A home should be a fortress against extreme weather. In colonial days before a house was built a site was picked where a boulder or mound of earth the size of the house would be close to the North side of the house. The intent was to break up the North Wind before it could hit the house with its full frigid force. Homes protected in this way still can be seen in Northern New England.
This is the way I built my home thirty years ago. After the foundation had been poured we framed the house. The North, East and West walls were framed with 2×8 lumber. This is the direction from which the vicious weather came.
We used a marine compass to make sure the house faced directly South. The mildest weather of a Maine winter always came out of the South. This side of the house was framed with 2×6 lumber.
This made it possible to insulate the house well beyond the recommended levels. The floor between the first and second floor has six inches of insulation.
The attic floor also has six inches of insulation and the roof is protected on the inside by proper vent and six more inches of insulation. The house is equipped with baseboard electric heat backed up by a Vermont Casting Vigilant wood stove. The electric heat has never been used. It is listed as our primary heat source to save on insurance.
On mild days in the wintertime we open all the windows and enjoy the fresh air. No, really, we do have occasional mild days in Maine in the wintertime
The house is buried four feet on three sides and the rest of the siding is number one cedar shingles.
In nearly thirty years the only maintenance has been new roofing and painting the entrance.
I have never lived in a more comfortable house in my life. One cannot feel a draft in the most vicious Northeast storms.
My previous home was about a mile and half from here. In an Easterly storm the power would most generally get knocked out. One could not light a candle with a match, cigarette lighter or blow torch even if you could find one in the dark because the wind was almost as strong inside as it was outside.
One’s next option was to open the lid on the wood stove. Most of the time the candle would be melted before it lit, besides your hand would be burnt so that you couldn’t hold onto it anyway.
Finally one would have to venture out to the barn and get the hurricane lantern. Now the stumbling in the dark was over. At this point all I had to do is wait out the storm and hope the hurricane lantern didn’t burn the house down.