With fall season upon us, now's the time to make your home maintenance checklist to ensure your Chicago area home is prepared for the heating months. Include home insulation on your checklist with a star next to it, and you may avoid astronomical heating bills this winter and beyond.
Best Areas to Insulate
Home insulation is one of the most cost-effective system upgrades for maximizing home comfort, reducing the heating load on your furnace or boiler and keeping heating bills from going through the roof. The following areas in the home should be inspected for amount and quality of insulation, and upgraded to Energy Star recommended levels if necessary.
- Attic: Heat rises, and any deficiencies in attic insulation, such as inadequate amount, blown or damaged, will certainly be exploited by the movement of heat energy from the living spaces to the cold attic. Attic insulation in the Chicago area should be as high as R-60.
- Walls: For existing homes, inspect exterior wall cavities the best you can from the attic. Use loose-fill fiberglass or cellulose for finished walls. For do-it-yourself remodel projects with open walls, fiberglass batts are a cost-effective option. A professional installation option is blown-in insulation using a dense pack technique, which also provides sufficient air sealing.
- Floors: All floors above cold spaces, including unheated garages, need insulation. Before installing insulation, however, air sealing is required. Insulation is designed to block the movement of heat energy by conduction. Common types of insulation (fiberglass and cellulose) don't stop air leaks. Air sealing also prevents harmful chemicals and gases, such as auto emissions and VOCs, from entering the living spaces.
- Basement and crawl spaces: Different techniques are used to insulate the basement and crawl spaces. Concrete basement walls may be insulated with rigid foam board. An alternative to foam board is closed-cell spray polyurethane. Unventilated crawl spaces should be insulated similar to basements. Insulate foundation walls, rather than floor undersides. This technique keeps piping within the home’s envelope, too.
If you would like a professional evaluation of your home insulation, please contact a Comfort24-7.com to find a home comfort specialist near your Chicago home.