Evaluate Insulation in your home and make the right choice for type and quantity of insulation. It will produce energy savings and comfortable living.
Adding Insulation to an Existing Home
Unless your home was specially constructed for energy efficiency, you can usually reduce your energy bills by adding more. Many older homes have less than homes built today, but adding more to a newer home may also pay for itself within a few years.
To determine whether you should add more, you first need to find out how much you already have in your home and where.
A qualified home energy auditor will include a check as a routine part of a whole house energy audit. An energy audit will also help identify areas of your home that are in need of air sealing. (Before you do any insulating, you should make sure that your home is properly air sealed.) You can also perform a simple step by step energy audit with
Energy Audits made Easy. A step by Step Guide
If you don't want to pay for an energy audit, you need to find out the following when you perform your own audit:
• Where your home is or isn't "insulated" and where it should have been Insulated
• What type of Insulating/Material you have
• The R-value and the thickness or depth (inches) you have.
If you live in a newer house, you can probably find out this information from the builder. If you live in an older house, you'll need to inspect the areas that require evaluation. The step by step audit program will take you through these locations.
Inspecting and Evaluating
Check the attic, walls and floors adjacent to an unheated space, like a garage or basement. The structural elements are usually exposed in these areas, which makes it easy to see what type of insulators you have and to measure the depth or thickness (inches).
* Inspect the exterior walls using an electrical outlet:
1. Turn off the power to the outlet.
2. Remove the outlet cover and shine a flashlight into the crack around the outlet box. You should be able to see if there is insulators in the wall and possibly how thick they are.
3. Pull out a small amount of insulating/material if needed to help determine the type.
4. Check outlets on the first and upper floors, if any, and in old and new parts of a house. Just because you find insulation in one wall doesn't mean that it's everywhere in the house.
* Inspect and measure the thickness (inches)of in unfinished basement ceilings and walls, or above crawl spaces. If the crawl space isn't ventilated, it may have insulation in the perimeter wall. If your house is relatively new, it may have been built with some type of insulator outside the basement or foundation walls. If so, it will not be visible in these spaces. The builder or the original homeowner might be able to tell you if exterior insulators were used.
* Once you've determined the type you have in these areas and its thickness (inches), see the U.S. Department of Energy's Online-Insulation-Fact-Sheet for how to determine the R-values previously installed in your home.
Insulation-Charts for the right choice
Determining Recommended R-Values
When you find out the current R-values either from an energy audit, the home builder, or your own inspection, you can then use the U.S. Department of Energy's Zip-Code-Insulation-Program to determine how much you should add and where to achieve the recommended insulation-levels for maximum energy-efficiency.
Estimating Costs and Payback
The Zip-Code-Insulation-Program provides cost estimates and a rate of return on your investment. Also see our information on estimating the payback period.
Deciding What Type of to add
If you decide to add-insulation to your home, review our information on the types available to help you decide which is best for your specific needs.
Once you do the review and implement your energy saving ideas you will be ready to install free energy producing systems which can reduce your remaing energy costs to Zero. Good choices for alternative energy can be found at:
Free Energy with Magnetic Generators
Alternative Energy Sources: Solar and Wind made Easy