A small investment in a warmer winter


Big doings at our house this weekend: We insulated the walls!

Our house was built over 75 years ago. When we undertook a big renovation after we bought it, we immediately realized its walls were hollow. Bad news for winter comfort. But, with all the other major projects we were tackling at the time, we left insulating off the list (our renovation didn’t involve opening up the walls).

Cut to the winter of 2009-2010, when we’d routinely get up in the morning and see our breath–indoors. I once checked a thermometer inside and found that it was 48 degrees. Whether we ourselves can endure this is beside the point; having an infant in the house makes cosiness more of a necessity than an indulgence.

So, we opted to install blown-in cellulose insulation. It was cheap, D.I.Y.-friendly, and uncomplicated. And it’s a pretty earth-friendly product; it’s made from recycled paper and contains no formaldehyde, which is not true for the pink fiberglass stuff.

Bales of cellulose piled on the porch

We rented the blower machine from Lowe’s and enlisted my in-laws to help manage the mess (and said infant). Next time I’ll tell you more about how the job is done. For now, here’s a fact I find delightful: The whole job cost less than $200. Machine rental is free if you buy enough insulation. And the material itself is quite inexpensive. On top of that, we’ll get a 30 percent tax credit for the job.

Considering not only the more comfortable winter we’ll enjoy, but the savings in energy, I call that a home-run investment.