Home Energy Diet for an Old Victorian
Sealing the crawlspace and plugging holes cut a big home's heating bill in half
Even though the task might seem insurmountable, it’s possible to rein in the energy losses of an old, leaky house. It just takes a lot of hard work, as contractor Jeff Tooley demonstrates in this project. This 2800-sq.-ft. Victorian was uncomfortably cold every winter, and to make it more energy smart, Tooley and his crew worked from the bottom up. They began their work by sealing the crawlspace with a variety of products, including polyethylene sheeting, polyisocyanurate insulation, reinforced poly vapor retarder, and caulk. After the crawlspace was finished, they began sealing framing cavities, using three techniques: plugging the cavities with rigid foam held in place with spray foam; sealing the kneewall floor with flexible foam; and filling the joist cavity with spray foam. Finally, they added attic insulation, including spray foam and loose-fill cellulose. They also had an HVAC contractor install a fresh-air supply to the mechanicals room. Where necessary, Tooley and his crew cut access holes as part of their retrofit work.