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Insulation: It’s Boring but Necessary, Kinda like Math

July 7, 2010

by Ashley Akin

I keep running across articles about insulation and how it’s “vitally important” to have enough of it so energy isn’t constantly escaping from your house. And I just have to be honest: Insulation is BOR-ING. It’s like the fiber of the home improvement world: it’s ugly and prickly and frankly, I just wish my mother would stop talking about it like it’s the best thing to happen to her since SOAPNET started playing “her sto’ries” at night. But apparently,  it does something fabulous and magical for your insides, so we’re all just going to have to deal.

As I said in the title of this post, insulation is  like math, which I can no longer do without a calculator, an Excedrin and a case of Red Bull. (I’m Sorry Math. We used to have something, but I feel we’ve grown apart.  I promise it’s not you; it’s me. Satisfied? OK good. Now stop driving by my house at 4 a.m. blaring Peter Gabriel. It’s creeping out my neighbors and, more importantly, my dog.) Anywho, the point of this is the calculator: I’ve found a magical one online that can actually tell you what kind of insulation you need based on where you live. Nifty, eh? I think this Internet thing is really catching on. Thanks Al Gore!

Apparently there is this thinga-ma-jig called an “R-value” which indicates insulating power or thermal resistance. (When I type things like that, I feel like all those hours spent watching Home Improvement are really paying off. Like I’m Al Borland without the Yeti-beard and constant plaid. By the way, how annoying was Wilson?  All that smug half-faced, over-the-fence advice always made me wish Tim would accidentally drop a tree on his house.) Anyway, this website lets you plug in the first three digits of your zip code to determine the optimum R-value for your home. This site is also good, but a tad ugly for my taste – looking at my parents 1960’s wedding photos has cured me of liking the color yellow.

So there you have it. Once you get your magic numbers, you can make an insulation plan and either hire a professional or get to D.I.Y.-ing (which is “doing it yourself,” something I thought was a common phrase until my grandfather told me to “watch my mouth” when I said it the other day). And when you’re finished insulating, you can take your hot air balloon back to OZ and never think of such dull and dreary things again. Speaking of which, Auntie Em is sweet and all, but I’m gonna stay in the world where the streets are made of gold and everyone is allowed to wear fabulous red drag-queen shoes. And while we’re on that topic, here’s a clip from my favorite would-be drag queen, Agador Sparticus, from the Birdcage. Never have jorts and a Lucy Ricardo wig looked so good. “What are you afraid of my Guatamalan-ness?”

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