My first visit to Maine was in the fall. It was chilly but beautiful. My second visit was in the winter, New Years Eve 2008/2009. I stayed in my boyfriend’s (he is my husband now) little house and I got a little taste of how winter in Maine can be. It was frickin’ cold. But that was not a problem for me. I knew that Maine wasn’t California. Being so close to Canada, I expected it to be cold. What I didn’t expect was that my friend’s house was so badly insulated.
There was only one spot in this house that wasn’t drafty: the second bathroom. It had no window and was situated in the middle of the house. All other rooms were cold because the windows were leaking. There was a constant cold draft in this house.
I took a closer look at his house and all the other houses here in Maine and noticed that most are made of wood. They have thin walls filled with some fluffy stuff for insulation purposes and windows that only slide up or down. No matter what we did, we couldn’t find a way to seal the windows. Sitting on the sofa was only possible if I wrapped myself in blankets from nose to toe.
Actually, this was my first culture shock. I was convinced that every house in Maine would be like his house. And I asked myself how these people could build houses like that knowing how hard and cold winter in Maine can be.
But I also learned a lesson that I later learned many times again: Never generalize based on a single piece of evidence.
Three years later we moved into a different house that was as old as the previous one and also made of wood, but the windows are just awesome. This winter of 2014/2015 was the coldest for years, but we always had a cozy home. Our wood stove alone was able to heat the house.
So, if you decide to live in colder parts of the US, take a close look at the doors and windows first. You won’t regret it.