livable, with the help of a couple window units.”
Then Slate brought in an energy consultant who developed a comprehensive plan. It included insulating and sealing the attic with R-49 loose fill on the attic floor, air-sealing the entire house, installing a “big dehumidifier” in the basement, and installing a minisplit to heat and cool the rest of the house.
The estimated payback for this work is 15 years, but that doesn’t include the additional minisplits.
“I have so many questions I don’t know where to begin,” Slate says. Should he skip the insulation and just install the minisplits? Will an insulated attic be too hot in the summer? Should he put a fan in the attic to keep it cool? Does it matter if the basement is humid? How to insulate the original slate roof is another issue.
In other words, what now? That’s where we begin this Q&A Spotlight.
Insulate and seal the leaks
Michael Maines, both a builder and a residential designer, recommends that Slate make sure the building enclosure is well insulated and air-sealed before he pulls…