Old-Home Experts

Energy Audits of Chicagoland Are Old-Home Experts

If you have an older home–that is, a home built before 1965–be sure your energy auditing firm knows old homes.  Construction styles have evolved a lot over the years, and to understand how to improve the energy efficiency of your home, you MUST understand how it was built

You know your vintage home is unique.  We do, too.  Whether you are concerned about the many different heating and cooling systems you have, or simply concerned about maintaining the historical integrity of your home, Energy Audits of Chicagoland can help.

Newer homes are built using standardized practices and codes. Not so with older homes. At different times throughout the past 150 years, very different procedures and materials were commonly used in homes.

Knowing what structural layout is likely to be behind the walls, what materials were used,and what insulation techniques were likely employed is knowledge that is critical for an accurate audit and in solving comfort issues.

Energy Audits of Chicagoland owner, Dan Potter, has been working in older homes for more than 25 years.  Early career schooling in structural carpentry was followed by years of renovating older homes along the North Shore. Currently, Mr. Potter owns an 1889 Queen Anne Victorian home and is fluent in construction techniques commonly used from the late 1800’s through techniques used in new construction today. 


Why balloon-framed homes leak so much.

Balloon framing method was used from the early 1800s until the mid-1950s. It uses continuous framing members (usually 2×4’s) from the base of the first floor, up to the base of the roof.  This creates an open air pathway all along it’s length. When holes are drilled  from the wall cavity into the attic, basement (or crawl space) to run electrical, plumbing or heat ducts, an air pathway is opened from the basement (or crawl space), on up to the overhang or attic.  
As any part of this pathway heats up (even a little) the air begins to rise.  This creates a suction of air at the bottom of the pathway.  Thus, a small “air pump” is created that pulls conditioned  (heated or cooled) air in at the bottom and  dumps it out into the unconditioned overhang or attic.

This situation is worsened by the absence (in many cases) of any insulation within the walls to slow the process.  It is even further worsened by the fact than most old siding has many air leaks to the outside because they were built before the use of house wrap air barrier. 

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