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Julie’s Energy Retrofit

By Julie Tong
Mount Washington Homeowner and Retrofit Baltimore Participant

Our house was built in 1922 and during our first winter here, we noticed that it was extremely drafty. The heating bills were very expensive and it seemed like all of our income was going into keeping the house warm. We hate being cold so we paid someone to insulate the attic, which didn’t make much of a difference. We also added weatherstripping around the doors and installed insulating window blinds, but all of our efforts seemed to only act as little band-aids that failed to address the root of our home’s energy loss.

Since we live in an older house that occasionally needs repairs, we have a lot of experience working with different contractors, but we were hesitant to pick a home energy performance contractor on our own. When someone from Retrofit Baltimore knocked on our door to invite us to an energy meeting, we were intrigued by the program and went to learn more. The presentation was very informative and made it easy to understand the basics of a home energy retrofit.

The energy assessment was the most interesting part of the process. We learned that our house has a balloon frame, which is one of the most inefficient frames possible. The balloon frame allowed air to come in uninhibited and made the insulation ineffective. It was amazing to see the blower door test in action, and see how much air was flowing through the basement. The building analyst taught us how air moves in and out of the house, and explained why some of our rooms were cold during the winter. It was frustrating to hear how much energy we were wasting, but good to know that the building analysts referred by Retrofit Baltimore could help us save more energy.

We are extremely happy with the work done by the contractor. They air sealed and redid all the insulation in the attic as well as installing exhaust fans. We have already noticed the basement is not as cold as before, and are looking forward to a warmer house this winter. The customer service throughout this process has been amazing!

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