Insulating your home

March 7, 2010
Renewable energy is a good thing, but it won’t replace the simple concept of energy conservation and insulation. Radiant barrier is known to be the most effective insulator for your home. The bottom line is if you really want to save money, properly insulate your home and reduce your power usage. You don’t want poor insulation or running appliances fighting against your air conditioning or heating system to increase your utility bill.

Use Radiant Barrier

Radiant barrier is one of the best ways to reduce your heating (and cooling) bill. As the name implies, it works as a barrier to radiant heat, whether it’s outside during the summer or inside during the winter. Radiant barrier is simply two layers of aluminum foil with strands of fabric in between to support it. And it’s inexpensive! I encourage you to learn more: Sockets are culprits for air leaks

Seal the Leaks

Doors, windows, sockets, and fixtures are all likely culprits for air leaks. They are inevitably a hole in your wall if not properly insulated. If you can feel cold air coming in during the winter, it will go out during the summer. A puff of powder can visually reveal the flow of air through these holes. Check out some of the following sites for more details: You can find several types of insulation at your local hardware store, Home Depot, or Lowe’s.

Minimize Opposing Forces

People don’t generally have a heater and an air conditioner working at the same time. However, it’s easy to forget that nearly everything else produces some amount of heat that you can feel:
  • lights (incandescent, fluorescent, CLF, LED, etc.)
  • TVs, computer monitors (CRT, LCD, DLP, plasma, etc.)
  • game consoles
  • stereos
  • computers
  • Ethernet routers and switches
You’ve probably heard it before: If you’re not using it, turn it off. Also, don’t leave the refrigerator or freezer door open.

An insulated coffee mug, thermos container, and thermos

Consider the Thermos

The advantage of properly insulating your home can be seen in an ordinary thermos container. A thermos maintains the temperature of beverages or soups. Thermoses aren’t new, your parents or grandparents have probably used one.

A thermos works by maintaining a vacuum around it’s contents. Because it’s a vacuum, there is little air to conduct heat in or out. It is also coated silver to retain or reflect heat much like radiant barrier.

An insulated coffee mug works similarly, but it’s not under a vacuum. A separate atmosphere is maintained around the contents of the mug. A green house maintains it’s own atmosphere to stay warm. Atmosphere around the earth keeps it from being burned up by the sun. The less impact the outside atmosphere temperature has on your inside (home) atmosphere temperature, the better.

History Repeats Itself

These concepts of insulation, conservation, and even renewable energy aren’t new. I have a book titled Home Energy by Dan Halacy published in 1984. It’s interesting to note that 26 years later, the only things that have changed is technology. CFLs along with many other devices are much more efficient than they used to be. So, what’s our excuse?