This Old House: More TV Time for Detroit Homes

This Old House is a home improvement show on PBS, broadcasted on Detroit Public Television (WTVS).

Photo from  

Photo from 

In the recent 10-episode feature, an old Detroit home in the historic Russell Woods neighborhood is the subject of renovation. We had the opportunity to speak with Joe Burke, the episode's featured mechanic, to discuss the show and learn tips and tricks for heating and cooling an old house.

J'adore: What is This Old House?

Joe Burke: "Old two story home in Detroit was redone for a retired fireman and his wife to live in. We remodeled down to the studs- molding, ceiling, everything. We added modern features to the home and updated without changing the original look of the home. The episodes will be airing in March."

J'adore: What was Burke Mechanical’s role in the project?

Joe Burke: "The crew was awesome, they looked to us for our expertise, including putting HVAC systems into older home. We do a lot of old home installations, so this was a perfect fit for us. We met with crew and Calverley Supply. We also installed a new furnace, air conditioners, humidifiers, and arranged for duct work to be cleaned and sanitized"

J'adore: What do you think everyone needs to know about installing HVAC systems in older homes?

Joe Burke: "Before any homeowner does any installation, they need to be knowledgeable about the home they have and what their future plans are. High efficiency is usually the best way to go. We like our products to pay for itself in 3-5 years, based on the consumption of gas and window air. We do an evaluation, to determine the best system."

J'adore: Do you have any tips for keeping an older home heated in the winter and cool in the summer?

Joe Burke: "Luxaire 2 stage Heat with a Direct Current modulating variable speed motor- it’s a 96% efficiency furnace. For example in spring and fall, this furnace will come on, run at low fire and if it doesn't satisfy the temperature of the house, it will then kick up. Same in winter, it’ll modulate back up and down to keep an even temperature to the house."

J'adore: What should first time buyers know and look for before buying an older home?

Joe Burke: "It may be worth having a contractor like us coming to evaluate the system, for example if there is a boiler system, it will not work well when installing an A/C. You can call us (586) 992-1700 or email our website we’re based out of Shelby Township Michigan, we service a five county area."

Thanks Joe for sharing your tricks of the trade! 

Watch This Old House on your local PBS station or online here!

- J'adore Detroit