Top Navigation  
U.S. Flag waving
Office Hours Momday - Friday  8 am - 5 pm Pacific 1-800-835-2418
Facebook   YouTube   Twitter
 Home Page
 Current Issue
 Article Index
 Author Index
 Previous Issues

 Kindle Subscriptions
 Kindle Publications
 Back Issues
 Discount Books
 All Specials
 Classified Ad

 Web Site Ads
 Magazine Ads

 BHM Forum
 Contact Us/
 Change of Address

Forum / Chat
 Forum/Chat Info
 Lost Password
 Write For BHM

Link to BHM

Get Powered Up! Certified Energy Manager Jeff Yago answers your alternative energy questions

Wondering about a great new energy-saving device
you found on the Internet? Then CLICK HERE!

Sorry. Jeff no longer answers questions online.
This will remain as a searchable
resource for all BHM website visitors.

Archive for the ‘Insulation’ Category


Blown Insulation

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Dear Jeff;

I have a 14 year old double wide trailer. The insulation in the ceiling was to suppose to be 12″ blown in. While having a metal roof installed I was able to place my hand inside the roof vents. There was only about 1″ laying in there.

I would like to have this re-done. I have been told that there is a type of blown insulation with a glue content added. This is supposed to keep it from settling.

What are your suggestions or comments about this type of insulation?


Bill Constantine

Sounds like you have several issues to deal with. First, most of the trailers and RV’s I have had experience had at most about 3″ of insulation in the attics and walls, so if you were told yours would have 12″ I would say that was an option and you should have documentation that you paid extra for this. If that is true, I would be calling the dealer and demanding to have them pay to re-insulate since you clearly did not get what was advertised or told you would get.

My second concern is space. When we build a conventional house there is either an attic space or large roof trusses that create a space above the ceiling for wiring, ductwork, and insulation. There is always some kind of attic trap door to allow access to this area which usually has several feet of space for repairs, which makes it easy to blow in more insulation if needed. However, all of the trailer-type construction I have seen had only a few inches of access space above the ceiling which would make it impossible to access for adding more insulation. Although double-wide construction should follow more traditional home construction methods, I would not be surprised if there is limited space above the ceiling to access. This may make it very difficult to add more insulation unless added holes are installed to reach areas not near access doors or vents.

Most of the blown-in insulation for attics is “fluffed” by the blower before it goes down the pipe and into the attic so I have not heard that there is a need to add a “glue” to this. They do add water to blown in cellulose insulation for walls which makes it “stick” between the studs and dry before the drywall is added, but I have not heard of anyone doing this for attic insulation. What I would be more concerned about is getting good and uniform insulation coverage over the entire ceiling area, and for that I think you will need a professional installer. I would ask how they will guarantee to reach all areas in this confined space and you can say you are going to rent a thermal scanner the next winter to scan the ceiling for cold areas that may not be properly insulated, which should convince the installer to take extra care. As the say, out of sight, out of mind.

Good luck,

Jeff Yago


Foam insulation

Thursday, February 19th, 2009


My 1928 stucco frame house has I believe no insulation in the walls. I do have blown insulation in the attic. I’ve done some research on installing expandable foam in the walls so as not to have to remove the interior plaster walls. It’s going to be expensive and the payback is about 6-7 years. Any comments on the foam issue?



Yes, older homes are a real problem to heat, but on any home the most heat loss is usually out the roof and air infiltration.  Wall heat losses are far less if you can seal up all the cracks around windows, doors, wall outlets, and anywhere else the wind blows.  In other words, I would first put the most money in insulation for the attic and sealing all the cracks.  We did tons of computer energy modeling that showed it made sense to install thermal windows in new construction, but the high cost to retrofit them in an existing older home with many other problems was not worth the high cost.

As far as spray in foam insulation, its a great insulator, but if not done right, you can get voids if the mixture is too little, and you can blow off the siding if the mixture is too much.  They also have to drill lots of holes around the exterior walls and I am not sure how well those can be patched to look good after.

Good luck,

Jeff Yago


Insulated with packing peanuts and getting 220VAC from a truck

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Hi Jeff:

Have been reading your articles for years. Especially liked the one about reducing loads that just eat you to death.

I have been pointing out to people for years that their phone chargers use electricity whether the phone is connected or not. They are incredulous. So for years I have been shopping for a power bar, (multiple outlets), that has a separate switch for each outlet. Seems to me like the perfect set up for families with multiple phones, tooth brushes, etc that all need charging. It doesn’t exist, so I intend to make one, one of these days.

At any rate, I have a couple questions to ask.

1) Could styrofoam packing peanuts be scattered in an attic to make insulation? I hate working with fibreglass.  Seems like we get them all the time, and out they go in the trash. And what about the wheat paste version?

2) Awhile back, a fellow came to our house to steam clean a couple carpets. His cleaner machine was 240 VAC powered. Instead of waiting for me to open the garage to plug into the Arc welder outlet, he had a simple solution.  He had twin extension cords to plug in around the house until he found two that were on the separate sides of the sine wave, and went to work.

So I was wondering, if I took a couple automobile-type inverters and hooked them up to my truck, could I get 220/240 by hooking  both neutrals together in an adaptor? Or do the waves have to be coordinated? I was just hoping I could use my arc welder anywhere I could drive.


Glenn Willis


Good questions!

1.  You are not the first who wanted to insulate with these “peanuts”. The problem is these are not all the same materials and many are polystyrene, which is extremely flammable and will give off very toxic gasses when it burns.  Others are made from bio-degradable materials which can break down when damp or with time.  Since you are planning to do this over time, this means you will be collecting many different packing materials even if they are all peanuts.  Due to the danger of getting the highly flammable materials, I would not recommend this.  If you want to check this out, take a few samples outside and light with a match and you will see, but do not breathe the gasses given off so stay upwind!

2.  The power from the grid into your house has each “phase” of the 240 VAC power in phase, regardless of which outlets you use, as long as one is wired to each phase.  However, when you have 2 different inverters, there is no way for one to know what the other is doing, so taking the output from each separately will have the differences between the phases changing all over the place. Not only will you not hold 240 VAC, but you could actually damage your connected load because the resulting voltage will be changing over 60 times per second.  However, many high end inverters now include a communications cable that allows each inverter to time its output with the correct timing and phasing in reference to the other inverter so you can get a true 240 VAC output.

I doubt if your lower cost automobile inverters will have this timing capability.

Good luck!

Jeff Yago



Copyright © 1998 - Present by Backwoods Home Magazine. All Rights Reserved.