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Insulating Your Home

by beconrad

man on a ladder installing pieces of ceiling insulation

Increasing the amount of insulation in your home is one of the surest ways to reduce your energy usage. A poorly-insulated home gives air plenty of places to escape, making the interior hard to keep cool in summer and hard to heat in winter.

You can increase the effectiveness of additional insulation and reduce your home improvement budget by directing that extra insulation where it will do the most good. While insulation is important throughout your home, there are some areas where it will be even more effective.

The Attic

Attics are often poorly insulated, especially in older homes. Chances are, a lot of air is escaping through the uppermost story of your home. Adding insulation can reduce leakage and keep warm and cool air where it belongs.

Batt or loose fill insulation is typically the best choice for the attic. Loose fill is often less expensive than batt, but batt is easier to install since it comes on pre-sized rolls that are perfect for fitting between beams.

No matter which type of insulation you choose, be sure to seal up any noticeable air leaks and check your roof for any needed repairs. Now is the perfect time to examine your roof for leaks and make any necessary repairs.

The Ductwork

The ductwork in your home is another potential source of energy loss. Insulating around those ducts can prevent leakage and keep your home more comfortable. “Blow in loose fill” insulation is a great choice for sealing around ducts and keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Take time to check for air leaks along the pipes leading to and from your heating system. Wrapping those pipes and ducts can help your furnace operate more efficiently and let you save even more money.

Cathedral Ceilings

Cathedral ceilings are striking and beautiful, but not exactly energy efficient. If your home has cathedral ceilings, you will need to make sure that space is properly insulated. A well-insulated cathedral ceiling allows the temperature at the top of your home to stay as close to room temperature as possible, and that can reduce your heating and cooling bills.

If you have a typical cathedral ceiling of 2 x 12 rafters, that will give you space for standard 10-inch batts with an R-value of R-30. Foil-faced batt insulation is a particularly good choice for cathedral ceilings since it has a good permeability rating, which is important for homes without attics.

Be sure your home improvement plans include the installation of a vent baffle between the insulation itself and the roof docking. This will help to maintain the ventilation channel running through the cathedral ceiling.

High-density R-30 value batts are a good choice for cathedral ceiling insulation projects. These R-30 batts are just as thick as the R-25 versions, but they fit better into the standard 2 x 10 framing often used in modern cathedral ceilings.

You can also use rigid foam insulation under the rafters to add even more R-value to your project. If you do use rigid foam, be sure the material you use is covered with a fire-rated material.

The Exterior Walls

Adding insulation to the exterior walls of your home can reduce your energy usage significantly. Blow-in insulation is a good choice for existing homes because it is easy to add without disturbing the living space or disrupting your normal family life. If you are remodeling your home, you can use spray foam or wet spray cellulose insulation instead.


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