Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes of energy waste in most homes. Insulation saves money and our nation's limited energy resources. It can also make your house more comfortable by helping to maintain a uniform temperature throughout the house. Walls, ceilings & floors will be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Insulation acts as a sound barrier, keeping noise levels down. But, before you start spending potentially thousands of dollars to insulate and air seal your home, we recommend starting with an energy audit
which is affordable and could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Audits are performed by BPI (Certified Building Analysts) that pinpoint exact problems and areas that need to be concentrated on saving you time and money.
Below are 5 areas for consideration that may help you save up to 30% on your energy bills.
Air leakage or infiltration, occurs when outside air enters a house randomly through cracks and openings. Properly air sealing such cracks and openings in your home can significantly reduce heating & cooling costs, improve building durability, and create healthier indoor environment.
Tips for locating air leaks in existing homes:
First, look at areas where different materials meet, such as between brick and wood siding, between foundation and walls, and between the chimney and siding. Also inspect around the following areas for any cracks and gaps that could cause air leaks:
- Door and window frames
- Mail chutes
- Electrical and gas service entrances
- Cable TV and phone lines
- Outdoor water faucets
- Dryer vent penetrates wall
- Brick, siding, stucco, and foundation
- Air conditioners
- Vents and fans
You can also try these steps to depressurize your home to help detect leaks:
- Turn off your furnace on a cool, very windy day.
- Shut all windows and doors.
- Turn on all exhaust fans that blow air outside, such as bathroom fans or stove vents.
- Light an incense stick and pass it around the edges of common leak sites. Wherever the smoke is sucked out of or blown into the room, there's a draft.
If you don't want to turn off your furnace, you can just turn on all your exhaust fans to depressurize your home.
Other air-leak detection methods include the following:
- Shining flashlight at night over all potential gaps while a partner observes the house from outside. Large cracks will show up as rays of light. Not a good way to detect small cracks.
- Shutting a door or window on a piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out without tearing it, you're losing energy
Approximately 40% of all air leaks are in your attic. Properly insulating & air sealing your attic will help reduce your energy bills. Attics are often one of the easiest places in a house to insulate. Our minimum recommendation is blown fiberglass insulation to bring your attic up to at least an R-38. For maximum results and to reduce energy costs up to 50%, closed cell spray foam should be applied to attics when HVAC units or air ducts are in attic spaces.
Proper insulation in basements is important because an un-insulated basement can account for as much as 25% heat loss. Whether your basement is unfinished and used for storage, or finished and used for living space, make sure that it is properly insulated with the right amount and kind of insulation.
A crawl space is an unfinished, accessible area below the first floor of a building. The main purpose of insulation is to enclose the living space in a thermal envelope. Therefore, if the space below the floor is unconditioned, either the floor or walls should be insulated. For maximum results and to reduce energy costs up to 50%, closed cell spray foam should be applied to crawls when HVAC units or air ducts are in crawl spaces.
Most homes built before 1970 have little or no wall insulation installed. We can insulate the walls in existing homes by drilling 1-2” holes either inside or outside depending on your home. Next, we spray or blow dry loose-fill insulation such as open-cell foam or fiberglass into the wall cavity. And finally, we insert wooden plugs in the drilled holes on homes with wood siding, allowing you to patch and paint as needed. In cases where holes are drilled inside through wall board or plaster you will need to have a professional drywall contractor repair the holes. In cases where holes are drilled through brick and/or joints from the outside, a qualified masonry contractor is recommended to make the repairs.