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June 18, 2018  |  Login
When and What to Insulate in Your Home
By Eric Corey Freed

There is almost nothing you can do that will have as big of an impact on your home energy bills as insulation. Insulation is the ability of your home to store temperature. Just as your coat can hold in your body temperature on a cold day, insulation holds in the temperature of your house. And just as the thick walls of your freezer hold in the cold, so can insulation hold in your air conditioning. The more insulation you have, the better it works, and the lower your heating and cooling bills.

You spend a lot of money to heat your home. Hot air rises and leaks out of your home through the walls and every crack and crevice. The walls, floors, and ceilings are the biggest sources of leaking in a home.

Each year the amount of energy lost through uninsulated homes in the United States is equivalent to the amount of fuel delivered through the Alaska Pipeline. The costs of adding insulation to your home will pay for itself in a matter of months in a mild climate and in just weeks in a severe climate.

When to Insulate Your Existing Home

For a new house, you should add as much insulation as will fit into the walls. Adding insulation to finished walls is much more difficult.

If any of the following is true about your home, then you should consider insulating your home:
Your home was built before 1981.

You have a room that is too hot in summer or too cold in winter.

Your heating and cooling bills are too high.

You have sound issues from neighbors or other outside noise.

You’re remodeling. (A remodel will be the easiest and best chance you have to add insulation to your existing home.)

The key to insulation is making sure it’s installed properly. Make sure the insulation is not compressed, especially on the edges and around wiring. Make sure it’s in contact with the wall or ceiling — even small gaps will have a massive impact on the insulation’s effectiveness.

Other Areas to Insulate

Insulation doesn’t just go in the walls. Be sure to include insulation in these areas, too:
Attic: Be sure to insulate the floor and roof of your attic.

  • Crawl space: An average of 80 percent of the air in a moldy, dank, cold crawl space will end up in your house. Insulate the floor to prevent this.
  • Foundation: More than half of your heat leaks out of the edges of your foundation slab. Insulate the edges prior to erecting the walls.
  • Hot water pipes: Adding insulation wrap to the hot water pipes is simple to do and especially important for pipes in crawl spaces.

Types of Insulation

The effectiveness of insulation is measured in terms of the R-value, which is its thermal resistance. The higher the R-value, the greater the effectiveness of the insulation. more



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