U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-29-2014, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,170 posts, read 29,847,944 times
Reputation: 26692

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Is that typical of 50s houses? I think in the 50s I've been in (and lived in) it was installed with central heating. Older homes usually have radiators, I've seen rather old looking radiators in old houses that had to have been pre-1950s.



50s homes in New England and downstate NY rarely had central A/C. Homes with built in A/C didn't become the norm until maybe the 80s. Certainly most Massachusetts homes don't have central A/C, though most have room A/C. Probably most NYC apartment buildings from that era don't have central A/C either (all from the last 100 years had heat*). I think most, of not almost all, were built with central heating (radiators). I'd guess most didn't have built in garages.

*100 year old NYC apartment buildings seem to have too much heat rather too little. Windows open in mid-winter!
Many places in CA do not have central heat from the 40-60s. Apartments/condos/offices didn't get central heat till well into the 70s and 80s. (And yes we do need heat)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-29-2014, 03:59 PM
 
3,799 posts, read 2,245,033 times
Reputation: 4226
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
In warmer climates, some homes were designed for maximum ventilation (such as good window placement, shading that lets in low sun but blocks high sun) before the advent of A/C. Hawaiian homes usually still are. New England homes never were, a boxy two-story design to minimize heat loss was the usual, concerns about keeping the house cool were ignored (summer is short and you can go outside when the house is too hot and stuffy). Old homes don't have the best insulation, but part of the issue might be the insulation materials decay with time. Not sure about that.

Note wburg said homes had more passive energy saving features before WWII, he didn't mention that insulation was better. But insulation is a much larger factor for most climates.

Insulation can be added to an old house. Also, many old houses were designed so that when the windows upstairs are opened, and the doors downstairs are opened, the hot air upstairs will pull cooler outside air through the house. Pretty neat actually. Today's homes are designed to be sealed, which I would hate.

(I'm actually agreeing with you and adding on, the original post disappeared when I hit quote)

My house was built in 1926. I bought it from the original owners and I assure you, it's always had central heating. No fireplace. And hardwood throughout, including closets, kitchen and bathroom. It was not a luxury house when it was built either, quite the opposite. I don't know when the cutoff was in this area for hardwood, but my parents house was built in the mid-60s and their kitchen had plywood under the linoleum. Bathroom is probably the same, but they have hardwood everywhere else. My house actually has 16' boards that go under the walls, telling me they did the outside framing, then the floors then the interior walls. Again, I've seen many old houses built like this.

Last edited by WouldLoveTo; 03-29-2014 at 04:08 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2014, 04:02 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,993 posts, read 42,275,924 times
Reputation: 14811
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Many places in CA do not have central heat from the 40-60s. Apartments/condos/offices didn't get central heat till well into the 70s and 80s. (And yes we do need heat)
When I visited San Francisco, a few days had highs in the 40s (you might remember the week), a number of stores/restaurants didn't seem to be heated well, if at all (some had windows open). A friend who lived in San Francisco said her place had no heat.

The insulation in old buildings there is probably very poor, but it seemed the locals just didn't use the heat much and wore sweaters inside.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2014, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,150 posts, read 103,052,823 times
Reputation: 33196
Quote:
Originally Posted by WouldLoveTo View Post
Insulation can be added to an old house. Also, many old houses were designed so that when the windows upstairs are opened, and the doors downstairs are opened, the hot air upstairs will pull cooler outside air through the house. Pretty neat actually. Today's homes are designed to be sealed, which I would hate.

(I'm actually agreeing with you and adding on, the original post disappeared when I hit quote)
My father knew a lot about building, and he said his "This Old House" was difficult to retrofit with insulation.

That window opening stuff did not work as well as it sounds. It was better than no ventilation, but it didn't cool the house, especially if it was humid outside. Not to mention, it's not a good idea to leave your door open at night. Personal experience.

Sealed homes are energy efficient. That doesn't mean you can't open the windows, or even the doors if you have screens.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2014, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,170 posts, read 29,847,944 times
Reputation: 26692
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
When I visited San Francisco, a few days had highs in the 40s (you might remember the week), a number of stores/restaurants didn't seem to be heated well, if at all (some had windows open). A friend who lived in San Francisco said her place had no heat.

The insulation in old buildings there is probably very poor, but it seemed the locals just didn't use the heat much and wore sweaters inside.
Yes heating an insulation tend to suck. A lot of places just have a single wall heater. My circa-70s office is terrible. Space heaters are so popular here. Nights are cool all year. Typically upper 50s in the summer.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2014, 04:24 PM
 
3,799 posts, read 2,245,033 times
Reputation: 4226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
My father knew a lot about building, and he said his "This Old House" was difficult to retrofit with insulation.

That window opening stuff did not work as well as it sounds. It was better than no ventilation, but it didn't cool the house, especially if it was humid outside. Not to mention, it's not a good idea to leave your door open at night. Personal experience.

Sealed homes are energy efficient. That doesn't mean you can't open the windows, or even the doors if you have screens.
I'm sure many house styles are different. I'm more familiar with New England housing. My house had insulation added at some point and I've added more in the attic and along the top of the basement and in the crawl spaces. The POs had the insulation blown into the walls and the attic floor, they probably hired someone to do that.

The window opening works just fine for me, except I don't want my cats in the attic so that kind of nukes it here. Not the houses fault though and again, it works better in some houses than others. For it to work in mine, the attic door needs to be open. I'm not sure I could live in a house without screen doors.

Energy efficient yes. But I enjoy the exchange of fresh air and I'm glad I have it.

Oh, the other thing I was going to add about older houses up here. You'll see many "original" houses built facing south. This take advantage of the sun in the cooler weather and they would've planted trees to shield the house in the summer. By "original" I mean the key houses you will find in each town, prior to the town being built around them. Our forefathers were pretty knowledgable about using passive heating and cooling.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2014, 04:37 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,993 posts, read 42,275,924 times
Reputation: 14811
Though in more built up New England towns/cities, homes were just placed in whatever direction the street was, regardless of direction. If possible, the north side had the fewest windows / exposed area, as the sun never shines in that direction, so it's a net heat loss.

I don't have A/C myself, I use open windows + fan to keep my place cool in the summer.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2014, 04:43 PM
 
3,799 posts, read 2,245,033 times
Reputation: 4226
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Though in more built up New England towns/cities, homes were just placed in whatever direction the street was, regardless of direction. If possible, the north side had the fewest windows / exposed area, as the sun never shines in that direction, so it's a net heat loss.

I don't have A/C myself, I use open windows + fan to keep my place cool in the summer.
Yep, that's why I said "original". It's obvious they can't do that forever lol. You see a lot of that in farming communities.

One of my favorite books is Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn. Explains a lot about the early building up here
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2014, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,150 posts, read 103,052,823 times
Reputation: 33196
Quote:
Originally Posted by WouldLoveTo View Post
I'm sure many house styles are different. I'm more familiar with New England housing. My house had insulation added at some point and I've added more in the attic and along the top of the basement and in the crawl spaces. The POs had the insulation blown into the walls and the attic floor, they probably hired someone to do that.

The window opening works just fine for me, except I don't want my cats in the attic so that kind of nukes it here. Not the houses fault though and again, it works better in some houses than others. For it to work in mine, the attic door needs to be open. I'm not sure I could live in a house without screen doors.

Energy efficient yes. But I enjoy the exchange of fresh air and I'm glad I have it.

Oh, the other thing I was going to add about older houses up here. You'll see many "original" houses built facing south. This take advantage of the sun in the cooler weather and they would've planted trees to shield the house in the summer. By "original" I mean the key houses you will find in each town, prior to the town being built around them. Our forefathers were pretty knowledgable about using passive heating and cooling.
My hometown is situated on the west bank of a south flowing river. The main streets run north-south, meaning the majority of houses face east or west. I recently learned, through doing some research for CD, that the old hospital was the former "mansion" of a founding family, and it faced west. There were a couple of other "estates" in the suburbs, and they were on n/s roads, facing east.

The bold is also the case in my husband's home town, Omaha, Nebraska.

Pittsburgh, which my hometown is a sort of suburb of, has no grid system whatsoever. I don't know where the Fricks and the Mellons lived. The Heinzes live(d) in Fox Chapel, on a farm. I've never seen their house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Though in more built up New England towns/cities, homes were just placed in whatever direction the street was, regardless of direction. If possible, the north side had the fewest windows / exposed area, as the sun never shines in that direction, so it's a net heat loss.

I don't have A/C myself, I use open windows + fan to keep my place cool in the summer.
What you describe is more the case in Pittsburgh, and most Pittsburgh towns. My hometown, Beaver Falls, was built on the flood plain of the Beaver River, so it was gridded. Also, Beaver, the county seat of Beaver County, is on the Ohio River (where it turns west) and it's on a grid.

In the Pittsburgh area, we didn't have a lot of A/C. In Champaign, where it's much hotter in summer, it was embraced.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2014, 05:48 PM
 
12,340 posts, read 15,295,273 times
Reputation: 8156
Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
I would be very afraid of an 60 year old gas furnace. I have never seen a gas furnace last that long usually more like 15-20 years. Your windows are also far less energy efficient and even then old wooden windows are prone to rot. You must live in an odd place if an front porch can last 112 years cause where I live with the snow, cold, and ice, wooden front porches get replaced about every 8-10 years.

Modern wood however isn't as strong due to younger trees and due to not being able to find the old really long joists(I used to live in the old house and the floor joints were an single piece of wood that spanned the whole building). However we also have metal joists too.
I remember some years ago a friend of mine bought an old house with an Octopus Gravity Furnace. I don't think any have been manufactured since the 30's so that is a testament to their durability. But the efficiency is horrible. 50% is on the high side. That is even before the poor insulation. You could buy a new furnace every ten years for what they waste.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top