From blinds to draft dodgers, simple ways to improve your home insulation
Filed under: Air Quality, Attic, Budget-friendly, Doors, Energy Efficiency, Insulation, Windows
(ARA) – When the wind whips outside your home and temperatures plummet, you may start to think of your home’s insulation and wonder if it’s adequate. While many people equate the idea of insulation with staying warm in winter, did you know your home’s insulation can also help keep you cool in summer? And reduce your energy bills in any season?
There’s more to home insulation than just that layer of pink stuff in the attic. From weather stripping around doors and windows to the type of blinds you choose, your home’s insulation has many components, all of which can help you save energy when heating and cooling your home.
Sealing and insulating your home can save you up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs (up to 10 percent of a home’s total annual energy bill), according to EnergyStar.gov. Whether you’re fighting winter’s chill or trying to keep your cool in the summer, these energy saving tips will help improve your home’s overall insulation from roof to basement and reduce energy bills:
Take a look at the insulation in your attic. Fiberglass batting is the most common type of insulation used in attics and walls. To determine if you need more insulation in your attic, look at the attic floor, and if you can clearly see the attic floor joists because the insulation is level with them or below them, you probably need to add more insulation, according to EnergyStar.gov.
Adding fiberglass batting is a relatively easy job, well within the capabilities of most do-it-yourselfers. Just be sure that the batting fits snugly into wherever you’re placing it, without the need to compress it to make it fit.
Also, while you’re in the attic, take a look at the ducts for your forced-air heating and cooling system. Leaks and poorly sealed connections can allow 20 percent of the air that moves through the ducts to escape, EnergyStar.gov reports. While you may need a professional to seal ducts that are hidden in walls and floor spaces, you easily can seal exposed ducts yourself by using a duct sealant.
Poorly sealed windows can make your home drafty and uncomfortable. In fact, some estimates indicate your home may lose as much as 30 percent of its heating or cooling energy through leaky, drafty windows.
Sealing windows can be time consuming but not difficult. You’ll need caulk and weatherstripping to seal air leaks throughout your home. Weatherstripping materials include felt, foam, vinyl and metal. Whatever material you choose, be sure it will hold up well with friction, weather and temperature changes.
Another cost-effective, easy DIY way to improve your windows’ energy efficiency is to insulate them with the right kind of blinds or cell shades. Certain blinds and shades trap expensive heat in and block solar heat in the summer. Shades that are made from a single piece of material that can’t tilt open or closed are better insulators because heating and cooling can’t escape through the slats. Cell shades are an insulating option that isn’t just pretty, it’s also practical. The term “cell” describes each visible side pocket on a honeycomb shade, according to Blinds.com. The more cells in a shade, the more energy savings it will provide. The larger the cell size, the better the insulation since the cells trap air in the pockets, which helps prevent extreme temperature changes in your home.
Doors are also a potential energy drain for your home. Just as you caulk and seal windows, you need to ensure doors are well sealed and not drafty. In addition to weatherstripping, a door sweep, which you install on the bottom of a door to reduce drafts, can help conserve energy.
If you’re more of a crafts person than handyman, you can make an old-fashioned draft-dodger that lays along the floor at the bottom of a door and blocks drafts like a door sweep would.
Improving your home’s insulation can be an easy, cost-effective way to improve your home’s comfort all year round – and to reap significant savings on energy bills no matter what the season.