Layers upon layers: How insulation can help you save
The thing about heat is that it just loves to run wild. Which can be a real problem when you’re trying to keep heat out of your house during the summer, in your house during the winter, or in your water heater or pipes.
Chances are that you know exactly where you want heat to be in your home. The problem is getting it to stay put. And that’s where insulation comes in. The beauty of insulating materials is that they don’t actually give off any energy—they just stop heat from running rampant in the first place.
That’s good news for your energy bill no matter the season. Here are a few ways you can add insulation right now to help keep that heat right where you want it.
Seal up your ceiling
The spot in your home most vulnerable to runaway heat isn’t your windows or your doors—it’s actually your ceiling. As you look for places to add insulation, we recommend using expandable foam to fill up the biggest cracks and gaps in your ceiling. Look especially for gaps around can lighting, pipes, light fixtures, and other cut-outs. Filling these spots helps keep comfy, conditioned air inside your home, while keeping the much too hot (or much too cold) air outside where it belongs.
Insulate your water heater
Your water heater—and the pipes that connect to it—are constantly radiating heat. And that actually leads to two different problems: First, it makes it more expensive to keep the water in the water heater hot. But second, that lost heat is now running loose in your home, which could mean your HVAC has to run harder to compensate.
Testing to see if you need extra insulation is simple: Touch your water heater to see if it’s noticeably warm. If it is, add an insulating blanket by carefully following the directions. If it’s not, your heater is already sufficiently insulated, so there’s no need to add more.
Insulating your attic
Attic insulation is one of the best ways to guard against home heat loss. But how do you know when you’ve got enough?
ENERGY STAR® has the answer. Check out their video below to learn how you can “rule” your attic:
The next two targets for your insulating efforts should be your air ducts and your home’s walls. Air ducts should be insulated because they’re filled with the air you’ve paid to heat or cool. If your ducts run through the attic, it’s especially important that those ducts in particular are air sealed and well insulated. Fortunately, they’re usually pretty easy to visually inspect if you can access them.
Wall insulation is a little harder to check for, but most Energy Advisors can perform an assessment, using an infrared camera to check on the insulation levels and see how well it’s working. You can even find affordable infrared cameras for your smart phone, if you’d like to try it out yourself!
If you’re wondering how else your home might be vulnerable to runaway heat or other energy losses, contact your Energy Advisor to schedule a free home energy assessment.