Did You Know You Can Over-Insulate?

Last night, I start to worry that our home is too drafty.  No matter how insulated the house is, it still seems that freezing air seeps into the house by doorways and windows. 

But then I learn that too much insulation destroys air quality. A draft allows outside air to circulate in the house, freshen things up, and keep air quality healthy.  Often in the winter, folks seal up their homes too much.  Residents get sick, and they experience a build up of toxic air.  Who knew that one could over-insulate?  You can!  When you block air flow, you also create moisture traps that lead to mold and rot.  Healthy houses have regular fresh air flow, even during the winter. 

I fling wide the back door and let the night air flow in.  It’s uncomfortable.  

But it’s healthy.  

I realize that some amount of drafty living guarantees a healthy mind.  I don’t want to over-insulate my heart and mind from whatever remains outside my routines, my particular philosophy of living, or even my community.  I want to remain open to new practices, new ideas, and new friendships even when they make me uncomfortable.  I learn and grow in the presence of difference; I find that my mind, faith, and neighborhood grow stronger when I don’t over-insulate. 

Living with flair means I open wide the door and make a new friend, read a new book, or try a new routine.  I let fresh things circulate to keep me healthy.    

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  1. Very interesting. The previous owner of our house had insulated the roof and rafters – apparently a huge no-no, for the reasons you mention. My husband spent hours tearing the insulation off the roof.

    And what a good analogy to our hearts and everyday lives! I'm really enjoying your posts.

  2. So many office buildings are way too well sealed for healthy work/living. I love your opening both your back door and heart. I feel better now with my less than well insulated house :).

  3. You can also insolate your heart. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. You can close up your heart, or prepare it for someone who has closed theirs up.

  4. Yep. That's why I have a convertible. I'm a fan of open windows–in my house, in my mind, in my relationships, in my heart!

  5. A good reminder not to get stuck in a comfortable but suffocating life, to liven things up – even if it's in small ways only, or small ways at first. Good advice.

  6. Funny, I was just thinking about this yesterday. We live in a very old house with a fireplace, and the air sweeps through like a broom and out the chimney. I like this, because it helps keep our parrot alive in case any smoke from the fireplace comes into the room – it never gets back to where he is. Nice analogy for keeping our minds and spaces clear. Thanks!