How to Reduce Your Home’s Energy Consumption
LESLIE: Jim in North Carolina has a question about insulation. How can we help you with that?
JIM: Hi. I went to a seminar and they brought out some stuff that looked like heavy-duty aluminum foil kind of a thing that they talked about lining the house and the attic with.
JIM: And it would be so good on cutting your expenses down and all of that.
TOM: Yeah. Was that seminar paid for by the radiant-barrier manufacturer?
TOM: Just took a guess, Jim.
LESLIE: And on your way out the door, you could buy a whole bunch of it.
JIM: Yeah. And they wouldn’t take any money right then but they would definitely come to your house afterwards.
TOM: Of course not. Oh, yeah. Setting you up for the hard close, buddy.
JIM: And I thought they could buy me a dinner but I’m not necessarily going to buy snake oil because I get bought a dinner.
TOM: Well, look, can radiant barriers save you energy? Yes. But it’s still somewhat of an unproven technology as far as I’m concerned.
TOM: And I think that there are much better ways for you to reduce your energy consumption inside your house than using radiant barrier.
JIM: I was wondering, too, about the moisture buildup. Here in North Carolina, we get a lot of humidity.
JIM: And I thought if you trap all that in the house …
TOM: Yeah. Well, that’s another reason. It’s very difficult to put it in in an existing house, too, because you’ve got all those issues to contend with. But the thing – the basic things that you can check, Jim, is to make sure in your attic that you have 19 to 22 inches of insulation – that’s really critical – and then to make sure you have plenty of ventilation.
How old is your house, Jim?
JIM: You know, I’m not sure. It’s an older house.
JIM: There are two whirligigs up on the ….
TOM: Ah, the whirligigs look pretty but they don’t – they’re not very effective as a ventilation strategy.
JIM: Oh, my wife just told me it was made in 1981.
TOM: OK. Well, go to our website and look up “ridge and soffit ventilation.” And you’ll see some articles there where we talk about the fact that a good vent, like a ridge vent at the peak of the roof, and then another one at the soffit kind of work together. Because air enters at the soffit, rides up underneath the roof sheathing, takes out moisture in the winter and heat in the summer and then exits at the ridge. That’s a real effective, 24-7 ventilation strategy for an attic. Those two things, I think, will do a lot more for you in terms of energy savings than a radiant barrier.
JIM: So I don’t need to wrap my house in aluminum foil.
TOM: No, no. Not at all.
JIM: Thank you very much.
TOM: The foil is good for baking a turkey and things like that but as far as your house, not so much.
JIM: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jim. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.