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Hay bales for insulation?


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#1 Miracle Whip

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:08 PM

Years ago I used to see a lot of houses with hay bales around them in the winter time. Course now most folks have newer homes and decent fiberglass insulation. I want to put some hay bales on the north side of my house this year because there is a crawl space under the kitchen and that room is frigid!! Will it do any good? I figure it wouldn't hurt and we found some hay that has been rained on that we can get cheap.

If I was rich I'd build me a tunnel out of hay to the woodpile, or beef up the windbreak...
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#2 lovesfortune

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:10 PM

Not so much hay around here as straw. I think it's cheaper and it is a good insulator. You are right, you don't see it as often, but you do see it. Worth a try!
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#3 vicklynn

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:11 PM

Now why didnt I think of that. Ive seen it done too. I should put some old straw crud around the NW side of the skirting.
Thanks for the idea MW!

#4 quest

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:13 PM

Hay would work, straw would probably be better, and cheaper. The guy I work for makes his dog a dog house out of straw bales for the winter because of the insulation

#5 WashingtonBay

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:14 PM

We do bank straw around the crawl space on the back side of the house to keep the pipes from freezing under the house.



#6 lovesfortune

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:16 PM

yep. my mother in law uses straw to insulate the dog house for the winter as well.
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#7 mare

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:21 PM

I've done it a couple times. Once in a cow camp and also the first fall at my own place before I could do the insulation the way I wanted, but didn't want to spend money on lesser material. It worked well enough for insulation. At the house, the kids left the gate from the corral open, though, and I had to re-stack it in a freezing sleet. Even though there was hay in the bunks for them...

At the cow camp I used oat straw. The mice, packrats and cottontails burrowed into it bad, but the house was tight and they didn't get in.

#8 Miracle Whip

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:47 PM

So maybe check for varmints periodically? We used to have a woodchuck that likes to get into the basement. WBAy, did your pipes ever freeze? Mine haven't, but the crawl space isn't huge and its next to the furnace and one side has the deck and bushes so only maybe 15 feet or so plus a chimney there that might give off some heat - It shouldn't take much hay to block the north side.

I wanted to put plastic on the outside of the windows but guess what - permanent siding - I can't. Thought I had wooden windowsills - not...

We are planning on building the dog an igloo this year out of hay too. She always runs to the hay shed every time she gets out...and digs in whatever hay she can find, all winter long. Yes we bring her inside when its cold, the cats too.
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#9 Miracle Whip

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:50 PM

There are 2 nurseries that are auctioning off their trees, bushes etc. One nursery here I think might be going out of business, and an auction house is bringing in some truckloads of shrubs. Check your local auction listings, if you want to plant trees etc. I have never seen trees auctioned before.
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#10 WashingtonBay

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:54 PM

WBAy, did your pipes ever freeze? Mine haven't, but the crawl space isn't huge and its next to the furnace and one side has the deck and bushes so only maybe 15 feet or so plus a chimney there that might give off some heat - It shouldn't take much hay to block the north side.


No - they haven't frozen, but I've always taken some precaution.



#11 Equine_Woman

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 10:41 PM

Hay would work, straw would probably be better, and cheaper. The guy I work for makes his dog a dog house out of straw bales for the winter because of the insulation



I did that for the dogs as well. (put a plywood board on top with more hay and it was like an insulated den all winter. Worked really well as long as you stake the bales. (for dogs that is)

For houses I don't see why it wouldn't work. However it might increase the fire risk. . .not sure.

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#12 oursarge

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 06:48 AM

We saw that done alot when we were in Vermont in the winter time. Our neighbors did it and the insurance co. found out about it and made them get rid of it, they said it was a fire hazard? They always put it around the bottom of their trailer and it worked, not sure how the ins. co. found out. It might depend on the co. since it seemed when we were in VT every old farm house had hay bales [or straw I don't know, they were bales] around the foundation and it was very obvious so if they had insurance their companies were OK with it since it was very obvious. Maybe it depends on the state too?




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