Since winter is fast approaching, it’s a good idea to start thinking about how to improve the insulation in your home. Here’s why: The effects of poor insulation will not only make your home cold and drafty, they’ll hurt your wallet.
Fortunately, there are many simple and affordable ways to improve the insulation or airtightness of your home, enhance the thermal comfort of your living space, and help keep more of your hard-earned money where it belongs: in your bank account.
It’s important to keep your HVAC system (furnace, boiler, heat pump, etc.) in optimal condition. A broken HVAC system can cause your home to become just as frigid on the inside as it is on the outside. This holds true even if your home is adequately insulated and sealed.
To ensure proper HVAC performance in the winter, we suggest you:
- Hire an HVAC service company to perform a pre-winter tuneup, identify any potential problem areas, and make sure your system is ready to go for the winter season.
- Stay up to date with your regular maintenance such as changing air filters, gently vacuuming in and around your heating equipment with a soft-bristled brush and keeping the area around your heating system clean and free of obstructions.
Since air can leak into or out of your home through the windows, making sure they’re properly sealed is a crucial step in preparing your home for winter. To do so, follow these steps.
Find The Leaks
On a cold or windy day, use the back of your hand to feel around the frame of each window and identify where the leaks are located. You can also use the smoke from an incense stick. Light the incense stick, and slowly move it along the frame of all of your windows to see where a draft may be coming in.
Fix The Leaks
If you find a leak, caulking is the cheapest and easiest fix. Use caulking to seal around the exterior perimeter of the leaky windows and seal any cracks between the interior trim and the wall.
Another way to improve the thermal performance of your windows is to change out your lightweight curtains for some that are heavier and specifically designed for thermal insulation.
Sealing an exterior door is one of the simplest ways you can improve the insulation of your home. Here are some tips to help you out.
- Use long pieces of weather stripping to eliminate the gap between the door and side jambs.
- Install a door sweep to block cold air from entering the bottom of your door.
Insulating The Attic
Hot air naturally rises. Therefore, if your home’s attic doesn’t have sufficient insulation, a large percentage of the heat in your home will simply go up and out through your attic. The good news is that you can add insulation in your attic and enjoy the subsequent savings year after year. The most common types of insulation added to attics include loose fill or batt rolls.
Loose Fill Insulation
If you opt for loose fill insulation, you can either rent a machine from your local home improvement store to blow the insulation up into your attic, or, pour the packaged bags of insulation in your attic and spread them around manually.
Batt insulation works best if your attic has standard joist spacing and there are only a few obstructions to work around. When you install this type of insulation, make sure it’s facing the conditioned space below.
Be sure to avoid placing insulation directly against chimneys, flues from gas-fired appliances, or lights in the ceiling that are not rated for contact with insulation, as doing so can create a fire hazard.
Should You Hire A Pro Or Should You DIY?
Improving your home’s insulation for winter can be a daunting task, especially if you’re a new DIY-er. However, if you’re up for the challenge and want to save some money, do your research, consult your local home improvement store, and watch some videos online.
If you’re unsure of where to begin, have no desire to crawl around in your attic, or simply want the peace of mind of knowing the work is being performed correctly, you may be better off calling a pro.
What questions do you have about winter insulation? Let us know in the comments below!
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