How to reduce your energy bills in the winter

Heating and cooling your home accounts for 50-70% of the energy used in an average size home. This means that losing hot or cold air adds up quickly and can make for a large waste of energy. There are options available that can help reduce or prevent this energy loss and make your home more “green.” One method of adding insulation to your home helps to reduce energy costs by lowering the amount of energy needed to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

A well insulated home can do much more than just reduce energy waste but also lower energy bills, stop air leaks and prevent mold or mildew. If you’re considering installing new insulation yourself or hiring a professional there are a few items to keep in mind; first, you need to know the scope of the project and the different types of insulations available and which type best suits your needs. It also is important to know how to install the different types of insulation and the pros and cons of doing it yourself vs. hiring a professional.

Do you need additional insulation?
You need to figure out if you have insulation in your attic. It is usually easy to tell if you do since it is usually loosely filled between your ceiling joists or exposed colored fiberglass. Next discover where the drafty places are and where the warm air may be leaking out. The majority of heat loss is through the top of the house and escapes through the roof if it is not properly or sufficiently insulated.

How much insulation do you need for your home?
This depends on your home’s R- value or the resistance to heat flow. This value depends on which region of the country you are in and which part of your home you want to insulate. The department of energy’s website can help you determine the R- value for your region.

Where to install insulation?
The best location to install insulation could depend on how old your home is. Since heat rises and cold air falls, heat is most often lost through the roof; so making sure you attic is well insulated is the first step. If you have an unfinished attic the insulation is usually installed on the floor and if it is a finished attic then it needs to be installed in the rafters.

When to hire a contractor?
If unfamiliar with insulation and the best type to install, it may be best to contact a professional contractor that can help to determine a problem area in the home or attic where additional insulation is needed. The attic can also be dangerous and might not have flooring or areas that are not easy to walk on with exposed wires or nails. An experienced installer will have no trouble navigating the attic and the ability to problem solve should a situation arise. The best contractor for the job is one that will perform high quality work in a reasonable time frame and get the job done right. It’s always best to double check and make sure that your installer also has all the necessary permits needed to complete this type of work.

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