My wife and I are closing on an ENORMOUS (to us anyway 4580 sqft) old Victorian house in Evansville, IN this week. Our biggest concern with the place is how we are going to keep it warm through winter and still make the mortgage payment. I've been surfing around on this forum and picked up a few ideas, but was hoping someone could suggest a book or video with pictorials and diagrams of typical period construction with focus on upgrading the insulation and heating efficiency.
**Icynene or other stray foam- is this a reasonable option for filling the walls? The interior of this house, particularly on the ground floor, is beautiful, and I do not want to go tearing off the plaster if I can avoid it. I can selectively remove cedar siding on the exterior if I must. Is filling the walls from the outside a reasonable way to do this, and is this something that a reasonably mechanically inclined person could manage? What does a job like this typically cost?
**Attic Insulation. My wife is a fan of blown insulation for the attic space. I honestly hate the stuff if I have to ever go in the attic for any reason because it gets all up in everything and ends up getting tracked all over the house every time anything goes into or comes out of the attic. Why is this seemingly so much more popular than rolled insulation? Someone convince me it's worth the mess. We have a lot more storage in this house than we have ever had before, perhaps we will not use the attic for storage and this is a moot point.
This may be the wrong forum for this, but I am also wondering if reviving the boiler and radiant heat system to supplement the forced air heating is a good idea. All the radiators appear to be in place, though the pipes appear to be shrouded in asbestos. The boiler has been long abandoned and most likely needs to be replaced. Any tips when considering this as a project?