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Insulating your home is a vital part of your quest for energy efficiency. While you can definitely invest in a programmable thermostat, robust metal roofing, and energy efficient windows, making sure that your home is insulated can keep your house cool in summer and warm in winter without any major renovations. According to Energy.gov, “Insulation in your home provides resistance to heat flow. The more heat flow resistance your insulation provides, the lower your heating and cooling costs. Properly insulating your home not only reduces heating and cooling costs, but also improves comfort.” It can reduce half of your heating and cooling energy and effectively patch up that leaky hole in your wallet.
As much as we try to be home energy efficiency gurus, there are just certain things you can’t see with your naked eye. An energy auditor not only examines your house room-by-room, but also evaluates those hard-to-get-to places (like under the deck) to give you a comprehensive evaluation.
Furthermore, an energy auditor has professional tools such as a thermograph, which is an infrared scanning device used to detect thermal defects and air leakage in building envelopes. As Energy.gov points out, an energy assessment takes the guesswork out of your hand and replaces it with practical feedback to help you save as much as 30% in energy bills.
Doors and windows may serve as a great entry point as far as sunlight and fresh air are concerned. However, improper house sealing can cause your cool air to leak out of the house, making your AC to work harder than ever. Once you test your windows and doors for air tightness, you can caulk and weather-strip leaky doors and windows. To make sure that your new caulking will be effective, it’s important to apply a caulk softener to your old caulking 2 hours before its removal to prevent any damage to your foundation and ensure the new caulk adheres.
DIY Network recommends homeowners to caulk at a 45-degree angle, smooth out the calk with a wet finger, and give it 12 to 15 hours to dry. According to House Logic, caulking is a great way to seal up openings that are less than 1/4-inch wide, saving roughly a third of your family’s annual heating and cooling budget
Insulating the walls around your house is all about making your living space more comfortable and economical year-round. The process is not that daunting either. All you need is a utility knife, a straightedge, and a little patience.
When choosing your insulation materials, Energy.gov suggests homeowners to use foam sheathing rather than wood sheathing products. This is because foam sheathing provides “a continuous layer of insulation, which reduces thermal bridging through wood studs, saving energy and improving comfort.”
Insulation is a top to bottom, inside and out job. From your attic to your crawl space, and from the walls to the basement, there are always ways to close the gaps and avoid unwanted air infiltration and leakage. As a general tip, start with the easy, accessible areas of your house and work your way up to a more complex insulation project.
Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Global Home Improvement blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov.
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