Checking your home’s insulating system is one of the fastest and most cost efficient ways to use a whole house approach to reduce energy waste and maximize your energy dollars. A good insulating system includes a combination of products and construction techniques that provide a home with thermal performance, protect it against air infiltration, and control moisture. You can increase the comfort of your home while reducing your heating and cooling needs by up to 30% by investing just a few hundred dollars in proper insulation and weatherization products.
Consider factors such as your climate, building design, and budget when selecting insulation R-value for your home.
Use higher density insulation, such as rigid foam boards, in cathedral ceilings and on exterior walls.
Ventilation plays a large role in providing moisture control and reducing summer cooling bills. Install attic vents to help make sure that there is one inch of ventilation space between the insulation and roof shingles. Attic vents can be installed along the entire ceiling cavity to help ensure proper airflow from the soffit to the attic, helping to make a home more comfortable and energy efficient.
Do not block vents with insulation, and keep insulation at least 3 inches away from recessed lighting fixtures or other heat producing equipment unless it is marked “I.C.” – designed for direct insulation contact.
The easiest and most cost effective way to insulate your home is to add insulation in the attic. To find out if you have enough attic insulation, measure the thickness of insulation. If there is less than R-19 (6 inches of fiber glass or rock wool or 5 inches of cellulose) you could probably benefit by adding more. Most homes should have between R-19 and R-49 insulation in the attic.
If your attic has ample insulation and your home still feels drafty and cold in the winter or too warm in the summer, chances are you need to add insulation to the exterior walls as well. This is a more expensive measure that usually requires a contractor, but it may be worth the cost if you live in a very hot or cold climate.
Warm air leaking into your home during the summer and out of your home during the winter can waste a substantial portion of your energy dollars. One of the quickest dollar-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal, and weather strip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside. You can save 10% or more on your energy bill by reducing the air leaks in your home.
Sources of Air Leaks in Your Home
1. Dropped Ceiling
2. Recessed light
3. Attic entrance
4. Electric wires & box
5. Plumbing utilities & penetration
6. Water & furnace flues
7. All ducts
8. Door sashes & frames
9. Chimney penetration
10. Warm air register
11. Window sashes & frames
12. Baseboards, coves, interior trim
13. Plumbing access panel
14. Electrical outlets & switches
15. Light fixtures