Proof Coop Insulation Does Nothing.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Chickens-246, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. Chickens-246

    Chickens-246 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2007
    I put a 16x8x1.5 piece of styrofoam (R6) firmly against the wall of my un-insulated chicken coop. What you are looking at below are photos from a thermal imaging camera. You may say that R6 is not enough, however a high grade house window is close to R4. Insulation just doesn't do anything with the necessary venting.

    In the first photo Sp4 is where the styrofoam is at (you can barely see the outline), Sp2 is just right of the styrofoam, 0.1°F (1/10th°) difference. Sp3 is the run door.

    If this is not obvious, this is the chicken door, you can see the heat seeping out, there are no seals on the door. Just to the right is the people door, which has a seal. You can see there is a small leak toward the top of the photo.

    Here is a couple of my chickens, look how well their feathers insulate their body.
  2. can you hear me now?

    can you hear me now? Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    That is awesome. Where did you get the thermal camera?
  3. Desert Rooster

    Desert Rooster El Gallo Del Desierto

    Sep 4, 2010
    Hesperia, Ca
    wow, looks like some high tech monster stalking your chickens, like from that movie PREDATOR
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Wow- they look toasty warm!
  5. Raen

    Raen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 3, 2010
    Thank you for posting this! Love the image of the cool bird feathers. I've been going back and forth on whether to insulate our new coop, and rather leaning toward not doing so because I couldn't see how it would really help with all the venting you need.
  6. kiwiegg

    kiwiegg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2009
    Did you insulate just one wall or all walls and ceiling? Is there green-board/drywall/cement board covering the insulation? I don't think a single piece of insulation put against one wall would provide any insulation either. I guess it would stop drafts on that wall though.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    [Insulation just doesn't do anything with the necessary venting.]

    Um I'm sorry but this is DEMONSTRABLY UNTRUE.

    What you are seeing is simply that your insulation isn't doing much AT CURRENT TEMPERATURES. And, no, of course it won't.

    When you start to see benefits of insulating the coop is when it gets really cold out. Then *if* your coop is designed to get some reasonable thermal boost from daytime temperatures, and/or if you have a bunch of chickens in a small coop, and/or if you are (as is popular) running some sort of heating appliance, and/or if it has ground mass providing a thermal subsidy for the first part of the winter... you usually DO see sometimes-substantial benefits of insulating. Yes, even with vents open.

    It is just SILLY to say it's pointless to both insulate and vent. Is it pointless to wear a winter coat if you leave it unzipped? [​IMG] All these old-style farmhouses with considerable "ventilation" in the form of drafty windows and gappy floorboards and all that -- is it pointless to insulate them? [​IMG] Of course not. Chicken coops are no different.

    The degree to which insulation helps you DOES depend on how smart your coop design is, and you can certainly rig things in a way to make insulation make relatively more or less difference... but that is true even with vents open.


    a) R6 is *not* enough in cold climates, which is exactly WHY in cold climates people try to minimize window area on their houses and draw insulated drapes over them whenever the sun is not shining thru the windows. Insulating a coop to R6 is not nothing but you can certainly do a lot better than that, to good benefit - standard fiberglass batting designed for a 2x4 stud wall is like R14 or so, IIRC. It does matter.

    b) all your pics show is that putting a piece of styrofoam against one part of one wall doesn't really make much difference, especially when the coop is essentially the same temp in an out ANYhow. It gives you no idea whatsoever how your coop temperatures would perform if the whole thing were insulated (even at THIS temperature, let alone any other temperatures).

    Sorry, but the info just has NOTHING to do with the thread title,

  8. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    Neat use of a thermal imaging camera, but wouldn't this be kind of like trying to use a picnic cooler but only having styrofoam on part of one side of the cooler and thin plywood on the other sides? Or trying to make a coffee cup with foam on a postage stamp size area and the rest made of punch cup clear plastic?

    Just saying....

  9. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2010
    Very cool... punn intended. I love the thermal immages of the chickens. But got to agree with the others the experiment has some flaws.

    Might be more meaningfull to take two simmilar chickens and build a couple mini coups/boxes (could be scaled to the flock size), insulate one and leave the other uninsulated. Then check the temperatures of both at different outside temperatures and maybe experiment with vent area too. COuld still use the camera though to look at the two boxes and chickens.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  10. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    very cool pics!

    I do have to include that I insulated with regular R13 covered with tarp (did not want to drywall the coop or spend $$ on wood to cover) and it is always 10 degrees F warmer in the coop vs outside the coop. And I have a lot of ventilation, may actually close up the one vent a little until the snow flies cause it is nice and dry in there.

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