Upgrading Your Home’s Insulation Can Save Significantly on Energy Costs
When properly installed, insulation does an impressive job saving energy costs. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy & Renewable Energy reports you can save, on average, up to 200 percent on your home’s heating and cooling costs by adding insulation in attics, floors, crawl spaces, and basement rim joists, and reducing air leaks around the house.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration says cutting home heating and cooling costs is also earth-friendly, since more than 51 percent of a home’s energy use is for heating and air conditioning. Plus, insulation reduces noise, keeps out pests, waterproofs the structure, and minimizes air filtration.
There are a variety of insulation types. Blanket comes either as continuous rolls or pre-cut panels called batts, and it’s perhaps the most common type of insulation in U.S. homes. Loose Fill insulation can conform to any space without disturbing structures or finishes. Sprayed or foamed-in-place can fill even the smallest cavities.
Rigid Foam Boards are 4-by-8-foot panels that can be used in walls, ceilings, floors, and basements, where they also keep moisture from condensing on walls. Wraps are used to wrap the entire house, and reflective is most effective in reducing downward heat flow. Radiant Barrier is especially useful in hot, sunny climates where it helps keep homes cooler.
R-Values insulation works by reducing the amount of heat that flows between the inside and outside of your home. The ability of an insulation material to reduce heat flow is called its R-value. The higher the R-value, the more the heat flow is reduced. When upgrading your insulation, have a certified contractor evaluate your home’s current R-value and recommend whether additional R-value is needed, what types of insulation are appropriate, and where insulation should be added. For example, to attics, crawl spaces, and walls.