A home that is not properly insulated will not only feel drafty, but it will also have some pretty hefty heating and cooling bills. If you suspect your home is under insulated, it may behoove you to do your own homeowner insulation inspection. There are several areas that are fairly easy to inspect. The insulation pros at A+ Insulation will walk you through the basics so that you can do your own insulation inspection.
From the Top: Inspect Your Attic
The attic is hands down the most important place in your home to ensure you have adequate insulation. In the winter, warm air rises and can escape through a poorly insulated or sealed attic at alarming rates.
Homes can lose as much as 20% of their energy through a poorly insulated attic.
Considering that the average U.S. family spends almost $2,000 a year on heating and cooling bills, that 20% is about $400 that could be in your bank account instead. When inspecting, you want to make sure that there is plenty of insulation in your attic. If you can see the ceiling joists, you don’t have enough insulation or your old insulation has settled over time. Attics should have at least 12 inches of insulation, but 15-20 inches is even better.
Do you know the R-value of the insulation in your attic? The R-value will let you know exactly how well insulated your attic is. The higher the R-Value, the more effective it is at blocking heat. In the Midwest, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends an R-value of between R-38 and R-60.
Make sure that the entrance to your attic is well-sealed without any gaps. Put weather-stripping on the edges of your attic door/hatch to keep more of your heated air down in your home. Don’t forget to check the inside of the attic door/hatch, to ensure it is well-insulated, too. Many homeowners overlook this and heat escapes right through it!
Wall to Wall Insulated Comfort
Most homeowners know the walls of their home should be insulated, but don’t know how to ensure their walls are effectively insulated. Wall cavities should be filled to capacity. It’s hard to tell just by looking, but you can remove an outlet and peek behind it. Here in Kansas City, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends insulation with a value between R-13 and R-15 for walls and cavities. For a wall evaluation, it’s best to call a home insulation expert like A+ Insulation and get an assessment. We can use an infrared camera to get a good look at the amount of insulation behind your walls.
Another approach is to look for spots in your home where there is exposed insulation. Check that insulation for an R-rating, then check with your local hardware store to make sure that this is the right type of insulation for your area. If you find that it’s inadequate, there are spray-in insulation solutions that work well to up your home’s insulation, without a huge remodeling project.
Consider a Home Energy Evaluation
If you do nothing else, consider calling an insulation professional to provide you with a home energy evaluation. They will be able to tell you where you can make the changes that will affect your bills the most. Adding insulation usually pays off in 5-6 years, so don’t put it off. The sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll start saving on energy bills!