So far our basement has taken way more investment than our actual living space. The HVAC system is mostly down there and is by far the most expensive thing we’ve done. Now, the first big step in air sealing is going to be down there as well. Even with the new equipment we’ve installed so far, I think the basement is still the place where it’s easiest to tell how old the house really is.
When we started, we had the oil tank (on the left) and the huge behemoth of a furnace (in the middle). On the left is the extra-wide wooden door that leads out to the well of the Bilco. Apparently that door (the wooden one) will also have to be replaced during the air-sealing process, which I’m not thrilled about, since I think it has a lot of character.
Now the oil tank is gone, as is the furnace which has been replaced by the much smaller boiler – in the old coal room in the back – and air handler. Note the shiny new duct work. And the floor is still damp
So now that we need to start doing some work around the walls like switching out the windows and sealing the rim joists, the first step is going to be to clean the walls. Really, I’ve only ever seen dustier walls on the couple of occasions when I’ve visited really old wine catacombs. Behold:
And around the windows we need to replace, there are fist-sized mounts of collected dust, cobwebs, degraded mortar (I think), and maple tree seed pods that I can only assume blew through the non-air-sealed window frames, one or two at a time over the course of many decades.
Sweeping and vacuuming all this stuff away really deepened the seams in the stonework, which I’m thinking probably means that we are going to have to do some repointing in the not-too-distant future.