Thursday, January 16, 2014

Winterizing More

Now that it has been several days since I fixed the broken pipes that went out to the barn and seeing that we are being forecast for a night of lows into the teens and maybe single digits. I decided today would be a good day to get started on the minor repairs and insulating I had planned for the basement.

I took a good look around to be sure the small troublesome little leak hadn't come back and after being satisfied it indeed had not returned it was time to get down to business.

I ran my hand over every square inch of the old foundation. OK I say foundation but really this house is too old to have had a basement. The original section of this house was more than likely laid down over 150 years ago. Someone, somewhere down the line dug a basement out from under this old house and placed the house on pillars. What I am calling the foundation ain't supporting jack and was thrown together with a mixture of concrete, natural stone and cement blocks. It has been shored up and new walls poured in sections as well.

Anyway I walked around in the dark with my hand up to feel any places the cold air is getting in. I would stop and turn the light off when I was in front of each section and look for any little bits of light. I actually found a few either new cracks or ones I missed last time I did this little investigation.

All the cracks and cold parts were filled with expanding foam sealant. I then insulated the pipes in all the trouble spots and beyond and then set up a remote temperature transmitter with the little LED readout now on my computer desk.

I can now monitor the actual temperature of the basement and take appropriate measures, like lighting up my salamander, if the basement begins to get too cold. I still need to do something about that door but my temporary fix will work until Spring gets here, I am just unable to use it as an actual door until then.

The next stage of my operation is designing a warm air duct into the basement that can be used with the duct work I already have in place. Actually at this point I am more looking at a vent type arrangement I can turn on when needed that just draws the warmer air from the main part of the house.

Until then I will need to just watch the temps closely from the remote monitor.

Once I get things situated and am comfortable with it I can then move the remote transmitter outside and use it the way it was intended. I will more than likely put it down at the barn so I can monitor the temps down there.

One thing you can say about Winter. It's the mother of innovation and improvisation.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. We used to watch the prepping shows on TV but can't get them now. Anyway the people were always concerned about fighting off intruders and having enough corn chips to last 20 years or something similar to that. Very seldom would anyone spend time talking about the real enemy or obsitcal to survival, WINTER! Most of my activity through out the warm months is to prepare food, fuel or the shelter for the oncoming winter. If you aren't prepared for winter, the intruders will find you thawing out in your armchair with a bag of corn chips in the spring.

    1. SF - Yet it was not uncommon for many in early Europe to look forward to Winter as it meant safety to them as well. They feared it but also welcomed it at times. Personally I believe we owe our entire civilization to Winter. Without it we would have never developed the skills necessary to build one.

  2. Sounds like you are getting a handle on the overall situation. A house that old presents some real challenges. I hope that single digit weather doesn't get down here, I've had enough to last me awhile. We did have snow last night but the temperatures stayed just below freezing.

    1. Harry - Well the hope is that this old house will soon just become the bee storage and honey production shed. It would be done by now if there wasn;t so much government red tape to wade through.

  3. Just a note of caution here with expanding foam in old stone wall. Dry, semi dry and lime mortared walls can actually have stones dislodged by expanding foam causing bigger voids and weakening the wall. I speak from bitter experience. If you suddenly find you need another application in the same place further investigation is required!


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