Old Man Winter

By on 20 July, 2011 in Historic Midtown, Real Estate, Sandra Nickel with 1 Comment

With temperatures near triple digits and the heat index considerably higher than that, July in Alabama seems like an absurd time to be thinking about winter. Yet, there may be some validity to the mental exercise of beating the heat by thinking about frigid conditions. It’s all in your mind, man. Well, that and the fact that the following tips about insulation and weatherization can reduce your utility bills, whether you’re talking about heating or cooling. Sandra explains:

My husband and I own a charming little bungalow in the Garden District — about 1450 square feet, brick, central heat and air relatively new. And we have a tenant whom we know is not an energy waster and whom we very much want to keep.

So imagine our horror — and his — when the gas bill winter before last topped out at $697!

We all thought it was a fluke of the bitterly cold spell around Christmas 2009 … until, that is, the gas bill came in for January 2011 approaching the same awful number.

We’d already had the furnace system checked and serviced. We needed a new approach. Energy Savers Unlimited to the rescue! Owner/neighbor/fellow GDPA board member Jon Broadway brought his magical infrared equipment and analyzed the house. To our mutual horror, we discovered that the connections between the ceiling registers and the ductwork had come loose — not so badly that you could see it easily, but enough for that sneaky camera rig to expose the problem.

In his detailed and photo-laden report, Jon called the problem “a smoking gun” and observed that, “the resident is likely paying in excess of $1000 per year for wasted energy, probably much more.” He laid out a multi-step approach to getting the home much more tenant-friendly, and we have already begun the process. Jon even recommended a reliable and affordable vendor to do the work!

We have now completed step one, sealing all the loose connections and leaks in the ductwork. Adding a lot of attic insulation is next. And Jon has just let me know he wants to come back and do a second scan to see how the fixes are performing.

It appears that, if you get your system checked out like we did, you won’t have to endure another winter in your old house making the dismal choice between being comfortable and avoiding bankruptcy because of your gas bill! Won’t it be nice to get the best of Old Man Winter?

Jon Broadway worked his infrared magic on another house in Cloverdale-Idlewild. Here we see the outside picture juxtaposed with the infrared photo.

 

Sandra Nickel has been listing and selling residential real estate for over 29 years, most with an intense focus on Montgomery’s Midtown neighborhoods. Sandra serves on the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, the Cloverdale Business Coalition, Historic Southview, the Volunteer and Information Center, Landmarks Foundation and her own neighborhood Garden District Preservation Association.

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  1. Jay Croft says:

    Jon Broadway is an amazing person! He is especially interested in improving public transportation for persons with disabilities. We’re fortunate to have him in Montgomery.,

    “Give my regards to Broadway, remember me to Herald Square . . .”

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