Feb 1, 2013

a sigh of relief

It snowed a few days ago...and I'm still completely blown away when I go outside and see snow on our roof and ZERO icicles! Why? Because pre-renovation all of the snow would have melted off the roof and been transformed into huge icicles hanging over our gutters.

That's what caused all the water damage in our house...ice dams built up from snow melting on the roof.

So you can imagine how welcome this sight is...a perfect blanket of un-melted snow on our roof!
Several things contributed to this amazing difference. Here's a little refresher on what the front of the house used to look like from the side:
Here are the things we did to keep the heat INSIDE the house instead of going through the roof and melting the snow:

1. The first thing we did was create an overhang to get the gutters as far away from the walls of the house as possible. Now there's an extra foot or so between the gutters and the house...a perfect spot for additional insulation.
During the process:
And after. It was a lot of work (and money) to get that extra little bit, but ssssooo worth it!

2. We got rid of every hole that previously went through our roof. (except the chimney and plumbing stack that had to stay) This meant we switched from a gas water heater to an electric one so we could plug up as many holes as possible and keep the maximum amount of heat inside the house. In the picture below you can see the gas water heater vent that was plugged up before the foam insulation went in.
3. Speaking of insulation...we tore out every piece of the old insulation in the attic and most of the walls of the house and replaced it with foam. Foam is quite a bit more expensive but again, SO worth it! I feel like this is what made the biggest difference! (by the way, for frame of reference, the picture below is the girls' bedroom) You can also kind of see that the back wall (above Michael's head in this picture) has some slanted wood. Michael added a slant to the ceiling on the back side of the house so that even more insulation would be against the gutters on that side. (plus, it adds character and we like that)
We also got a new high-efficiency furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump. I don't think this had much to do with helping keep the snow from melting on the roof, but it definitely has made our heating bills lower. When we first moved into our house (before any insulation was in the walls), we would keep the heat in the upper 50's in the winter and our heating bills were over $500 a month!! Now, we keep the house at 66 (which feels warm since we don't have cold air rushing in through the walls) and our bills have mostly been in the low to mid $100s.

We're incredibly thankful that all of these little tweaks actually fixed the problem. It's impossible to know if all the money and effort really fixed anything until it actually snowed...and a total relief to see that snow has stayed put on the roof.
Yay for snow!


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