Modern homes are extremely efficient but many people own very old homes. A gaping hole in the foundation can make it costly to heat or cool. The Crack Daddy explains how to make an older home with a fieldstone foundation more energy efficient.
Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Daddy himself, Adam Tracy. Adam and The Crack Man Rich have over 30 years’ experience in the construction industry. Rich as over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcast provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: How can fixing your home’s foundation make it more energy efficient?
Narrator: So Adam, modern homes are extremely efficient but many of your customers own very old homes. I can imagine a gaping hole in the foundation can make it costly to heat or cool, am I right?
Adam: Yeah, you are right. New energy cools when you don’t create a nice envelope around the house to make a very energy efficient home. And which is great for new homeowners who buy new homes but if you’re a person who appreciates the character and charm of an older home, you don’t get the benefit of the energy efficiency that are now built into the homes today. And one of the challenges is that a lot of the heating and cooling equipment that you buy and install in these homes are kind of designed and originally slated to be used in a home that’s more energy efficient, so you can get really bad energy efficiencies out of these older homes for a variety of reasons.
One of the most often overlooked areas is the foundation, and why would the foundation be an area of concern and why would you think about a foundation as part of the energy efficiency project. Well, if you happen to live in Massachusetts and you go through a mass energy audit of the home, you would see that they would probably identify things in the attic, windows, insulation, batting, etc., and they will also go into the basement and oftentimes they’ll talk about what you can do in the basements both from an insulation standpoint and also sealing up the foundation itself. So, with a fieldstone foundation we really have to be concerned about airflow movement through the foundation from the inside to the outside. A concrete foundation and even a block foundation, they’re very tight, they’re very tightly made, the materials are potentially non-porous from an airflow standpoint, so you get a really tight envelope in the basement when it’s a concrete or block foundation. When it’s stone, there’s far more gaps and areas for airflow movement to go through, that’s why with dehumidifiers, they’re less efficient in these spaces because there’s so much more air and moisture that they’re pulling from the outside and the soils and what not.
So in order to get your house really energy efficient in these colder winter months, really you should be considering working at the foundation as part of the project. With the stone foundations in particular, what you really want to be looking at is a repointing project, with repointing projects what we want to look at is the mortar that’s in between the stones, the stones are there, we’re not going to really modify the stones in general, but the gaps that form between each stone is really what adds up to a lot of energy lost in the foundation walls. If you think about even just having a thumb sized hole every 2 feet around the foundation, if you’re going to try and take that all in 1 piece, we’re talking about 2 or 3 windows being wide open in the basement. So this act ends up creating a much colder space and it can actually create a much moister space in the summertime as well, and what that does is that greatly reduces the energy efficiency of the home and also greatly reduces the ability for the mechanical equipment – your heaters, your boilers, forced hot air, whatever you may have to work properly because they’re not intended to be in that cold of a space, that drafty of a space, or that moist of a space if it’s in the summertime.
So repointing projects typically go joint by joint and go through the entire foundation to make sure that every gap is sealed up with an appropriate mortar for that age of the home. And that really, not only does it improve the structure and stability of the home, plus it keeps rodents and insects from entering the space, but it’ll also prevent the energy efficiency from dropping in the home.
A lot of times we get calls from customers talking about spraying closed cell insulation on a fieldstone foundation, and we generally discourage that for a variety of reasons – one, it’s really difficult to do well in a fieldstone foundation because these spray insulations are really intended to be used on wooden surfaces and also concrete surfaces as well. The stones are generally a bit moister so they do have a little bit of adhering issues with the spray insulation. The other issue that comes up a lot of times from customers who have done a spray insulation in a fieldstone foundation is that if they do have a water leak, it’s almost impossible to hunt it down and find it. So while it does increase the energy efficiency of the home, it does open up a lot of opportunities for challenges post-installation of that insulation material because it can hide all the potential issues that you may not have resolved prior to doing that project.
So in general with a fieldstone foundation, really increasing the energy efficiency involves more masonry work than it does spraying in insulation. So, overall, when you have an older home, it’s not a lost cause in terms of getting it more energy efficient, it just needs to have a whole house approach to it which includes from the attic down to the foundation, and a lot of times it involves some masonry work down the foundation to really improve it.
Narrator: Thanks Adam, so this is a great topic for 2022. If your home has cracks or gaping holes in your foundation, get it fixed and you just might see your heating and cooling bills go down.
Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.