Today's 'Ask This Old House' was all insulation all the time. Callers checked in to ask about insulating bricks in row sides, cooling buildings without AC, and why heating and cooling mechanisms shouldn't be above the insulated second floors.
If you're trying to stay cool (or find the 'hot' new thing) with your construction, look back to a different era and make sure to buy a house with an overhang, Tom Silvasays. "If you go back to the 30s, 40s, and 50s, you'd buy a house with a long overhang to stay cool in the summer and hot in the winter," but, he adds wistfully, "people don't look at it that way any more." Richard Trethewey adds "we fundamentally forgot everything the prairie architects learned."
Something you shouldn't forget? "Insulation is so important, and so many people want to cut on insulation because it's something they don't see. They spend money on windows and baseboards," Silva says. Trethewey sighs, "it's an ongoing mantra we have to teach people, insulate, insulate, and then ventilate." But, he later adds, "if you insulate you need to think about out gassing." By upping your insulation game, you need to make sure you're venting stale or moist air out.
If you're at that level, Silva also suggests you consider whether you have vented beneath your siding. "I always put a matrix under my siding so you have a bed of air under your siding which releases any moisture that should get though, and makes sure the paint lasts longer," Silva explains sighing. Everybody forgets about sidewall flashing."
What happens if there is no way to blow insulation into your ceilings or walls? Silva suggests "you could dense pack the roof, and the tubing with cellulose, but "what you need to watch out for, is frozen gutters."
>>For more handy info from This Old House, including a disturbing tidbit about Jared Bowen's shower, click on the link above.