THE INSULATING VALUE OF SNOW

Harald_Sohlberg_-_Street_in_Røros_in_Winter_-_Google_Art_Project

[PD] wikimedia

There’s a silver lining to the six feet of snow that have dropped on our heads these past few weeks: It’s free insulation.

In fact, I shovel mine right up against the house. I guess I learned this from my mom, who each winter would circle the crumbling foundation of our derelict farmhouse shoveling snow against the walls.

Snow has a substantial R Value (insulating power), averaging 1 R per inch. Fiberglass and cellulose insulations are only in the 3-to-4 range. Bazillions of animals and plants have evolved to use only snow insulation to survive the winter.

A bazillion plants and animals and my mother can’t be wrong. If you have a leaky basement, as many of us do, because Maine has the most ancient and decrepit housing stock in the nation, you might be concerned about your snow insulation ending up on your cellar floor. That could totally happen.

1: So what?

2: The next time it’s physically feasible, bank the earth around your foundation so that melting snow, rain, and cat pee will roll away from your basement.

 

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