With the current housing market it’s very cost effective to buy an older house rather than building or buying new. Unfortunately that often means finding yourself in a home that looked great at first, but reveals a disappointing lack of insulation when summer or winter comes along. Let’s take a look at the best ways to deal with insulation issues.
Tinting your windows is one of the most overlooked methods of insulation. Large windows are a curse and a blessing. On the one hand you have an amazing view and access to natural light. On the other hand, cold seeps through in the winter and heat slips into the house in the summer. Both are undesirable. Window tint is applied to the interior side of the glass. Tinted windows stop solar heat and radiant heat from the sun from entering the house. The polyester and metal coating is a stronger deterrent against the cold than glass. Various kinds of window film can be acquired. When considering adding window film for insulation purposes make sure that it is a low-e window film.
The most obvious solution to insulation issues is to add insulating foam to your walls and roof. If you’re strapped for cash and can’t insulate your entire house, you’ll have to consider your climate before you can decide where to start. If you’re far from the equator and are more worried about the cold than the heat then you start with your roof. Heat rises, and that’s where the majority of your heat loss will be. If, on the other hand, you’re in southern California and you’ve never seen a snowflake, you might want to start with your walls and floor, where you might be losing your cold air to your basement or crawl-space.
If you don’t like the idea of getting under your house and tacking insulation up against the underside of your floors, or you just want to make sure that your floors are very well insulated, you can significantly improve floor insulation through carpeting. While carpet flooring will obviously be the best way in terms of temperature regulation, just laying down some smaller ones on your hardwood or laminate flooring will work better than nothing.
Paint comes in many colors and hues, but most people aren’t aware that paint can help with your insulation. The effectiveness of insulating paint is controversial at this time. EnergyIdeas Clearinghouse, a non-profit institution dedicated to energy efficiency, has found that insulating paint can decrease heat gain by as much as twenty percent when the sun’s rays are directly shining a wall with insulating paint. The downside of insulating paint is that the effectiveness of the insulation qualities will decrease with time, so you will have to eventually repaint. If you choose not to repaint, you will still have a paint that exceeds even high-gloss paint in durability. The increased durability will lead to a reduction in drafts and air leakage. Generally I’d say insulating paint has its uses, and, if you can afford it, it’s one more barrier against the out of doors.
Once you’ve done everything you can inside the house you can go all the way by creating an environment around your house that places it into a milder micro-climate. You can do this by planting trees near your house (if you’re impatient, go with willows). Keep in mind that you’ll want to keep trees at least 10 feet from your house (ideally further) to prevent the roots from damaging your foundation. Eventually the trees will grow tall and serve to hold in both heat and cold.