Monday, January 25, 2010

Web Crawling, My Way

The wet spot on the ceiling of the upstairs bedroom was fainter on Sunday---thank goodness the rain had abated over the weekend---but I still had to check it out. Storms are coming.

I did the easy check first by going up on the roof. No shingles were missing. No obvious holes or missing caulk.

Now the hard part. Into the attic crawl space, aptly named, where I had to make my way through a 30-year accumulation of dust and cobwebs. I stepped, then crawled onto narrow beams spaced two feet apart, moving slowly lest I put my foot through the plaster ceiling, which I did the last time I was up here ten years ago.

The fierce winds last week had blown through the vent and displaced a rectangular block of insulation. Rain or condensation had accumulated on the plaster, visible to the room below. I pointed the flashlight beam up but didn’t see evidence of a roof leak.

Hoping that it would fix the moisture problem at least temporarily, I replaced the insulation. I looked around. Our utility bills are running close to $300 per month this winter, and it would be nice to upgrade our insulation. We could also build out the attic a bit to create storage space. Another project to add to the overflowing job jar.

End note: forget alternative energy. In 2010 the push will be toward energy efficiency. (Of course, the government promoting efficiency is like Tiger Woods promoting marital fidelity, but the message shouldn’t be tainted by the messenger.) Insulation, caulking, and efficient furnaces aren’t sexy, but they’re far more cost effective than windmills and wave machines.

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