Where's the beef?

energy audit 3.JPG

Insulation is important – and most homes in Chicago are poorly insulated.  The best way to approach home energy improvements is to start with an energy audit by a qualified professional.  The audit will help provide a road map for a qualified contractor to seal off air leaks and add insulation where it’s needed.  Since the energy auditor isn’t making money on the actual work, this helps ensure the improvements will actually save money. 

But many homeowners think they can install insulation themselves.  They often do it wrong, and cause unintended serious problems as a result.  They block off attic ventilation, causing serious mold issues.  They install vapor barriers improperly, creating fire hazards.  And they often use weird materials that don’t do all that much to insulate.  I’ve seen people use old phone books, horsehair, discarded library books …

Adrian found one of the weirdest DIY insulation materials ever:  large sheets of Wendy’s hamburger wrappers. Presumably, the homeowner worked at Wendy’s, because he or she had access to 5-foot-wide sheets of foil-backed hamburger wrapping paper.  I guess the thinking was that the paper keeps the hamburger warm, so it should help insulate the attic.  But of course the sheets were haphazardly strewn throughout the attic – and highly flammable.  Just one more example of how it’s best to leave important work to qualified professionals.