Why Home Insulation Is Important Year-Round

Reader Contribution by Paul Kazlov and Global Home Improvement
article image

Just picture it: You’re sitting at home and you feel a cool breeze — only it’s winter time and you realize your home is poorly insulated. Home insulation is no longer an opportunity to increase your home’s energy efficiency; it’s imperative. If you are like most of the homeowners who are concerned about the escalating heating and cooling costs, insulating your home is the best way to go.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, approximately 48 percent of the energy is used toward either heating or cooling a home. However, with the proper insulation, you can save anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent on heating and cooling, while upgrading the comfort and quality of your living space. Here are a few steps you can take to insulate your home properly and reap the cost-saving benefits year-round:

Educate Yourself about the Importance of Home Insulation

Insulating your home is one of the most effective strategies for anyone interested in conserving energy, becoming more environmentally conscious, and saving some money. As Emmy Nelson, CEO of Home Management Service, shares, homeowners are spending too much on their energy bills.

While there’s little you can do to control your HVAC system, a well-insulated home will put a stop to excessive heat transfer, which means that it would prevent heat from entering the house in summer, and escaping in winter. To do that, Nelson recommends homeowners to pay particular attention to the attic, the ceiling, the basement, and other areas that is most susceptible to air leakage.

Identify Leakage Points in Your Home

While inspecting your home, one thing you need to determine is the R-values in different parts of your home. According to EnergyStar, the “R-Value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the R-Value the better the thermal performance of the insulation.”

You can figure that out personally by getting advice from your state energy office and utility. However, homeowners can also hire a professional energy auditor to use special equipment to identify air leaks, areas lacking insulation, and malfunctioning equipment.

Perform a Quick DIY Seal Up

Air leakage takes a big toll on your wallet. For a quick DIY, The U.S. Department of Energy recommends homeowners to caulk and weatherstrip leaky doors and windows, while using “foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places.” Meanwhile, single-pane windows can be covered with storm windows, or better yet, be replaced with the more efficient, double-pane, low-emissivity windows.

According to the Do It Yourself website, “insulation should be installed in any barrier (wall or ceiling) the stands between cold air and warmer air or unheated spaces and hated spaces.” If possible, homeowners can also pour loose fill between ceiling joist and fit foam boards in between new construction wall studs.

Plan Your Budget for a Thorough Insulation

Homeowners who are thinking about getting professional help or pursue a more advanced DIY insulation project carefully plan their budget and develop a tentative timeline for the project. When it comes to insulating big areas in your home, the attic is the best place to start.

According to HouseLogic, “adding insulation there is quick, easy, and cost-effective … In the Northeast, for example, upgrading attic insulation from R-11 to R-49 would cost around $1,500 if you hire a pro — half as much if you do it yourself — and, depending on the type of heat you have, save about $600.” After you’ve got that covered, you should insulate your basement or floor to save yourself as much as 30% in energy loss.

Home insulation is an efficient way to save more money and live more comfortably. For a more comprehensive home insulation plan, check out Energy.gov’s Where to Insulate a Home. You’ll find a list of places you need to insulate as well as tips and recommendations for getting the job done.

Photo by gmcgill/Fotolia

Paul Kazlov is a metal roofing expert and has grown Global Home Improvement to be the Mid-Atlantic’s largest installer of residential metal roofing, saving the everyday homeowner money on energy costs. He has installed more than 1,000 metal roofs and more than 2 million square feet of standing seam, metal slate, and metal tile, helping the Philadelphia-New Jersey-New York area. Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulKazlov, and read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.