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December 18, 2007


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Finally, something to help warm up the master bathroom. The cement slab makes the floor pretty chilly.

Outside? That sounds a bit silly, most concrete blocks have air inside and (as we know from having storm windows) contained air is a pretty good insulator. I know I've used the "great stuff" and some scrap pieces of insulation from local construction sites to tighten up things around the foundation...

Whoa there Mr. Green, no savings here!

I've done many estimates for foundations that include insulation. There are only a few reason to insulate the exterior of a foundation slab, retaining wall, etc. and it doesn't have anything to do with saving money on energy cost. I'm a regular reader of family handyman and I'm disappointed with this recommendation that is at best suspect.

Yes - a friend's home had this. The problem is that it is not considered a "green" product.

It seems to me that a bigger source of heat loss would be the ground itself. If you have a slab foundation, aren't you feeding far more heat straight into the ground's heat sink than you are feeding into the air?

As a mechanical engineer that designs heating and cooling systems for a living, typical heat losses through foundation walls compared to the heat losses through the entire house are in the range of 2-7%, even lower if your house has foundation vents since the air inside the crawlspace would be the culprit instead of the walls themselves. So to expect to save 22% off your heating bills by adding more insulation to your foundation walls is a very deceitful selling tactic. I see so many of these deceitful sales practices in the name of energy savings.

Building Science has done research on the best insulation strategies for different homes in different climates. They do recommend foundation insulation in certain cases, mostly in new construction. See This site also has great information for building or remodeling any part of your home.

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