If your home was built prior to 1980, before energy awareness home building, chances are it does not have enough insulation. Updating your home to current standards can reduce your heating and cooling bills up to 50% and make your home more comfortable year round. There is no need to freeze during winter and overheat during summer, constantly adjusting your thermostat to meet your needs. By updating your home insulation you can be confident your home temperature and monthly bill will be consistent. The project can take as little as 3 days and save you anywhere from $100-$600 on your annual heating and cooling bills. Below are a few things you should consider before starting your insulation project.
Types of Insulation
Each type of insulation comes with a R- value per inch label, which measures the resistance of heat transfer. The larger the number, the more efficient the insulation. In general, the more insulation you add, the more money you can save. There is however a point beyond which you can spend more on materials than you will regain in lower energy bills. That point varies depending on location of your home. We recommend consulting the Department of Energy for zip code specific information on amount of insulation needed for your area.
The attic is the ideal place to begin your insulation project. Increasing or adding insulation there is easy, quick and cost- effective. Your first step is to seal any air leaks. Then you can upgrade your current R- rating insulation and start saving energy and money. If this is a DIY project, blanket material is easiest to work with. If you are hiring a contractor, you will pay a professional to blow in material at about $1 a square foot. DIY will cost about half as much, but keep in mind no matter which method you choose, federal tax credits of up to $500 are available. Either way, you will see a return in your investment within a few months on your energy bill.
When adding insulation to your walls, the first step is to check if there is some already present. To check, cut the power to the closest outlets on your exterior wall, and then unscrew to look behind the cover plates. If your walls are currently insulated you most likely can’t add more without tearing into the plaster or drywall. It will not be cost effective to increase the existing insulation unless you are remodeling. Therefore, we recommend waiting until you need to replace the siding. Then you can easily add insulating sheathing underneath it.
Basement/ Crawl Spaces Insulation
Although hot air rises, homes lose heat in all directions. We have discussed insulation the top and sides of your house, but you also need to insulate the bottom where as much as 30% of energy lost can develop. Though floor insulation is more common, you may instead want to insulate the walls of your basement as it is more affordable. It takes about a third less material to insulate the walls as it does to insulate the subfloor above.