Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Upgrading the house insulation

Our house must have been built just before the 1st Oil Price Shock, around 1973/74. At that time, heating was no problem, oil was cheap and consequently, the houses were barely insulated.

Happy times, gone forever.

Furthermore, practically all houses here are made of stone, the heavier the better. Wood is only used for the roof structure. That is a bit astonishing because France's Auvergne region is covered by forests in all directions. Pastures for cows or forests, that's it, more or less.

When we bought our house towards the end of last Century (sounds good, eh?), we decided to heat the place with a wood stove insert. So starting in 1998 I am in charge of the log preparation. We used about 15 cubic meters of firewood or 530 cubic feet. A huge pile of wood!

Finally, I was fed up to pass 2 months every year to transform oak tree trunks into logs. And an efficient outside insulation is the best method to reduce that big heap to a smaller one.

Thanks to the Internet and Google I found a company that covers the house with a 10 cm (about 4") thick polyurethane layer plus, on top of this, about 2 mm of painted aluminium, a little less than 1/10th of an inch.

Thus in August last year we got the job started and a week later all that remained to be done was to pay.

Funny thing is, the look of the house is the same as before. Only the walls are now about 4 inches thicker. And last Winter, the log consumption fell from about 530 cubic feet to about 350 cubic feet (from 15 m3 to 10 m3) meaning about one third less. And the cherry on the cake was that Goverment gave us a fat tax reduction.

Thus this year I had a new stove installed that is supposed to further reduce consumption. Mister stove's name is Max Heavyweight. Here, have a look at Max in all his glory.

Next week the missing pipe will be installed and if the present foul weather persists, we'll have a trial run.

Right now, my wife uses her iron for about half an hour and the temp rises 1°C in the living room!