Susan Levesque of North Hampton, New Hampshire lives within three-quarters of a mile of the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the time, this is an ideal location with fresh salt air and cool sea breezes. But when the weather turned colder, and winter gales blew in off the ocean, her 60-year-old Cape was blasted by the wind and the indoor temperatures plummeted. Levesque turned up the heat as much as she dared, but the high cost of oil made that an expensive proposition, so she typically just piled on the sweaters and waited for spring.
Levesque had lived in the home 18 years and might have gone on this way indefinitely if not for a chance discovery by an electrician. “I was having a new wall socket installed and the electrician asked me if I realized that there was no insulation between the walls,” she recalled. “I was stunned. I had no idea! I just assumed that the home was insulated. I had some insulation in the attic, between the rafters and I took it for granted that the whole house had been done. No wonder the house was cold and the heating bill was high.”
Like many New Englanders, Levesque didn’t realize that homes were not required to be insulated until 1960. Many older homes have little or no insulation. Levesque knew she had to get the situation corrected and contacted Nickerson-Remick.
“I had heard of Nickerson-Remick,” she said. “Some of my neighbors had used them and I had seen their trucks around. I called them and they sent someone right over to evaluate what needed to be done.”
After looking over the house, the Nickerson-Remick technician recommended additional foam insulation for the attic, blown-in cellulose for the walls, and a special foam insulation for the north wall, which received the most impact from the wind. Levesque agreed to the plan and the work began.
“Even though it was a comprehensive job, I wasn’t inconvenienced in any way,” says Levesque. “They worked from the outside in so I barely noticed they were here. They took off the vinyl siding as they went, and from time to time, came in to check the interior walls and make sure the insulation was fitting smoothly, but that was about all. They were here about a week. They showed up every day on time, cleaned up when they were done, and when the job was completed everything was put back just the way they found it. It was amazing.”
Levesque noticed a difference in her heating bill immediately. “I had this job done in the fall, and when I compared my heating bill from this year to the previous winter, what a difference! And I was much more comfortable–no more layers!”
After having her home fully insulated, Levesque was pleasantly surprised to discover another benefit as well. “I live on a main road which is fairly busy. Since the home was insulated, I don’t hear the traffic–not even big trucks. It’s nice and quiet!”
If your home dates prior to 1960, make sure you have insulation. The Nickerson-Remick team advises that many homes built even as recently as the 1940s and fifties are not insulated. In those days of “cheap oil,” it was not uncommon for builders to simply stuff old newspapers in the walls. Simply adding insulation will not only make your home more comfortable, it is one of the biggest ways to save significant money on your heating bill.