Question about Plaster walls
Does anyone know if plaster is considered a breathable / porous material? Most of the walls in my house are plaster and recently I have noticed that while standing near one of the largest walls in my house that I can feel a breeze on very cold days when the wind is above normal. Its very odd because I don't see any gaps or holes anywhere but without question there seems to be a breeze blowing right through the wall as if there wasn't a wall there at all. Granted, it's not to the point of blowing my hair back or anything but it seems drastic enough to possibly be my primary culprit in the homes very lousy ability to retain any heat in the winter months. The outside of the home is covered in vinyl siding and underneath that are wooden laths. It appears there may be some kind of black tack paper/white Styrofoam as well that I assume are acting as an insulation barrier but itÂs definitely not Tyvek.
My digital thermostat is set to kick the heater on whenever there is a 4 degree difference between the target temp and the actual interior ambient temp. The heater comes on for a few minutes and then shuts off as normal but literally within a 5-10min time frame it is kicking back on again to reheat the house.
I am trying to maintain the homes era correct features as much as possible but if I can't seem to get the home to retain heat better I may have to resort to using modern materials in order to combat the heating costs during the winter months. Last winter my average monthly heating expense was $380 for a 1500 sq/ft home which is pretty ridiculous. I am dreading the thought of what my bills will look like this year now that fuel costs have gone thru the roof.
I originally thought this problem was related to half the windows being only single pane glass with storms but now I am reconsidering this theory. I know there are definite improvements to be made in terms of the windows but at a quoted price of over $900 per window installed (Andersen) I would hate spend that kind of money and still have a cold home because of other issues that I maybe overlooking.
One of my initial thoughts was to get 1 x 3 wood strips and build the drafty wall out a bit by adding a layer of drywall then use a foam sheet insulation of some sort between the plaster and the drywall. Doing this would also fix another issue with this wall which is related to one of the previous owners (ie..brain surgeon) painting over wallpaper covering the entire span.
Any opinions you may have on my situation are appreciated. Thanks