Our home is over 125 years old. There was no insulation, all of the windows are the original double-hung with antique glass. The exterior doors are original and fit tightly only during the “right season”. When we first moved in, we attempted to hire a carpenter to adjust all of the doors. One of his questions was, “Do you want them to fit in the summer or the winter?”.
The third floor servant’s quarters was a shell that never had electricity. Our first project was to demo the servant’s quarters and install expanding foam insulation into the rafters of the fourth and third floor roofs. The foam is biodegradable and rated at 50R+. Next, Frank took one door at a time and adjusted them to fit tightest during the winter months. It makes for a little stickiness during the summer, but warm and cozy in the winter. We are in the process of fitting the windows with bronze weather stripping and new window locks that will tighten them considerably.
Expanding Foam Insulation in the Servants Quarters
The oil furnace is less than five years old and is very efficient having recently been fitted with a monitor that is state of the art. Its function is very high tech. Without going into the details, the monitor constantly keeps track of the oil flame, oxygen and water temperature and controls the amount of oil flow. We owe this to the good folks at Modern Heat, LLC who installed and maintains our heating system. Every delivery of oil our local oil distributor provides an index, the “K Value”, that indicates the efficiency of the heating system. Factors such as ambient temperature and fuel consumption are in the formula that yields the number. Early on, because of the age and size of our home, our oil company told us that we would be lucky to get the efficiency ratio up over 5. The higher the number, the more efficient the system. Our last delivery of oil indicated a K value of 6.9. We are shooting for 8.
We are still in the process of putting the finishing touches on the innkeepers’ living quarters in the second floor of the Carriage House. The structure has always been attached to the main house but was basically a barn. The original horse stalls are still there and the trapdoor to haul hay up had to be reinforced to accommodate our bedroom. Again, Modern Heat, LLC came up with an eco-friendly solution to our heating problem. They installed two high efficiency Rinnai LP heaters and the whole living space is insulated to 30R+.
Our weekly “trip to the dump” is an interesting experience. The “dump” is actually a state of the art recycling center operated by the Town of Plymouth. We recycle just about everything, newspaper, plastic, aluminum, cardboard, glass, all metals and other assorted materials. The Center has a pile where residents can take mulch for gardens and landscaping. There is an area where residents bring useable items that they no longer want, in hopes that the items can be utilized by other residents. Many of the antiques in our Inn were actually found at the recycling center. One man’s trash is another’s treasure.
Antique Lamp Rescued at the Recycling Center
We may be small, but we are trying to do our part to limit our eco footprint. We constantly re-evaluate and adjust our living habits with an eye always to increase our consideration for our environment.