It’s often not thought of—hidden behind walls, under the floor, in the ceiling or in hard to reach places. Yet, it can provide one of the largest returns on investment of any home improvement project. It’s insulation, and it comes in many different types, shapes and sizes. Despite the variations, it can provide your home with the efficiency and overall savings you as a homeowner desire. If you’re in the position to improve your house with new or upgraded insulation, there are some key tips to keep in mind.
Consider external factors. When selecting the type of insulation you’ll be using during your home improvement project, be sure to consider some key factors before making a purchase or selecting a contractor. Some of these factors include your climate, your home’s design and your overall budget. These, among others, can impact your initial decision making process greatly.
Check the R-value. The R-value, or the insulation’s thermal resistance measurement, could have a significant impact on your selection or design decisions. Certain insulation with a high R-value, such as spray foam, can allow you to get more insulation with less overall thickness. This can be extremely valuable for external walls or cathedral ceilings, for example.
Avoid fire hazards. When installing insulation, it’s always important to ensure the insulation is far enough away from lighting fixtures, typically recessed lighting. One exception is fixtures with an IC (insulation contact) rating. If you are unsure about any safety issues during insulation installation, be sure to consult a professional.
Ensure proper airflow. Improperly installed insulation can cause poor air flow and moisture problems in the home. In particular, making sure airflow is maximized in high moisture areas such as attics is extremely important. Proper ventilation in your attic can also reduce expensive cooling bills during the warm summer months. It’s important, however, to not ventilate attics with insulation on the underside of the roof, as that can result in a great deal of wasted energy.
Insulate all appropriate areas of the home. Knowing where your house loses the most energy is important knowledge to have prior to any insulation home improvement project. Ensuring proper insulation in all appropriate areas of your home can lead to huge energy savings and comfort. Attics, basements, walls, floors and crawlspaces should all have good insulation. A professional home energy assessment is a great way determine your home’s individual needs.
As mentioned above, insulation can bring a huge amount of value to your home’s overall energy efficiency. This is especially true now, as there are many incentive and rebate programs in our area that can bring a great deal of savings (both short and long term) to this type of project. Organizations such as Snohomish County Public Utility District, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and Community Power Works are offering big rebates for insulation projects. We’ll address each individually in a follow up post to our home energy blog shortly. If you’d like to learn more about insulation and the benefits it can bring your home, please feel free to speak with a professional at BelRed. We’ll help you determine if insulation should be the next item on your home improvement checklist.