Can you Save Money By Insulating Your Home?
As winter brings in the colder temperatures, it’s tempting to turn up your thermostat to take the chill off quickly. If you live in an area that has cold winters or even just periodic cold temperatures, a well-insulated home will help you stay warm and cozy.
Every year at this time, energy bills begin going up due to more heat being used. It is estimated that at least 49% of your home’s energy bill is due to heating and cooling. If you have a digital thermostat it should keep the temperatures consistent and keep the bills low as well. If your home isn’t staying warm enough, you may need more attic insulation.
A properly insulated home is a key to keeping your home cozy and your energy bill manageable. How can something as simple as attic insulation lower your energy bills?
What is Home Insulation?
Insulation in its many forms (spray-in foam, blown-in insulation, rolls of batting, and more) is meant to reduce heat transfer through walls and windows in your attic. The amount of protection from the cold it offers depends on its “R” rating. The higher the number is, the better it works. Insulation has a dual purpose, it blocks out the cold air in winter, and keeps out the heat in summer to keep you cool.
How Does Insulation Work?
Insulation blocks the small gaps and holes that let the heat escape through the roof. It is rolled out in layers and placed inside walls, under floors, and in other areas that are known for being cold or drafty. Properly applied insulation creates a barrier from moisture and cold air.
How Often Should insulation Be Replaced?
If your home has insulation, it doesn’t need to be replaced, but it may need more. It is estimated that nearly 90% of single-family homes in the U.S aren’t insulated as well as they could be. That means your home could be under-insulated and need more. Some homes built before the 1960s probably aren’t insulated at all. The best fix for this is to look at your existing insulation. Compare the “R” value to what the U.S. Department of Energy recommends.
Signs Your House May Be Poorly Insulated
- Increased energy bills
- Temperatures fluctuate from room to room?
- Icicles on your rooftop
- Pipes freeze occasionally
- Ice dams in your rain gutters
Does the temperature vary from one room to another? Inconsistent heating is one common sign of inadequate insulation. If your energy bills are rising, but your house isn’t staying warm, adding more insulation may be the key to solving your problem.
For an overall picture of how your home uses energy, you can request a home energy audit to see where you can improve. An energy assessment includes an insulation check. If you don’t have enough, it’s easy to fix that.
How Can I Save Money By Adding Insulation?
It may seem hard to understand how spending more money can help you save money. Don’t think of it as spending money, you’re investing in your home and its ability to keep you comfortable in winter and summer. The natural healing and cooling you get by having insulation will allow you to turn down your thermostat. Your heating and cooling units will run less frequently, resulting in lower energy bills. While an insulation upgrade may cost you $1,000 – $2,000 upfront investment, it will quickly pay for itself in lower utility bills.
Homeowners can save an average of 15% on their heating and cooling costs by adding insulation to their attics, basement joists, and crawlspaces. That is a saving of $200 per year.
Another reason to insulate your home, besides the energy savings, is that a well-insulated home often garners a higher market value. You can get an instant ROI after adding fiberglass insulation in your attic. You also may be offered some tax incentives as well.
Where to Install Insulation in Your Home
The first place to start would be by conducting an energy audit of your home. This should give you an idea of where you need more insulation. And if you have an older home built before 1960, you should probably start in the attic and work your way down.
The common places to install insulation are walls, floors, and unheated spaces like a garage or crawlspace. Be sure to check your weather stripping and replace it if needed. Seal drafts around windows with caulk, and use sealant foam for large gaps and cracks around doors, windows, or piping.
Should You Upgrade Your Insulation?
It is definitely worth it to upgrade your insulation if you are under-insulated. It will help your home stay warmer, you can set your thermostat to a lower temperature, and watch your energy bills go down as well. You’ll be using less energy and reducing your carbon footprint, so it’s a win-win situation.