Walking down the quiet tree lined sidewalk, street lamps twinkle in front of you and gently light your way as you stroll past charming old homes. There is a hush in the air as though time has simply stood still and at any moment you might hear the rattle of a horse drawn carriage. If you have dreamed of evenings like this you should look into buying a historic home. Living in a designated historic district gives you the wonderful opportunity to take a walk through history each time you step out of your front door. Continue reading
Many home buyers are drawn to historic homes over newer, more cookie-cutter houses because the architecture and design provide character and class. But for many historic home owners, a unique, older house also means a much higher energy bill. Historic homes bring so many advantages, but if you don’t invest some time and money in weather-proofing the house, your historic dream home can end up being costlier than expected. Luckily our guide makes it easy for you to update your historic home to make it more energy-efficient – without interfering with the charm of the original design!
Changes to Avoid Making to Historic Homes
In many ways, homes built before 1940 are more energy-efficient than modern homes. Since these homes were built before electricity was widely available, they made use of natural methods of heating and cooling the home. The placement of windows and the use of shutters and masonry on historic homes all improve their energy efficiency. Because historic homes have certain efficiency advantages already, homeowners should avoid making certain “fixes.” Avoid making these changes to your historic home:
- Do not install dropped ceilings.
- Do not try to waterproof your masonry. Thick masonry is already very energy efficient, and a waterproof coat will actually trap moisture and damage the stone.
- Do not remove historic, natural wood and replace it with a less efficient substitute, like plastic or plywood. These materials deteriorate more quickly, and the house would actually be more efficient with the original materials in place.
- Do not try to remove historic windows.
Improving the Efficiency of Historic Home Exteriors
While historic homes were often designed to be more efficient in certain ways, they nonetheless need to be weather-proofed according to your climate. These updates to the exterior won’t change your historic home’s character, but they will go miles toward improving its energy efficiency.
- Insulate, insulate, insulate! If it’s difficult to add insulation to the walls of your home, add insulation to the attic and, if possible, to crawlspaces.
- Weather-strip all doors and windows to reduce leaks.
- If the historic windows are intact, supplement them by adding storm windows. If the windows are damaged and can’t be repaired, replace them.
- In colder climates, add storm doors to improve your energy efficiency.
Interior Design Changes for Energy Efficiency
While weather-proofing the exterior of your historic home will probably be the first step in increasing your home’s efficiency, there are also changes you can make inside. While some of these changes require an electrician, many just require switching the products you use.
- Switch out all incandescent light bulbs for more efficient LED or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. To be even more efficient, install motion sensor light switches that shut the lights off when no one is in the room.
- If the kitchen hasn’t been completely renovated, replace any older appliances with Energy Star-rated versions.
- Replace toilets and showerheads with low-flow versions to save over 75% on your water usage.
Spring is here and summer is approaching fast. The blooms are coming out in full force and if nothing else, historical homes are known for their gardens. Take a walk through any historic neighborhood in Virginia and you will see Dogwoods, Cherry Blossoms, and even some old Magnolia Trees. In my opinion, Virginia is one of the most awe-inspiring states because of its mountains, streams, lakes, and ocean front as well as it’s historic areas and modern areas. There is something for everyone in the state and it has more than its share of history. Continue reading
Many people dream of owning a historical home with its numerous details and character. It’s easy to love historic neighborhoods and their homes with their old-world charm and offer a certain reserve to homebuyers. There are many positive factors in owning a historic home. Continue reading
Homes today are not built the way they used to be
Older, historic homes can be masterpieces of art, architecture, engineering, and design all in one. Many historic homes dot the landscape of Virginia, and you’ll often distinguish one when you see it. That is part of the appeal of owning one of these monuments to history. Hand carved molding, trims and banisters, elaborate turrets, and one of a kind designs are attractive pieces of historic homes that many people are looking for. Ultimately, that fascination with the exterior look and curb appeal is often what draws us in. Continue reading
You finally purchased that piece of history that you have been dreaming about and now you’re wondering what to do with it? Continue reading
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