The joys of nesting

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Remodeling your home can give you insight into what has gone on all those years behind the walls.   Its also happens to be a great time to improve the energy efficency and comfort of your home. 

My ambitious sister in addition to being pregnant has decided to remodel their kitchen recently.  And why not, since future dad is a fabulous cabinet maker they plan to install some better ones that what the place came with. You know what they say about the cobbler and his children. 

I would consider this nesting in the extreme, but a recent visit gave me the opportunity not only to sleep on the floor, but better than x-ray or infrared vision I could see air leaks.  Well not really but this is a wall with holes to the attic for the wires.

 They were removing a wall and the new support is the bottom of the picture here.  But It shows what some will do to get a pipe into a wall.  The pipe was cut out since it was no longer needed but I don’t think it was necessary to cut the entire beam that to get a little pipe through  I think air can get through here as well….

 The space has a wonderful curved section of ceiling in every room.   Those are wires laying loose in the attic at the top of the picture. That means every wall leaks from any hole below like an outlet or switch or a connection to the floor below.  

Old windows? This is what is inside that’s a sash weight that counters the weight of the window as you open it.  Even though, replacing old windows won’t give you the biggest bang for the buck.  Tackle most of the air-leakage and increase the insulation in the walls and attics first. 

From an energy efficiency perspective it would be nice if things were this easy to see all the time.   But with the right people and tools it almost is.  GreenHomes America’s certified energy advisors have the experience and the skill to figure out what is going on without having to take the wall down.  My sister’s concern was a lack of insulation in the attic.  They thought they might top it up while they were fixing up the place.  It’s an excellent idea but not until some critical air sealing is tackled.  An energy advisor will investigate an attic when they can get to it, but they also “see” some of these flaws using nifty equipment such as an infrared camera or fans that help identfy a home’s leakage. 

I lent them a hand in putting in some of the cabinets while I was there to help them along and imagine they are close to done by now.  Maybe instead of baby blankets and a stroller I’ll give them a Comprehensive Energy Assessment.  I think I know a company that can help them out.

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