Consider factors such as your climate, building design, and budget when selecting insulation R-value for your home.
Use higher density insulation, such as rigid foam boards, in cathedral ceilings and on exterior walls.
Ventilation plays a large role in providing moisture control and reducing summer cooling bills. Install attic vents to help make sure that there is one inch of ventilation space between the insulation and roof shingles. Attic vents can be installed along the entire ceiling cavity to help ensure proper airflow from the soffit to the attic, helping to make a home more comfortable and energy efficient.
Do not block vents with insulation, and keep insulation at least 3 inches away from recessed lighting fixtures or other heat-producing equipment unless it is marked "I.C." designed for direct insulation contact.
As specified on the product packaging, follow the product instructions on installation and wear the proper protective gear when installing insulation.
The easiest and most cost-effective way to insulate your home is to add insulation in the attic. To find out if you have enough attic insulation, measure the thickness of insulation. If there is less than R-19 (6 inches of fiber glass or rock wool or 5 inches of cellulose) you could probably benefit by adding more. Most U.S. homes should have between R-19 and R-49 insulation in the attic.
If your attic has ample insulation and your home still feels drafty and cold in the winter or too warm in the summer, chances are you need to add insulation to the exterior walls as well. This is a more expensive measure that usually requires a contractor, but it may be worth the cost if you live in a very hot or cold climate.
For new construction or home additions, R-19 insulation for exterior walls is recommended for most of the country. To meet this recommendation, most homes and additions constructed with 2 x 4 walls require a combination of wall cavity insulation, such as batts, and insulating sheathing, such as rigid foam boards. You may want to consider building with 2 x 6 framing instead of 2 x 4 framing to allow room for thicker wall cavity insulation R-19 to R-21.
When shopping for insulation watch for the ENERGY STAR® label and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) certification.
Warm air leaking into your home during the summer and out of your home during the winter can waste a substantial portion of your energy dollars. One of the quickest dollar-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal, and weatherstrip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside. You can save 10% or more on your energy bill by reducing the air leaks in your home.
Sources of Air Leaks in Your Home Areas that leak air into and out of your home cost you lots of money. Check the culprit areas listed here:
- Dropped Ceiling
- Recessed light
- Attic entrance
- Electric wires & box
- Plumbing utilities & penetration
- Water & furnace flues
- All ducts
- Door sashes & frames
- Chimney penetration
- Warm air register
- Window sashes & frames
- Baseboards, coves, interior trim
- Plumbing access panel
- Electrical outlets & switches
- Light fixtures
First, test your home for air tightness. On a windy day, hold a lit incense stick next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weatherstripping.
Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
Install rubber gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls.
Look for dirty spots in your insulation, which often indicate holes where air leaks into and out of your house. You can seal the holes by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes and caulking the edges of the plastic.
Install storm windows over single-pane windows. Storm windows as much as double the R-value of single-pane windows and they can help reduce drafts, water condensation, and frost formation. As a less costly and less permanent alternative, you can use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Remember, the plastic must be sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue damper tightly closed. A chimney is designed specifically for smoke to escape, so until you close it, warm air escapes 24 hours a day!
For new construction, reduce exterior wall leaks by either installing house wrap, taping the joints of exterior sheathing, or comprehensively caulking and sealing the exterior walls.
How Does Air Escape?
Air infiltrates in and out of your home through every hole, nook, and cranny. About one third of this air infiltrates through openings in your ceilings, walls, and floors.
We would like to thank The Consumer Information Center for the above information. Please visit their website at www.pueblo.gsa.gov