How much can you save on Insulating your home
Saving energy means saving money. The more energy efficient you make your house, the more you will save. In addition to saving on utility bills, federal tax credits and rebates are also available for many qualified projects. The Fiscal Cliff Deal brought new tax credits for many energy efficient home improvements which will help in providing a quicker return on your investment.
Exactly how much you will save depends on where you live, the age of your home, and other factors. For most homes, the biggest impact in making your home more energy efficient usually starts in the attic.
A Recent HUD Study reveals that over 45% of a home’s wasted energy is lost in the attic.
And the EPA states that now there are over 80 million homes in the US that do not have sufficient attic insulation.
These are alarming statistics that we all should stand up and take notice of.
Air Sealing and Insulation
Heating and cooling costs make up more than half of the energy consumed in a single family home, so air sealing and adding insulation are two of the most important energy saving improvements you can make. Adding insulation will help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, while air sealing improves the efficiency of your insulation.
When to make a change
Consider air sealing and adding insulation if your home has humidity problems, excessive dust, or rooms that never seem to get comfortable. No matter how efficient your heating and cooling system is, if your home is not properly sealed and insulated, you will not be as comfortable as you could be and your system will have to work harder.
Air sealing and adding insulation will help you:
- Save energy
- Reduce utility costs
- Improve comfort
- Reduce noise
Sealing air leaks
Many air leaks and drafts are easy to feel — like those around windows and doors. But holes hidden in attics, basements, fireplaces, and crawlspaces are usually bigger problems. Sealing these leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a significant impact on improving your comfort and reducing utility bills. After any home sealing project, have a heating and cooling technician check to make sure that your combustion appliances (gas- or oil-fired furnace, water heater, and dryer) are venting properly.
Choosing the right insulation
There are several different types of insulation, which vary by the materials they are made from and how they are installed. Each type is rated according to its R-Value, or its ability to resist heat flow, with a high R-Value being a greater resistance. Proper installation is critical, as gaps will dramatically reduce effectiveness.
Batt or blanket insulation: Typically used in attics, between roof rafters, in wall cavities of wood-frame homes and between floor joists. This is the least expensive wall insulation material but requires careful installation. Batts generally come in lengths of four or eight feet. Blankets come in long rolls that are cut to the desired length for installation.
Loose fill insulation: Loose fibers or fiber pellets that are poured or blown into the space to be insulated. It generally costs more than batt insulation, but can fill small openings and reduce air leakage better. This is a convenient type of insulation to use in unfinished attics, especially if some insulation has already been installed.
Rigid board insulation: Fiberglass, polystyrene, or polyurethane insulation that comes in a variety of thicknesses and has a high insulating value. It’s commonly used for crawl space perimeters, concrete walls, flat roofs and exposed beam ceilings.
Spray foam insulation: As it is applied it expands into a solid plastic that fills all the open spaces. Commonly used for retrofits and good for irregularly shaped areas and around obstructions. Spray foam insulation should be applied by a professional using special equipment to meter, mix, and spray into place.
Where to Insulate
- Exterior walls
- Crawl spaces
Many types of insulation used before the 1980s contain asbestos, which, if disturbed, is a dangerous material. If you’re not sure whether insulation in your home contains asbestos, always consult a professional.