Concerned about winter in an old house
Once in college I lived in an old house cut into apartment units. It had big, beautiful, bay windows and brick walls. It was a stunning apartment. Unfortunately, when winter came I noticed that those beautiful features leaked so much air that I had to pull all my furniture away from the outer walls and live huddled up to the center, interior wall. My gas heating bill was extreme. To this day, I think I lost a few years off my lifespan because I was sooo cold, down deep to my bones, that winter.
So, now my husband and I want to buy a house in an older neighborhood. We fell in love with a tudor home from 1930. It even has it's original wavy glass, leaded windows that open like shutters! They are really beautiful and I would never replace them. The owners have put an interior, vinyl storm window over them to help make them more insulating. However, as our realtor showed us the home, he shook his head in sorrow and said that we'd freeze during the winter with windows like this and that they must be replaced (he meant the leaded glass windows not the storm windows). He said he'd never live in a house with original windows.
Then, we went to the big, scary basement which has recently been water proofed but still smells moldy, and this is where we learned that the house has radiator heat complete with a boiler. Our realtor said that it's not the oldest boiler he'd ever seen but it's still an antique. Now, I'm doubly concerned. I've never lived with radiator heat with units under the windows like in this house. Will we freeze? Does anyone have any experience with this?
The house is cooled from the top down -meaning that the duct work is in the ceiling on the top floor and the bottom floor does not have any AC vents. So, we can't simply install a furnace and use the duct work from the AC to heat the home. If we wanted an HVAC unit to heat the lower floors, we'd have to put in duct work for it, too.
And finally, I asked about insulation. That attic is full of new, good stuff (I think R-38). But the rest of the house is all original plaster and stone. No insulation has been blown in. I like this because I've read horror stories of blown in insulation (from Bob Yapp's blog) but, again, I'm concerned about freezing in the winter.
What do you think? Will we freeze?