Saturday, November 2, 2013

House Insulation

Barry brought up the subject of insulation. I think quite a few people are assuming that we are crazy for not insulating our house. And I think that the new building code now requires insulation, though our permit is governed by the older code.

Insulated windows we can't get away from without spending lots of money on custom windows. All the windows now are double glazed. We don't need double glazed, but it's cheaper to go that route. Our windows are seldom closed. I'll close windows on a chilly winter morning so that the woodstove can heat up the main part of the house, but other than that, they are never closed. We don't get rain in the windows, nor too much wind coming through. No close neighbors, so blocking out noise isn't needed. And no need to lock up the house. Anyway, a person seriously wanting to get in would simply break a window. And the issue of the time you notice that the vog is heavy, it's too late. It's already inside the house. On a bad vog day, we'll just leave and do something somewhere else, hoping that the vog has lifted by the time we get home. Maybe some day some catastrophe will happen and we'll be glad for the windows, but I hope that never comes about.

Insulation in walls and ceilings is for noise control and temperature control. We once had installed fluffy fiberglass insulation in the livingroom, but it became a housing area for rats. You talk about a smelly mess! The rats loved it and became extremely difficult to eliminate. Once gone, they left behind smelly urine soaked insulation. We ended up removing the walls and ceiling in order to rip out all the disgusting, wet insulation. Rather than reinstalling the insulation, we thought hard about why insulation was needed in the first place. We concluded that we only needed the roof insulated.
Styrofoam sheeting between metal roof and ceiling. 

Heat -- we only use heat is in the morning in order to take the chill off. We have lived here just fine without it, but it's a nice luxury. A side benefit is that the woodstove also dries the living area out, thus stopping the mold problem. And it is handy for some quick cooking. But we don't want to keep the heat in! By 8 a.m. the house would be too warm if the heat wasn't allowed to escape. So all windows get opened and the heat is aired out. Insulation would make it more difficult to cool the house off. And since I have a virtually unlimited source of fuel for the woodstove, there is no need to conserve on heat. 

Cooling -- we have no need for air conditioning and never will. So we don't try to conserve cooled air. Our house is intentionally kept breezy during the day, encouraging the air to flow through it. It stays cool enough all by itself. The ceilings are high and peaked to allow hot raise to rise and get flushed out by the breeze. 

Noise -- the only noise we need to dampen is that of the rain. Our roof is metal, thus noisy. There is no way to totally control noise on a metal roof, but a bit of insulation takes out the sharpness of the sound. So we opted to use foam insulation boards. Not as easy for a rat to go unnoticed. As for outside noises, we live fairly removed from neighbors. So general noises and generators aren't a problem. In fact, I like to be able to hear any unusual noise, like the horse whinnying or the sheep bleating at night. Our watchdog will woof when something is amiss, so I want to be able the hear that too. 

1 comment:

  1. Well-reasoned, Sue Ba. The rats are horrible, as are mice. We have baits set near the house, which work very well. Not accessible to itinerant cats, but I haven't found droppings like we saw when we moved here last year. (Don't ask.) Our new vermin is the fruit tree-smashing black bear(s). which thankfully do their marauding late at night. They leave their calling card mounds on the grass. Yeah, I'm told that they are susceptible to acute lead poisoning, so I do have delivery systems for that, should I confront them. I suspect you may have that for feral pigs too.