Jack Frost has already made his appearance in Hampton Roads, and it looks like he will make a habit of hanging around.
“Now is the time you will really be able to feel it if you need to upgrade or add insulation,” said Steve Lyon, owner of Ace Home Improvements. “Some houses are so bad; you can feel a draft in the house as the warm air gets sucked out.”
Adding insulation to your home is one of the most common and cost-effective ways of saving energy, reducing heating and cooling bills, providing sound control, as well as keeping your home at the desired temperature, according to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association.
Now is the time to take inventory of your insulation. Lyon suggested looking for three things: Do you have insulation where you need it, was it installed properly, and do you need new or additional insulation?
“Some people think their crawl spaces and attics have the insulation they need, only to find out there isn’t any or it doesn’t cover the needed areas,” Lyon said. “It’s a good idea to check to make sure.”
The checklist starts in the crawl space, if your house has one. Check to see if the crawl space has insulation at all. Next, make sure it is intact and hasn’t been pulled down by animals or compromised by moisture.
“It is a myth that you don’t need insulation in your crawl space,” said John Kuchta, owner of EcofoamUSA, which offers a spray foam insulation and barrier compared to the typical fiber glass option. “Having your crawl space insulated will help keep your house warm in the winter. If it is not there, the attic will suck out the warm air, and it will be replaced with the cold air from the crawl space.”
Kuchta said the foam-based insulation works excellent for crawl spaces because it won’t fall down, isn’t as attractive to animals, is waterproof and helps soundproof the home. The cost of the foam insulation spray is about two times the amount of fiberglass, Kuchta said, however, is helps reduce the amount of energy usage by up to 20 percent.
Next on the list is the attic. A solid layer of insulation should cover the area between the house and the roof line but not cover vents or soffits. This insulation will not only keep your house warm, it will help prolong the life of your roofing shingles, Lyon said.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, other areas of the home that should have insulation include duct work, cathedral ceilings, basements and around unheated garages.
“Other usual suspects where insulation can gap are doors and windows,” Kuchta said. “Check for drafts, cracks or if light is shining through where it shouldn’t.”
Sometimes, adding caulk or weather stripping to doors and windows might fix the problem. However, in more extreme cases, replacing doors or windows might be necessary.
“Age isn’t always the determining factor,” Lyon said about windows and doors. “Gaps and cracks can cause leaks even in new windows.”
Whether installing weather stripping or putting in new attic insulation, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions.
Staci Dennis, email@example.com