Tag Archives: houses

In Praise of…Insulation


Most of the time, I take the roof over my head for granted and without complaint.  Some would argue.  Some would say I spend quite a lot of my time griping about it’s various faults, lack of amenities and high-end finishes and so forth.  Some would be right; I do.  I would counter argue that for three seasons of the year, my griping is done rather benignly, even quietly.

Until winter.

In winter, my voice struggles to be heard over the whine and howl of the wind coming through our 1970’s era windows that were not installed properly then.  My voice shakes and quivers, not from shyness or fear but because it tends to do so when the rest of my body is shivering violently from the cold.  As it does.  Every winter, in this cute little house. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I adore my house in spite of its archaic windows, creaky floors, and bizarre 1980’s “renovations.”  I just adore it slightly less in winter because when the wind blows either off Lake Huron or Lake Ontario, it tends to blow nearly unimpeded through my living room.   If the wind is blowing, we can’t light candles.

Our house has insulation issues or more boldly put, it has none.  Put your hand on any wall (even the interior ones) and you’re likely to get frostbit.  I’ve been in houses where there is proper insulation; oddly, this doesn’t happen.  I’ve walked on floors barefoot in houses with insulation.  My toes don’t turn white and tingle. 

I watch, green with envy, those renovation shows where the walls have been taken down to the framing.  Standing in what looks like space suits are men wielding hoses.  Spewing in a rainbow of pinks, purples, and blues (depending on R-value?) is a frothy stream of foam insulation being sprayed between the studs.  I sigh heavily and wonder how wonderful it would be to have those little space men in my house.

I would be happy with one dude with jeans worn below where it’s decent and proper with one hose spewing pieces of cellulose insulation.  I’m told this wouldn’t require us to remove all the drywall in our house – they can just bore one or two holes and blow it into the walls.  Not as space-age and airtight as liquid foam but surely better than nothing.

My insulation dreams are all for naught…unless we come into some lottery money.  My kid needs braces.  Insulation is a luxury we cannot afford at the moment and so, I pull on another sweater and leave my fleece-lined boots on.  I reach for my headphones so I can’t hear the wind’s soft whistle through the walls.

[Note: to those reading who might take issue with my version of reality; I’m a writer and therefore, entitled to artistic license.  In other words, I tend to exxagerate, embellish, amplify, and even overstate, with unabashed gusto.  I know that the wind doesn’t really whistle through the walls…it’s more like a soft “whooshing” sound.]