Boosting Energy Efficiency In Your Older Cincinnati Home Without Sacrificing Any Of Its Character

One of the most aesthetically pleasing things about living in Cincinnati is the city’s beautiful architecture. The Cincinnati area is full of historic neighborhoods and old homes in styles ranging from Federal and Greek Revival to Art Deco. But the beauty of these houses comes at a cost. During both winter and summer, homeowners can pay a hefty price to keep them comfortable.

A conundrum for owners of older Cincinnati area residences, then, is boosting energy efficiency without sacrificing their homes’ historic character. Can it even be done? It sure can!

Begin by focusing on what’s already in place. Without today’s conveniences, older homes were built with energy-efficiency in mind. Your house might have a front porch where generations caught cool breezes on summer afternoons and evenings. Fireplaces weren’t added just for eye appeal, but also for warmth, Today, they can be modified with gas inserts. Thick brick walls in many Cincinnati homes can still serve as thermal insulation. But thanks to advancements in building materials and a better understanding of energy efficiency, you can upgrade your older home without sacrificing any of its character.

Start with an energy audit, preferably one done by a contractor who’s familiar with older homes and dedicated to preserving them. You can be assured that his recommendations will be sensitive to your desire to respect your home’s architecture. His recommendations may include:

  • Sealing air leaks: Many common sources of air leaks, such as those around door frames and windows, can be fixed easily with caulk and weatherstripping. This won’t detract from your home’s appearance.
  • Upgrading your heating and cooling system: An energy-efficient furnace can significantly lower your heating costs — but only if you have done what you can to lower your heating load. Although you might be reluctant to tear out your prized plaster walls to add insulation, attic insulation can be added or upgraded without undoing your home’s appearance. While you’re at it, seal and insulate your ductwork. Central air conditioning for an older home can be tricky, as the upstairs ductwork is often insufficient. For the upstairs, consider installing a ductless mini-split system.
  • Replacing your water heater: Hot water accounts for a large part of your energy bills. Replacing your water heater — or even insulating it, if your warranty permits — can help you take charge of your utility bills.  
  • Focusing on your windows. Many preservationists advise against replacing windows, as they are prized historic features, and the wood is often old-forest and weather-resistant. Instead, consider low-E or laminated glass storm windows, which can resist infiltration as efficiently as replacement windows.

By following steps such as these, you’ll be able to save significantly on a home that meets modern energy-saving standards while retaining its historic charm. For more expert advice about boosting energy efficiency in your home — whether it’s old or new — contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Serving the greater Cincinnati area, we’re always happy to help.

Image via Shutterstock.com

"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
- Jerry A.
"I called Apollo because of a water leak I thought I had in our upstairs shower going into the kitchen. Robbie came and assured me everything was fine & looked at all the other plumbing. He ended up changing a few pipes for our washer & clearing a drain. He was very nice & knowledgeable with all my questions. I ended up signing up for the care plan & was very happy with my service."
- Cassandra B.
"The team at Apollo exceeded my expectations. As a business owner, my attention to the details and commitment to providing excellent service is high. From the sales rep. to the installation team, everyone’s performance was outstanding. For example, the installation team went to great lengths to protect our floors, placing floor runners and across the wood floors and up the stairs. They even were spot washing walls upon their departure. I highly recommend this company."
- Randy B.
"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
"Apollo is an excellent company. I always receive great service. Alex A. was professional and friendly. He kept me informed during the process of checking my furnace and heat pump to make sure they were working properly. The company makes sure you are notified who is coming and when they are on the way. All my interactions with the company have been wonderful."
- Beverly S.
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