When you are trying to reduce energy use it’s a good idea to increase insulation. Even if your home already has insulation, there could still be ways to add more or increase the efficiency. If you want to know which home insulation improvements you’re most likely to notice on your electric bill then keep reading.
Audit Before You Insulate
As the Department of Energy suggests, it doesn’t hurt to start with a home energy audit. This will tell you where your insulation is adequate and where it can use improvement. The audit is great at helping you prioritize improvements, especially if you’re insulating on a budget.
Check Out the Attic First
Did you know that the attic is where most heat loss occurs in a home? That’s why adequate attic insulation is an energy efficiency essential. If there’s no insulation then that’s a clear indication it’s needed. But even if you have attic insulation it still night not be enough.
A rule of thumb is that the insulation should be up to the top of the rafters. You could also go one step further by using spray foam insulation to fill in gaps and corners. The Department of Energy has a handy Home Energy Saver tool to help you figure out how much insulation you need.
Upping the R-Value
You may have insulation in your attic, but what is the R-value? R-value indicates how well insulation keeps the heat in or out. The higher the R-value is the more insulation it provides.
R-value is partially based on the thickness of the insulation. What the insulation it’s made of and density also make a difference. R-value is per inch. So if you’re aiming for an R-value of 50 using insulation with an R-value of 5 you need 10 inches of insulation. But if the R-value of the insulation is 10 per inch you’d only need 5 inches of insulation.
Placing Insulation Over the Attic Door
The square opening to the attic isn’t that big, but it can allow a lot of cold and hot air to seep inside a home. When you add insulation in the attic make sure to affix insulation to the door as well.
Add Insulation Around Pipes
Heating up water drives up electric bills, especially in the winter. You don’t have to settle for increased energy use when it’s cold out. Insulating the pipes helps decrease the workload since the water inside is up to 4 degrees warmer. Focus efforts on insulating pipes in the basement, garage and exterior of the home.
Insulate Around Long Ducts
When the air leaves your furnace it’s nice and warm. As it travels through the ductwork it can become cooler providing less heat once it reaches the living spaces. One easy fix is to add insulation around long ducts. These long stretches are where the most heat is lost. First patch up any air leaks in the ducts before adding the insulation.
Insulate in Crawl Spaces
If your home is built in a pier and beam system you may have noticed that the floors are cold even when the heater is on. It’s often an energy efficiency problem in older homes. Cold air underneath the home can make the house feel cooler inside. But if you have access to the crawl space you can add insulation to make it feel warmer.
However, don’t make the mistake of thinking you just need to focus on the underside of the floors. Use rigid foam board around the walls of the foundation to keep the cold out.
Go the Extra Mile With Insulated Electrical Plates
If you’ve already insulated the attic and are looking for other ways to up the insulation factor take inventory of the electrical plates on the walls. There are insulated outlet plates and switch plates that seal up the tiny cracks in the walls that let cold and hot air from outside seep inside. It might not seem like much, but each insulated plate adds up. All you have to do is switch out the old plates with insulated plates and add a little spray foam to eliminate heat loss.
Make your energy payments more predictable with a fixed rate electricity plan from Provider Power. With a fixed rate plan it’s easy to know when home improvements have a positive impact on your bill. See which plans are currently available in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.