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I have Rumford fireplaces in my antique house. When we had an addition built in 1998 we added another one. My advice would be to fine an experienced mason who has built these before and check with the local building department to be sure it can be done with all the building code requirements in place today. If I had it to do over I would have tried to get “pumpkin seed” brick. It is an antique English brick, a little smaller with a narrower face compared to new brick, which came over from England as ballast in the ships.
If the space behind the knee wall is clear from end to end and you install gable end vents at each end then that would keep the eaves from freezing and causing ice dams.Make sure the knee wall is well insulated. You want to keep the heat in the finished area and get the space behind the wall as cold as it is outside.What you need to do is create some convection in there. If you don't want to spend the money for this then you could try a high powered exhaust fan for one of the roof vents and try to get some air movement from that.
Solar panels are a great "green" addition to any home. That said, the roof underneath the solar panels is just as important. With an asphalt roof, the homeowner is going to be removing the solar panels to replace the asphalt roof long before the solar (PV) needs to be replaced. This wise choice would be to install a lifetime aluminum energy star rated roof and attachthe PV solar to the new metal roof. When the PV needs to be replaced or removed the roof will still be in service. In fact will last for many years beyond the life of the solar panels. On a different note, if you decide to install solar be sure you have a landing area for the snow slides coming off the panels. It is a little known problem that is just coming to light by the industry. Snow slides coming off a roof with solar can cause significant damage or injury. Be sure to address this issue with your solar contractor.
When it comes to energy efficiency, adding insulation is the most affordable upgrade that can be done to a 2-story home. With good insulation, there will be an immediate return on the money spent. A high performance energy efficient heating system is also very important. Energy efficient heating and good insulation work hand in hand by paying the homeowner back hundreds of dollars a year, along with the home being much more comfortable to live in. Lifetime aluminum metal roofing should rank very high on the priority list for an energy efficient home; certainly among the top three upgrades. The product itself is made from a very high percentage of post consumer aluminum. It is also considered to be among the most long lasting sustainable roofs that can be put on a home.There are aluminum roofs that are well over 100 years old in the USA. These roofs have very high reflectivity, which equates to high energy savings during the summer months or in the south where air conditioning is needed. These energy star rated roofs can save as much as 30% on energy as it relates to cooling costs. With proper insulation, energy efficient heating, and metal roofing, the home will have optimum energy efficiency and continue to remain at the most comfortable temperature based on the given seasons.
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