Downsizing in Dellview

Interview by Susanne R.

When church member Nancy H. down-sized, she wanted her own little house.  She bought a house in the neighborhood behind our church, in Dellview.  Dellview is a community that has smaller houses built in the late forties and early fifties to provide housing for GIs transitioning to the San Antonio area. The house was brought “as is” just before foreclosure. But when she got her first utility bill, she realized it was not going to be so cheap. The bill was the same as her mortgage! First, she had all the windows removed and replaced them with energy-efficient double-paned glass. She had to pay over $3,000 for the windows and the complete installation. Later she added blinds throughout the house to block the sun and cool the interior with a uniform look throughout the exterior of the house windows.

The back door was replaced with an energy efficient door with double paned windows—a screen door for the kitchen is still on the future “to do list.”

Two weeks after buying the house, the air conditioning unit outside went out and had to be replaced. After these changes her energy bill slowly went down some. The exposed ductwork, which was added sometime after the house was built when air conditioning was added, was leaking and very dirty. So new ductwork was in order along with a massive cleaning and refurbishing of the old duct work fittings; she later learned there was no insulation in the house (the attic was too short-spaced to have form insulation added), so she had as much insulation blown in as possible.

In this same timeframe, she also replaced the background patio slab and added lights and an outdoor fan to take advantage of the cool summer nights in the background.

A garden was added in the background –using the old wooden steps from the kitchen as the base to make a “raised” garden where fresh vegetables are harvested throughout the year.

A front garden was added with lots of beautiful flowers, along with a spice garden near the front door with chives, rosemary, dill and other spices that can be quickly harvested for fresh ingredients.

When Nancy added two wind turbines to her roof, she found out that the roof itself will soon have to be replaced. She hasn’t had the funds to replace the roof, but after she had CPS do an energy audit she has decided that when she does get a new roof –the next large purchase will be to add solar and rewired the house. Her most recent green energy “quick job” has been to add silicone caulking around all the windows on the outside of the house.   Lastly, she redid all the baseboards and caulked them as well throughout the house.

So, not only is her house snugger and more comfortable but she has found that she likes her neighbors, who keep dropping by asking—“now what are you having done to that house?”


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