The slanting floor, tiny closet, sunken den, and the musty smell of old wood—these are just some of an old house’s charm.  If you’re one of those currently living or are about to move into an old house somewhere in Peterborough or downtown Toronto, would you think about major renovations and possibly losing the appeal of your old house? Most probably not.

Considering the rising costs needed to make such a house livable, however, practicality could override this taste for history. It may be thrilling to live in a house with character but that won’t be for long if you don’t take the necessary measures to reduce your billing expenses. This doesn’t mean you’d need a major retrofitting. You can still maintain your house’s antiquated appeal by merely having it properly insulated.

According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Association, most old Canadian houses, even those built just between the 1950s and 1980s, are relatively drafty and aren’t well-insulated. Since poor insulation equates to higher heat losses and energy bills, these houses are likely to consume at least 25% more space-heating energy than recent housing models, which follow tighter standards on insulation and airtightness specified on the latest building codes.

Old houses, like those built Pre-WWII, only make use of air pockets in home cavities to regulate heat flow, which are not enough to keep energy consumption down. In addition, insulation for Peterborough, Toronto and other Canadian old houses may be completely absent as building codes cannot apply retroactively.

Even insulations from past renovations may not be functioning optimally. This is because certain parts of the house create thermal bridges where heat can flow even with insulations in place.  These thermal bridges need to be covered to achieve optimum insulation efficiency.

Have your old house examined by Toronto insulation companies. These pros can help determine which parts of your old house have to be insulated, and recommend ways to make your home more energy efficient. While most of these companies make use of common materials such as spray foam, or fiber glasses for insulation, some offer environment-friendly alternatives to reduce their clients’ carbon footprints.

EnviroTech Insulation, for instance, uses cellulose, a material made from plant fibers. The energy used for manufacturing this is 49% less of what is needed for fiberglass or mineral insulation. It’s also recognized by the ECOLOGO program because aside from offering long lasting results in optimizing a property’s energy efficiency, it gives off less carbon and greenhouse gases.

(Source: Energy Efficiency Building Envelope Retrofits for Your House, CMHC-Schl.gc.ca)