Are your energy bills out of this world? Do you feel like you need to know how to lower your energy costs so you can keep more of your hard earned money? We can help! One of the most common culprits hidden behind a high energy bill is little to no insulation in a home. Heating and cooling account for as much as 50-70% of your energy bill, so it is very important that your home is working for you, not against you. When your heating and cooling units have to work overtime to keep a comfortable temperature in your home, it can cause your energy bill to spike to high levels.
Assessing your home for adequate insulation is a must for homeowners. It also may not always be that a home has no or little insulation installed. It could have plenty of insulation but have certain areas that were missed or have been disturbed over the years, depleting the thermal value. Unwanted cold or hot air has a way of finding its way into your home if it has a window of opportunity to get in. Naturally, warm air tries to flow to cooler areas. If your warm air escapes to the outside during the winter, it leaves your home cold and your heating unit needs to work harder to keep a comfortable temperature. During warm weather, the warm air outside tries to flow into the cool area: your home. This also causes your cooling unit to work overtime to keep your house at a cooler, more comfortable temperature. Lets look at a few ways that the air you are paying for can escape the home and unwanted air can enter. You will also find a few extra tips here for good measure.
One of the most common areas for unwanted air exchange is in the attic. Warm air rises, so during the winter its only natural that the warm air inside your home will try to navigate its way to the attic. Without proper attic insulation, it provides warm air the opportunity to escape through your ceiling. During the summer, heat is retained in the attic and will try to make its way to your home through the ceiling. Even if your attic is insulated, weak spots in your insulation from improper installation or insulation disturbance can cause a channel for air to escape. It’s important to have your attic space properly inspected and have insulation added after someone has been walking around in your attic insulation.
Insulating your walls provides a barrier between your home and the extreme outdoor temperatures. It serves in a similar way to wrapping yourself in a blanket during cold weather. If you leave a spot uncovered you can feel the coldness as heat escapes and cold air moves in. When insulating your home, you want it wrapped up tight! Properly insulated walls also reduce or eliminate the movement of cold air into your home on those cold, windy days. For an added layer of protection during construction, plastic sheathing can be added to the face of your wall to serve as a wind-breaker. This plastic sheathing can also protect your walls from acquiring moisture from cooking, bathing, or washing, which can contribute to mold and rot. Another benefit of insulating your walls is that it creates a sound barrier from loud noises coming from outside or within another area in the home. This is why some people and many businesses decide to add insulation to interior walls as well, especially around laundry rooms and bathrooms.
Cracks and Gaps
Another area that air often escapes is through cracks, gaps, and other leakage areas in your home. These can contribute to as much as 30% of your energy costs, depending on the size and scale of the leakage areas. These areas of leakage can be found at baseboards, ceilings, attic floor, windows, doors, ductwork, vents, penetrations, fans, electrical outlets, or holes in less accessible areas or inside cabinets and shelving. You can also find areas on the outside of your home like holes or cracks in the brick, area between the top of your foundation and bottom of your wood framing, exterior electrical outlets, attic doors, electrical panels, or any other area separating your interior from exterior.
Proper Attic Ventilation
One of the most overlooked but most important areas of concern is proper attic ventilation. As I said earlier, heat gathers in the attic, and when excess heat builds up it can cause problems not only with your energy bills but with your roof and structural members. Many homes are without proper attic ventilation, whether they are missing vents that allow airflow or vents are clogged from improper insulation practices. During the winter, warm air that flows from your home into a poorly ventilated attic moves gathers below the underside of the roof deck. This causes the bottom layer of snow on your roof to melt and drain down your roof. When it reaches the edge of the roof, the cold air causes it to freeze again. Over time, this creates an ice dam on the edge of your roof which prevents the melting water from draining off the roof. This causes the water to back up and freeze on your roof and can cause many issues and costly repairs. During the summer, excess heat can build up and escape to the interior of the home if the attic is poorly insulated. Excess heat buildup can also cause extreme temperatures in the attic and potentially warp your roof sheathing, potentially causing damage to your roof. Improper ventilation can also cause moisture to build up in the attic and create problems with mold and rot.
Our Expert Team
When you want to learn how to lower your energy costs in your Naperville or area home, our team can help evaluate your home and formulate a plan to make your home as energy efficient as possible. We know insulation and what it takes to cut down on energy costs. Reach out to one of our friendly staff members at LP Insulation of Naperville for a free consultation and quote to get started on your energy savings today!
For more information regarding insulation and energy savings, visit Energy.gov