I have never taken a home maintenance class. In fact, up to this point in my life, my experience with home maintenance has been sourced from helped offered by my highly knowledgeable father, from television shows, and from personal experience with trial and error. Obviously, none of those solutions are ideal for addressing any number of home repairs and maintenance issues that can arise in day to day life, which led me to the conclusion that gaining my first experience attending a home maintenance class hosted by professionals was likely a beneficial thing to do. As a result, I kept my eyes peeled for available home maintenance classes in the Madison area, with the intent of finding a class suited to the maintenance of older houses like the one Rachael and I call home.
Eventually, my intent led me to the discovery of home maintenance sessions offered by the local non-profit, Project Home, in Madison, Wisconsin. As I sifted through their class list, I took note of a class titled “Attics, Basements, and Crawlspaces, Oh My!” which focused on the control of airflow and moisture in each of these critical areas of a home. Considering I own a home with all three of the features listed in the class title, I figured making Project Home’s “Attics, Basements, and Crawlspaces, Oh My!” my first ever home maintenance class made perfect sense. Therefore, I set aside time to attend the Project Home course this evening with knowledge I was likely to learn a lot from this otherwise basic “I have never...” experience.
After arriving at the Project Home offices, I found my way to the onsite classroom and grabbed a seat in one of the rows closest to the presentation area. As I settled in and review the paperwork handed to me by the instructor, I was pleasantly surprised to see the real estate agent that had helped me buy my house, Trent, walk into the room. After a few friendly greetings, Trent and I decided to take two seats near my previous location in anticipation of the class beginning. Once seated, we caught up for a few minutes as the class filled up around us and the presenter prepared his materials. Our conversation made the time pass quickly until the class facilitator took to the front of the room to begin the class.
Over the next 90 minutes, the instructor walked the class through the science of airflow in a structure and explained the critical elements of air and moisture control in a house. With specific focus on control of airflow through air sealing and insulation, the instructor walked through the primary sources of inefficiency in a home. Initially, this resulted in the instructor spending a great deal of time on attic spaces and their role in air exchange and temperature management throughout a house, which transitioned into remedies for the most common issues and oversights faced by homeowners. His expertise and approach simplified the overall concepts in a manner that made the presentation very easy to follow, and his advice for addressing the issues discussed provided common sense solutions to significant problems. By the time the presenter finished his section on attics, I had learned more about energy efficiency in a home than I had accumulated during all of my last 30 years, and he had yet to touch on basements and crawlspaces.
With limited class time remaining, the presenter fielded a few questions on attic management before briefly touching on basements. Recalling some of the concepts he introduced earlier, the presenter commented on the primary sources of air leaks in basement structures and gave the class pointers on how to address the issues. Eventually, this led him to a very brief discussion of crawlspaces before bringing the class to a conclusion. After happily fielding a few more questions from the group, he thanked each of us for attending and gave us some final tips to remember from the class. His summary was to the point, but it provided a solid refresher of the classes most critical lessons.
As we wrapped up the class and prepared to leave, I asked Trent his thoughts on the class. Like me, he saw value in the information presented and found knowledge to be gained from the experience. While I don’t know to what extent Trent gathered new information from the event, I walked away from Project Home’s “Attics, Basements, and Crawlspaces, Oh My!” with a wealth of new knowledge and a new perspective on energy efficiency management and maintenance on my home. Needless to say, I was glad I decided to attend a home maintenance class for the first time. At minimum, I walked away a more informed and more prepared home owner, which will help me better address any issues I face with some of the main areas of my home. As far as I’m concerned, that’s time well spent in year of new experiences.