Everyday Dose Of Reality
When all else fails…bury it!! Macgyver and I are sick and tired of trying to find a way to make this building aka our home easier to heat. We have, or he has everything else down to a science and running efficiently by solar or wind energy. The heating options are vast, monetarily there are only really 2 I can see. When you live outside the box to begin with, you are forced to stay out of that box for EVERYTHING. Heating this place in a conventional manner is not an option, it is not a conventional home. OUT OF THE BOX. I have more hours of research into this than any woman should have to admit and I’m not even going to begin to put target hours Macgyver has in on it. The overall heating of this place is a monster not just money wise but to change it is mentally draining as well. While you hear the money being sucked out of your wallet, you can hear your brain seeping out your ears, as the brain churns with ideas. We have walked the halls and wondered, yelled and flat out asked the air, why it was built so damned inefficiently. In my last blast of research this morning I came upon an answer for us. Our home is an old elementary school in case you are new around these parts. Meaning we have cinder block walls and the outside of the home/school is brick. Now, while you may think cinder blocks have historically been used to prop vehicles up that no longer have wheels, they do actually have a construction use.
The buildings in the North were sometimes double layered with cinder block, thank the gravel pressing concrete god, ours is not. For large buildings cinder block used to be the strongest way to build. Also it had no problem withstanding any snow per pound per cubic foot a roof would have to support in order to support the roof, hence load barring walls. The whole idea was that cinder block was not visually appealing to the eye when a car is not propped on it tireless. Hence add a layer of brick around the cinder block, give it color and another layer of hard stuff had to help insulate the buildings. Here is where things go awry in that thinking. The is almost no “R” value whatsoever in either. Translation – you have now constructed the coldest building human kind can build, minus the fact it could have only been worse if they forgot to build the walls. You have two building blocks filled with pores and they absorb water and moisture like a sponge. This is why you can never really insulate such a building very well, even from the inside.
If you go all out and insulate the inside to the “T”, the outside will in no time at all, crumble. You have created a barrier on a building that is meant to breath and push the moisture from outside to in and vise verse in summer. Which means in the winter that moisture gets locked in the brick and block, freezes and expands breaking it all apart in a short time. The only way to combat this is go on and insult the inside but also spray the outside of the building is a block/brick sealant every 5 to 10 years. Trust me with the size of our home/building this is NOT an economical choice in the least.
What does that leave us with as choices? Build another house in the yard and live in that during the winter every year? Not too appealing to furnish 2 homes or worse move your entire household every 6 months or so. There just isn’t enough Bengay in the world for that really to be honest.
A month or so ago I had a dream about our house. We buried it. We joked about it but quite frankly I was on to something! Oddly the husband seemed intrigued with the idea and claimed I was tempting him. Over the last year I have watched Macgyver toil over how to best heat our home and have seen geothermal contractors ushered in and questioned. The last one, poor guy, was questioned by me. I assure you I saw the terror in his eyes as I my questions and referred to our current steam heating system as poppycock and I don’t mean the buttery caramel pecan popcorn snack. All in all geothermal is out for us because I am not sinking 300k into a way to heat my home and put someone else child through college.
Geothermal…think, think. Um, hmm, 5 feet under ground you say is a stable 50 degrees, hmm. Research earthen homes, check. Researched sandbag homes, check. Underground homes leave a very small footprint, mostly heated with wood or solar. The earth stays at a constant 40-50 f, requiring you to only raise the temp 20 – 30 degrees inside. I could do that just by chasing on of the many children I have for 15 feet. SUBTERRANEAN BABY!!! Oh yeah, sure are, yep yup yeppers! This nutty family is going to wrap the house in the ice and water membrane and bury the freakin house! This thereby turns the whole thing into a geothermal home, the hippies were on to something in the 60’s.
If you thought I was hanging on my a thread of sanity before, just you wait. Stick around and watch the fireworks go off this summer. We are going to BURY our home!