Questions & Answers

Questions and answers


Do you have questions about home insulation? Energy efficiency? Air sealing? HVAC Systems? Didn’t find the answers you’re looking for on our blog here at My Home Science? Here are some of our answers to some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions about home energy and performance. Drop us a line if you’ve got one we haven’t addressed yet.


What is the difference between pink and yellow fiberglass batts?

Some fiberglass insulation is yellow, while other fiberglass batts are white or pink. What’s the difference?   Manufacturers use different colors to “brand” their version of fiberglass batt insulation. Owens-Corning has trademarked its pink-tinted fiberglass. John Mansville produces fiberglass insulation that’s white and green. Yellow is another common color. The color is provided by the […]


How to improve insulation in existing wall cavities?

I can tell the walls of my house aren’t well insulated; they’re always cold in winter. How can I cut down on the heat loss?   Many houses have this problem. The fiberglass batt insulation used in wood-frame walls can’t stop energy losses due to air leakage through the wall assembly. Even when perfectly installed, […]

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Why are our energy bills higher than our neighbor’s?

A neighbor who lives in a house very similar to our house has lower electric and fuel bills. I can’t tell why I’m paying more than he is. What can I do to find out?    The best way to find out why your house has higher energy costs is to have an energy audit […]

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Programmable thermostats, but no significant savings this winter. What are we doing wrong?

Q. Our house has forced-air heating and AC, with two zones. We replaced our old thermostats with programmable models to save energy, but we haven’t seen any significant savings this winter. What are we doing wrong? A. Research has shown that programmable thermostats can cut your heating and cooling costs, but only when used correctly. […]

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Improve insulation or replace the furnace? Where to start?

  We live in an older house that isn’t well insulated. The furnace is old, too. Which problem do we deal with first?   It’s usually better NOT to replace the furnace before upgrading insulation levels. Recommended insulation levels for different parts of the house can be found at the ENERGY STAR® website. If you are […]

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What are other methods to insulate irregular stone basement walls?

We live in an old house that has a stone basement foundation. Because the wall surface is irregular, we can’t install rigid foam panels to insulate the basement. What other methods should we consider? If your aim is to finish the basement, a good approach would be to have a spray foam contractor apply a […]

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How much can I save by eliminating “phantom loads”?

I’ve read about phantom loads – how they waste energy and increase your electric bill. How much of a difference will it really make if I cut out some of the phantom loads at home? Phantom loads waste electricity by allowing electronic devices to consume power in “dormant” or standby mode. This unnecessary electricity use […]

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Should we switch to a tankless water heater?

We have to replace an old tank-type water heater. Should we switch to a tankless water heater?   Some experts contend that switching to a tankless water heater can cut your water heating costs by 40%. But this upgrade option isn’t always the best choice. Here’s why: First of all, a tankless or “demand” water […]

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Why does my gas furnace seem to be delivering less heat than it did when it was new?

Why does my gas furnace seem to be delivering less heat than it did when it was new?   There are many reasons for reduced furnace performance but a common cause is, in a word, dirt. When the furnace’s heat exchanger or blower wheel gets coated with dust, efficiency is reduced. In the case of […]

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Where should I begin to improve the insulation?

 My house is costly to heat and cool. Where should I begin to improve the insulation? As recommended by the action plan, the best place to add insulation hands-down is the attic. In winter, air that you’ve paid to heat finds its way to the attic by natural convection, literally forcing its way through […]

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