How Does Insulation Affect My Home’s Heating and Cooling Bills?

Undoubtedly, the colder months bring all sorts of fun - festive holidays, snowfalls, and cozy winter nights. However, one thing that’s not so fun is increased energy bills. Like water from a leaky facet, your home might be leaking cool or warm air. Even after turning heaters or air conditioners on for a couple of hours, you will still not be able to maintain comfortable temperatures in your house. 

Most probably, the reason behind your high energy bills is your under-insulated house.  Poor insulation can often be an expensive problem with cheap solutions if taken care of immediately. If not, the mild leak will eventually turn into a hazard, along with soaring energy bills.

According to the Department of energy, more than 50% of your house’s energy bill is spent on cooling and heating. So, that’s why your energy bills dramatically increase in the colder and hotter months of the year. However, investing in insulation can help keep your energy costs manageable. 

What is Home Insulation?

It aims to accomplish the same goal - to reduce the transfer of heat into or out of your house. If you plan to invest in new insulation, you will see different insulation materials available in the market, such as fiberglass, spray foam, cellulose, etc. 

Also, there are various methods of installing new insulation such as loose-fill, spray-foam, insulation batts, etc. For choosing the right insulation for your house, you need to consider the weather conditions of your area, R-value, and many other factors. 

How Does Insulation Work?

In simple words, insulation works by trapping tiny pockets of air to limit heat transfer. By doing this, your house will stay cool in the summers and warm in the winters. The efficiency of insulation material depends on its R-value. The higher is the R-value, the higher its performance will be. 

Do You Need to Install New Insulation?

According to many reports, more than 50% of houses are under-insulated, so the chances are high that your home is also one of them. If your house was built in the 1970’s or earlier, it is high time to consider replacing your insulation. Even if your home was built anytime before 2000, you can likely greatly benefit from new insulation. Many industry experts even recommend replacing your attic insulation every 15-20 years!

The best way to determine if your insulation is worth replacement is to check the R-value of your existing insulation. Compare the R-value to the Department of energy’s recommendations for your location. 

Here are some of the physical signs of poor insulation that you must look out for:

  • Does the temperature of your house vary from room to room?
  • Are your energy costs increasing dramatically?
  • Are icicles hanging from your rooftop, especially in the ice-cold temperatures?
  • Does your house have an unusual smell even after it has been thoroughly cleaned? The real culprit could be your current home insulation!

How Can Insulation Affect Your House’s Heating and Cooling Costs?

When temperatures are ice cold outside, you may notice ice dams or icicles forming on your rooftop or ceiling. It is a clear sign that new attic insulation is needed.  When the new insulation is installed properly in the areas subjected more to the heat transfer, such as attics, flooring, walls, etc., heat transfer is limited to a great extent. 

The new insulation will act as a barrier between you and the outside world. During winter, your attic will be colder, which will absorb heat from the rooms below that you have been heating for so long. 

Also, in summer, the principle will be reversed with the attic becoming hot and transferring heat inwards. However, with a properly insulated attic, the heat transfer between the interior and exterior will be significantly reduced.

So, you no longer have to depend on your heating and cooling appliances to maintain comfortable temperatures in your home, reducing your energy costs significantly. What else can any homeowner wish for?

Once you have installed new insulation in your house, you may not notice the change immediately. However, you can compare your new power bills with the previous ones to see any considerable difference. 

Another way to determine the difference is by paying attention to the performance of your heating and cooling systems. Check whether they are running more than usual or not. It can indicate if these systems are working at their peak efficiency. 

Also, it is worth keeping in mind that there are different types of insulation materials available in the market, each with its pros and cons and suitable for different climates or budgets. So, if you want your insulation to do its job perfectly, choose the insulation material with a higher R-value.  The higher the R-value, the greater resistance it will offer to heat transfer.

New Insulation Costs Vs. Energy Savings 

Most of the time, homeowners avoid replacing their old insulation because it is not an urgent home maintenance item like a broken HVAC unit. Sometimes, unaware of its importance in keeping your house warm or cold, they think it is unnecessary. Depending on your geography, investing in additional new attic insulation can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 or more. If you remove the old insulation, either due to animal contamination or mold, it will be more. However, through lower energy bills and a greater home value, it is only a matter of time before it pays itself off.

A well-insulated house will keep your body temperature regulated during the summer heat and winter’s bite. While every home and situation is very different due to the many factors involved, homeowners frequently save 15-25% on their energy bills after adding insulation to their attic. Investing in new attic insulation is a one-time investment, but it will help you save on your monthly energy costs for years to come. Another benefit to new insulation is that it will increase the market value of your house. Insufficient attic insulation is impossible to hide from home inspectors, which will flag it in their buyer’s report.

Where to Install Insulation in Your House?

Even if you choose the best insulation material, it will not work efficiently if you install it in the wrong areas of your house. So, it is better to conduct an energy audit of your house as it will give you the best idea of where to focus your insulation upgrades.

However, if your house was built in the 1970’s or earlier, it is highly recommended that you considering removing your old attic insulation since there is a good chance that it is contaminated by dust, mold, and / or rodent fecal droppings.

When installing new insulation in your house, you must start from the attic. Attics are subjected to heat more than any other place in your house. Also, you will have to insulate the walls, crawlspaces, basements, and floor joists to protect the living spaces below. 

Also, insulation might not work efficiently if there are any cracks, holes, or gaps left. So, it is better to seal all the cracks and holes in attics, around windows, or door frames.

Is Upgrading Your Insulation Worth It? 

Most homeowners might be wondering by now if upgrading your insulation is worth it? It is an improvement that will pay off well in the future. You must take you time to analyze all of the benefits of a properly sealed and insulated home.

While reducing your power bills is perhaps one of the greatest benefits of insulation, there are many other benefits of insulation removal and replacement as well. Some of them are:

  • Insulation will help you prevent the excess moisture and condensation that can build up in your house.
  • Insulation will help reduce the noise levels, giving your house a sound-proof effect.
  • Insulation will increase the market value of your house.
  • Insulation will be an added safety precaution for you, your loved ones, and of course, your house.
  • Insulation will help reduce the emission of harmful pollutants.

Conclusion:

Winter is approaching, and you will be relying on your heating systems to keep a comfortable temperature in your house. If your house is poorly insulated, your heating systems will have to work much harder than usual to keep the surroundings warm. If that is the case, your heating systems will get overloaded and will consume more energy.  It eventually will result in increased energy bills. However, upgrading your insulation can help you a lot to save money on your energy costs. If you have noticed that your energy bills are steadily climbing, despite no change in energy consumption, you need to check the condition of your house insulation. If it has completely deteriorated, you must consider getting rid of your old insulation and replacing it with new insulation. Not only will it help reduce your energy bills but also maximize your return on investment. 

So, are you ready to take the first steps towards an energy-efficient house? Get your house insulated by the best insulation professionals - Critter Stop.  We have the best insulation experts in our team to take care of all your insulation needs. Whether you want to get rid of your old insulation or install a new one, we are ready to help!  We have helped many homeowners in insulating their homes properly. We aim to help homeowners increase their comfort, decrease their energy bills and, of course, prolong the life of their homes. Your well-insulated house is one call away!

How Attic Insulation Affects Energy Bills

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