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Old 12-29-2009, 03:45 PM
 
19 posts, read 33,064 times
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I've just bought my first home thanks to a lucky lottery ticket last July! It's a couple acres in East Wilton with a Colonial from 1800 ready to be loved and lived in.

Now I'm facing a leaky roof and looking to find some one to plow...unless you folks think I can get this crusty old snow moved with a blower? I've never even used one having dwelt in apartments forever. Figured something with an auger would move the heavier stuff...would it?

I wonder if there is a section here that will allow me to ask other members for referrals to local folk that do the types of work that I need help with? Can't seem to find anything in the book for 'roofers' lol. Since we are talking Maine and especially Western....it's not always in the phone book! Dont' want to break any rules here, but in need of references to folks...

Also any ideas? I've been looking into solar heating. I have no heating system in the home now so since we're starting from scratch we figured we'd be silly not to look into solar heating. I wonder if anyone has looked into it or is using it?
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Gorham, Maine
1,815 posts, read 4,267,470 times
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Congratulations on your purchase, don't forget to file for your tax credit on your 2009 tax return, 10% of the purchase price, up to $8000. Sorry I can't help with contractors in Wilton, hopefully others will. There may be federal and state tax credits available for installing solar heat/hot water, you'll want to look into that as well.
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Maine
7,728 posts, read 10,811,809 times
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I'd suggest calling Hammond Lumber in Farmington and ask about roofing/contractors, they can also give you some info on the solar heating and tax credits for the systems. congratulations and good luck!
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 3,443,266 times
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First things first. You will need to learn what kind of insulation you have in the house...walls, roof, and basement. Probably little to none.

At the same time you should look at all the windows and doors. If they are not all at least double pane insulated windows and doors, they should be replaced at the same time that the house is fully insulated. Don't forget the basement and the sills where the house sits on the foundation: an 1800's house is probably leaking air through everywhere, and this cold air infiltration needs to be fixed first off.

You can easily get all the domestic hot water that you could even use by solar hot water heating system, but there is probably no way that you will ever be able to heat an old house by using solar hot water. You can get an awful lot of information including some real hands on assistance from a company called Radiantec in Vermont. www.randiantec.com

In an old house like yours, it may be that the first floor joists are all exposed from the basement. This would be a perfect time to consider radiant underfloor heating. Combined with cast iron radiators on the second floor, and a high efficiency oil burner the house will be very warm and fairly efficiently so.

But the very first and by far the most important thing to do, is to insulate the devil out of the old place, INCLUDING windows. This will give you the best "bang for the buck" and without this being done first, NO kind of heat will give you the kind of warmth and efficiency that you will need.
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:04 PM
 
1,061 posts, read 1,694,660 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianlion View Post
First things first. You will need to learn what kind of insulation you have in the house...walls, roof, and basement. Probably little to none.

At the same time you should look at all the windows and doors. If they are not all at least double pane insulated windows and doors, they should be replaced at the same time that the house is fully insulated. Don't forget the basement and the sills where the house sits on the foundation: an 1800's house is probably leaking air through everywhere, and this cold air infiltration needs to be fixed first off.

You can easily get all the domestic hot water that you could even use by solar hot water heating system, but there is probably no way that you will ever be able to heat an old house by using solar hot water. You can get an awful lot of information including some real hands on assistance from a company called Radiantec in Vermont. www.randiantec.com

In an old house like yours, it may be that the first floor joists are all exposed from the basement. This would be a perfect time to consider radiant underfloor heating. Combined with cast iron radiators on the second floor, and a high efficiency oil burner the house will be very warm and fairly efficiently so.

But the very first and by far the most important thing to do, is to insulate the devil out of the old place, INCLUDING windows. This will give you the best "bang for the buck" and without this being done first, NO kind of heat will give you the kind of warmth and efficiency that you will need.
But if you have a dirt floor in the cellar, buttoning up the house tight will trap moisture, which can cause problems in the long run.

Covering the cellar dirt-floor with plastic sheeting and gravel is probably the cheapest way to keep the moisture from the cellar floor from entering the house.

But get the advice of someone who knows how to do it right.
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Old 12-30-2009, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 3,443,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OutDoorNut View Post
But if you have a dirt floor in the cellar, buttoning up the house tight will trap moisture, which can cause problems in the long run.

Covering the cellar dirt-floor with plastic sheeting and gravel is probably the cheapest way to keep the moisture from the cellar floor from entering the house.

But get the advice of someone who knows how to do it right.

Well, if the house has a dirt floor, as so many do, AND a field stone dry laid foundation, the entire insulation process must include reinforcing the foundation wall and pouring a concrete floor. This is not a small job, but in insulating an antique house built to antique standards, if making the house fully modern in terms of energy efficiency, then the entire housing envelope must be insulated.

This can get a bit tricky because many old houses have seasonally wet basements, with water running through the basement from one end to another. Insulating the basement will require that exterior drains be installed to transport water from one side of the house to another.

The original question revolved around the potential use of solar energy to heat the house, and I think there is a whole raft of other issues that need to be addressed before any sort of central heating system can be installed, and the first and most important is insulation.

And of course there is alway the issue of who will do the work, and who can supply the appropriate materials to use. Maine builders are very slowly climbing the energy efficiency ladder, but Maine building supply houses are doing so very, very slowly. The reason for this is the supply is being driven by demand. An excellent example of this is in windows and door. There are NO retail sources for true, state of the art energy efficient windows in Maine. The reason for this is that the manufacturers of windows commonly available in Maine, do not manufacture windows that meet other than the 1970's insulated windows standard. The new Andersen "A" line window is a step in the right direction, but the window design and manufacturing process is still twenty years behind the current levels of energy conservation, insulation and manufacturing process of European and many Canadian manufacturers.

The entire subject of energy efficiency and energy independence is becoming a hot button for Maine in general, and Maine should lead the nation in developing new methods and materials to insulate and modernize old houses. So far that is really not happening, probably because there is more sizzle in the steak of wind turbines off shore than to improve the performance of what is already on the ground.
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Cashtown, PA
240 posts, read 331,353 times
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Yes, we looked into it. 9000 dollars a panel and you need 4 panels at least to provide enough juice for the electric in your house. And that doesn't cover the heating.

Also checked geo thermal - that would cost us 25,000 at least.

So right now we are heating with oil -which I hate - and alot with a woodburning stove. And have put our plans to change to a different energy system on the back burner until it is more affordable.

And insulating the house since it wasn't insulated at all. We have a seasonally wet basement but have bettered the situation by the addition of a deck - to pull the water away from the house and a good sump pump. When we first moved in, water at various times could be a foot deep - we are also near a river. Now the worst it can get is an inch - if that. Most of the time it is just wet in spots.

Old houses - ours is 11 rooms and from the 1920's - can be interesting!~
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
9,485 posts, read 14,286,680 times
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Geothermal has not been developed enough to be economical in Maine. Nobody has ever saved money by installing a geothermal system in Maine. If you have any doubt about this, an excellent source of info is Dr. Richard Hill, Professor Emeritus in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maine. Don't be suckered into buying some unproven heating system.

Most insulation will pay for itself over time. I bought an 1885 house with NO insulation. I had blown in cellulose installed by Bonsey Brothers. They do a fine job and the insulation paid for itself in less than three years. Paving the cellar floor is a good project, but insulation and windows above ground will pay off much faster.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 3,443,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Maine Land Man View Post
Geothermal has not been developed enough to be economical in Maine. Nobody has ever saved money by installing a geothermal system in Maine. If you have any doubt about this, an excellent source of info is Dr. Richard Hill, Professor Emeritus in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maine. Don't be suckered into buying some unproven heating system.

Most insulation will pay for itself over time. I bought an 1885 house with NO insulation. I had blown in cellulose installed by Bonsey Brothers. They do a fine job and the insulation paid for itself in less than three years. Paving the cellar floor is a good project, but insulation and windows above ground will pay off much faster.
This is only partially true. The biggest issue with geothermal energy is that geothermal heat pumps require electricity to operate and since Maine's electricity cost are so high, any heating appliance that relies on electricity needs to be exceptionally efficient and be heating an envelope that is exceptionally efficient also. Conventional building envelopes built in conventional manner are not efficient, and certainly not sufficiently efficient to rely on a heating system the primary means of fuel for which is electricity.

Now, if the house were built to exceptional insulation standards, with complete elimination of all thermal bridging and elimination of all air leaks, geothermal energy might well prove to be very efficient.

But the issue remains with the cost of fuel, and in Maine's near time future, our dependency on oil or petroleum for electricity means that Maine will not be an efficient place for electrically driven heating equiipment.

In addition to that, if a true super insulated envelope is used, then the provision of a conventional heating system can be nearly eliminated. If a dwelling envelope is built to Passive House standard, then the only heat source will need to be a Heat Recovery/Energy Recovery ventillation system with a small amount of additional electric resistance heating. But the Passive House standard will require exceptionally well insulated windows and doors, and much greater amounts of insulation than "traditional" framing and insulating methods used. In addition, Passive House standards are exceptionally hard to meet with retrofit projects, although not impossible.

I have had several discussions with companies that are developing new insulation forms for residential construction using vacuum insulated panels. These panels deliver R-30 per INCH, and when the mounting and final packaging systems are developed will offer an entirely new method of achieving exceptionally high insulation values without massive amounts of insulation, or by the use of petrochemical produced foams.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:33 AM
 
1,061 posts, read 1,694,660 times
Reputation: 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianlion View Post
Well, if the house has a dirt floor, as so many do, AND a field stone dry laid foundation, the entire insulation process must include reinforcing the foundation wall and pouring a concrete floor. This is not a small job, but in insulating an antique house built to antique standards, if making the house fully modern in terms of energy efficiency, then the entire housing envelope must be insulated.

This can get a bit tricky because many old houses have seasonally wet basements, with water running through the basement from one end to another. Insulating the basement will require that exterior drains be installed to transport water from one side of the house to another.
I have never had to deal with a dirt cellar floor, but anticipating that one day I may need to, I have done some reading on the subject.

Covering the floor with cement is a nasty and expensive job.

A cheaper alternative is to use plastic sheeting and gravel.

Anyone interested in that method should do some reasearch to see how to do it right.

But if I remember correctly, there's a layer of gravel above and beneath the plastic sheeting, which sheeting is laid down in two layers.

And also if one dislikes walking on gravel, a wood floor can be laid above the sheeting.

Also, I think I remember reading something about leaving a trench around the perimeter of the celler walls, to act as a drainage ditch to catch any water seeping in from the cellar walls--but I can't remember for sure if that was in the case of cementing over the dirt or of using the plastic sheeting or both cases. (This drainage ditch is not meant to cure basement flooding--but only to catch some seepage; for chronic flooding, as Acadianlion mentions, work needs to be done around the foundation walls to either drain away water or to prevent water from accumulating around the walls to begin with.)
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