My house was constructed sometime in the mid 1800’s and is nearly 3000 square feet.
It has ten foot ceilings, giant windows and the original hardwood floors.
When we moved in, the house was just about impossible to heat and cool. Not only was the furnace and air conditioner extremely outdated, but the ductwork was full of holes and leaks at the seams. The windows were single pane, painted shut and allowed drafts inside. None of the exterior doors shut tight, allowing outside air to come in and heated/cooled air to escape. There was no insulation in the walls, ceilings or attic. It has taken us nearly ten years to make all of the necessary improvements to the thermal envelope. There are 25 windows in the house and they all needed to be replaced. Most of them are unusual sizes and required special order. The expense added up very quickly. The walls and ceilings in the house were the original plaster and lathe. Many of them were cracked and crumbling. One by one, we gutted every single room in the house, tearing down to the studs. This allowed us to replace electric lines, plumbing pipes and ductwork. It gave us the opportunity to carefully and thoroughly insulated. We took out a home improvement loan to upgrade the ancient furnace and air conditioner and spent extra to get a high efficiency, variable speed system. The new heating and cooling system allowed us to take advantage of zone control. We now have independent thermostats in each room, providing the ability to customize temperature. We’re no longer required to maintain perfect comfort in unoccupied areas.