How to Insulate Your Home

How to insulate your home the easy way to make your house warmer in winter, cooler in summer, and much quieter year round.

| December 1995/January 1996

How to insulate your home with easy to use methods to warm your house in winter, make it cooler in summer, and make your home much quieter year round. (See the insulation diagrams in the image gallery.)

How to Insulate Your Home

Few people know just how much more comfortable and how much money and energy could be saved by a comprehensive insulation upgrade. Oh, sure, it nags at you every time you get a $200 oil or gas bill, but will the time expended in buttoning up the house (to the extent that a rank amateur is capable) really pay off? Consider this: The newest generation of what used to be called superinsulation—plastic, metal, and recycled material composites—makes fiberglass look antiquated by comparison, is quicker and far less hazardous to install, and has the capacity to reduce your home's heating and cooling load by 50 percent. For the average home, that's a $1,500 savings on wood, coal, oil, or gas that you can put right back into your pocket. This is particularly true if you have a home that has not benefited from an upgrade in the past 10 years. Such an upgrade, which in most cases you can do on your own, will not only have a huge impact on your energy expenditure, but also will make your home feel more solid and quiet in the bargain.

Installing insulation in existing buildings poses challenges. However, the question is no longer whether it makes sense to insulate or even to some extent how much to insulate. The question now is simply how to find the most effective way of insulating each element of our home to the highest standard that we can afford. In the next few pages, I'll tell you how to do just that.

There is one important concept that is worth bearing in mind: Total heat produced in a building equals total heat lost to the outside. All insulation does is slow down the rate of heat loss, so that less heat is required to maintain the same internal temperature. When we insulate our houses to a high standard, we not only conserve the heat from our heating appliances, but also from all the other sources of heat, such as heat from cookers, lights, computers, and our bodies. These by-product sources of heat can then play a more important role in heating, and do the entire job themselves at certain times of the year.


Choosing the most suitable material for each situation, as you might imagine, is an important part of insulating, though much of the decision will be made for you depending upon the locally available materials. Most are not suitable for every application; for instance, some deteriorate with moisture. It is also important that we choose materials that do least harm to the environment. However, to some extent all materials used for insulation are ecological because in most cases during their life cycle they will prevent many times more pollution than their manufacturing has caused.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard