Owning a piece of history in the form of a 19th-century home is an incredible way to make history come alive every day. Though the beauty of the architecture of these classic homes can't be matched, that beauty often comes at the price of high utility bills.
Though these homes were efficient in their time, the effects of aging have rendered them fairly energy-inefficient. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve the energy-efficiency of your 19th-century home, thus lowering your energy costs.
Seal the Gaps
One of the biggest areas of energy loss from older homes occurs through the cracks and gaps that form in the home as it settles over the decades. Though this is something you have to deal with in a home of any age, it's especially pronounced in historic homes.
It's a good idea to conduct an energy audit of your home to find specific areas where the air inside your home is leaking outside and the air outside your home is leaking in. Filling these gaps and cracks with appropriate materials will greatly increase your home's energy-efficiency.
Replace the Windows
Though older homes were built with many energy-efficient features that were often better-planned than today's homes, one feature that has vastly improved on today's homes is the windows. Many older homes have single-glazed windows, meaning just one pane of glass stands between the interior of your home and the unconditioned air outside.
By replacing your windows with new energy-efficient windows, therefore, you're likely to see a big drop in energy consumption. Plus, many new windows come with UV protection built-in, which can protect the historic furniture and finishes in your home.
Replace the Doors
Though there's nothing quite like the beauty of an antique door, that doesn't mean it's the best option to keep your energy costs under control. Especially if one or more doors in your home are suffering from rot or some type of termite damage, replacing your doors with new Andersen doors is a great way to save some cash. In addition to being more energy-efficient, new doors tend to be more secure, as their frames are better-reinforced and their construction more focused on potential points of entry.
Wrap the Pipes
If you've ever been into the basement of your 19th-century home only to be amazed at the network of pipes carrying water throughout your home, it's important to know that these exposed pipes are costing you money. Exposed pipes sitting in uninsulated spaces, especially those carrying hot water, are quick to lose their temperature as they travel through a cold basement.
On the other hand, cold water pipes are at risk of freezing if you don't have some form of heat in your basement. Do yourself a favor, then, and wrap all your pipes. This will lessen the work your water heater has to do and prevent any messy burst pipes in your basement.
Whether you've lived in your 19th-century home for some time or if you're new to historic-home living, it can seem as though your to-do list is never-ending as you seek to make improvements to your home. By understanding which changes will have the biggest return on investment, though, you can begin to do the work that will transform your home into what you always envisioned. Then, though it may still be far off, the finish line will draw that much closer.