Q. The gas company advises an insulation blanket for the water heater. Are such blankets safe and effective and where may we obtain one? * Would plastic dropcloths laid over the attic ceiling joists be of some insulation value? Mildew has appeared for the past couple of years on some of the inside walls during rainy weather. In the 40 years in which we have lived in California, we have never had mildew before. Would the attic dropcloths prevent the mildew? Since we are tenants in this three-bedroom house, we don't want to put a lot of money into it. A California reader
A. The gas company is on the right track in recommending the additional insulation of water heaters. Insulation blankets are indeed safe and are available at hardware and lumber stores at a modest price.
* Plastic sheets laid on the ceiling joists would very likely be counterproductive by increasing the humidity and mildew below while affording only negligible insulation value in the house.
The recent excess rainfall in California has caused many a complaint from long-time residents who now are experiencing mildew problems.
Properly installed attic insulation would prevent or minimize interior mildew and provide more comfort for the inhabitants.
Discuss the attic insulation with your landlord. Would he be willing to pay for the insulation himself? Or would he only share the expense with you? Could he furnish the material and then ask you to install it?
Your utility bill will undoutedly drop, however, if you do decide to install more insulation.