Monday, September 9, 2013

The list of projects just gets longer, not shorter

When you buy an older house (1928 to be exact) for a reasonable price, you imagine that you are mostly happy with it, but there are a "few" things you'd like to change.

Then you start living in the house and you start jotting down the list of things that "would be nice". Which grows as you discover things that "need to happen" and another list of "really should do".

So lately, this project list gets longer and longer and right now, with hubby back at school after working for the summer, the dollars are getting tighter and tighter. Plus it is getting colder, so that isn't going to help.

Time to prioritise!

To me, the first priority would be keeping the heating costs to a minimum. Our furnace is gas and we are on equal billing. Meaning, based on the last occupant's bills, they guess that if we pay $63/month, it should average out between the cold months, the really cold months and the warmer months. Then in August, they calculate whether we owe them money or whether they owe us a credit.

This year, we moved in in April. And we had a freak snowstorm. And then another one. And then it just never really properly warmed up. Oh and there was a day in the middle of SUMMER when it didn't get into the double digits in Celsius ALL DAY!

So in August, after only a spring and a "summer" (in quotes because it hardly was one), we owed the gas company $3 for the month. This means that even though it was the warmest months, we used the gas enough to not be in credit. I extrapolate from that that we are going to owe them mega $ next August unless we can reduce our heating bill somewhat.

Try telling that to a homesick Aussie who hates the cold...

So the first step (other than turning down the heater whenever he isn't looking) is to insulate the floor of the front porch. We need the door to the enclosed porch open, since it is a solid door and the hallway doesn't get enough light. But the floor isn't insulated and it isn't part of the basement, so the cold rises. With the door open for the light to come in, the heater has to deal with a colder room and so it of course uses more gas and my gas bill goes up.

Right. Insulate the floor. Change the door to a door with a window, to let natural light in. See, from one idea to two projects in one go.

To get under the front porch is the next challenge. It is wood surround covered in concrete about 1.5 inches thick (3cm - how quickly you begin to think in inches, even though technically this country is also metric!). My plan is to cut an access hole on the far side of the front porch wall, climb into the space under the porch and attach insulating foam to the bottom of the floor between the joists.

I wrote that sentence very easy. Actually doing so will not be so easy nor pleasant. Hopefully no skunks inhabit that space...

I'll keep you posted. I may also create just created a House Project List page - helping to keep me on track and the extra joy of being able to cross something off. And I really will stop perusing Houzz.com and actually get projects done instead of looking at other projects and getting more ideas. Really. Who am I kidding, I so won't....