From Drafty to Dreamy: 1925 Home Gets Modern Comforts

Love at First Sight

Ruiz-04-800x603For Amy Ruiz and her partner, Sonia, they fell in love with their 1925 Northeast Portland at first sight. “We looked through the windows and fell in love with this home,” Amy says, “It was a little bit over our budget but we just fell in love with all the built-ins and the hardwood floors.” After purchasing the home in 2007, they settled comfortably in their Woodlawn neighborhood, enjoying the coffee shops and friendly neighbors.

Baby, it’s Cold Outside

Embracing the home’s charm, they endured the draftiness and high heating bills. “The furnace was running almost constantly in the winter. We could hear the money going out the window,” Amy laughs.

However, things changed in 2011. Looking at her four-year-old son, Alex, in her lap, Amy notes “This little guy came along, and before then, we just kind of dealt with the cold. That first winter with a tiny baby, it was so drafty. We were concerned that he wasn’t getting a good night sleep because he was too chilly. It just wasn’t a good situation so we were definitely looking to make the house more comfortable.”

Getting Started

Amy heard about Enhabit while work on sustainability issues with the City of Portland. “We knew that Enhabit was helping to upgrade older homes. It took us a few years to sign up but we’re really happy that we did,” Amy says.

They signed up in 2012 and began with a 100 Point Performance Check. “They had a long list they wanted to check, things that we didn’t even think of,” Sonia says. Amy and Sonia ended up completing every upgrade suggested to them during the visit.

Getting the Job Done

Enhabit paired them with Green Energy Solutions. “It can be daunting to try to find a good contractor and do all that vetting. It was nice to have all that handled,” Amy says.

Green Energy Solutions installed a water heater, furnace, attic, wall, rim joist and floor insulation and replaced their knob and tube wiring, which is outdated electrical wiring. “It happened while we were at work and by the end of the week we had an upgraded house,” Amy says, “The day they did the roof insulation we could really tell the difference. We walked in and the house was just cozy.”

Home Performance Advisors

This was their first big project and they appreciated being able to ask the Home Performance Advisors for help. “This is an area we knew nothing about. We had a tiny baby and full-time jobs so it was just great to have someone explain contractor language to us and help us understand what investments would have the biggest benefits,” Amy says.

They also appreciated the quality review at the end of the project. “The house felt great but it was nice that an advisor came out to double-check everything. They did a blower door test and used an infrared camera to check the insulation. It was nice see that the walls were warm now,” Amy says.

Spreading the Word

Since their project in 2012, Amy and Sonia never hesitate to share their experience with their friends and neighbors. “Whenever we hear them talk about their drafty, old house, we let them know that Enhabit is a great option for making their house more comfortable,” Amy says.

Currently, they enjoy their cozier home. “Our experience with Enhabit was very smooth,” Sonia says, “The best thing about the upgrade is that heating costs and keeping our house comfortable are just things that we don’t even worry about anymore.”

Home Performance Upgrades:

  • Attic, ceiling, floor and rim joist insulation
  • Water heater
  • New furnace
  • Replaced knob and tube wiring

Benefits:

  • Warm and cozy home
  • Lower utility bills by about $60 to $80 a month
  • Updated electrical work
  • New, efficient water heater
  • New, efficient gas furnace that doesn’t run all winter!
Amy Ruiz, Enhabit Homeowner