Unless your home was specifically built with energy efficiency in mind, you can probably put a dent in your energy bills by adding insulation. Older homes in particular stand to gain from adding insulation. The thick blanket helps prevent outdoor air infiltration, keeping conditioned air inside where it belongs. Depending on your home’s current condition and the amount of insulation you add, you can expect to recoup your investment in just a few years.
You have many types of insulation to choose from, including batts, loose-fill, rigid foam, and foam-in-place. Each has a particular purpose and works best in different situations. For example, batts work best between wall studs and floor joists built to code. Foam-in-place is better for insulating oddly shaped spaces and filling gaps around attic floor penetrations. A professional HVAC contractor can help you choose and install the insulation you need.
Deciding Where to Insulate
- Attic: In an existing home, the attic is the most accessible, cost-effective location to add insulation. As part of your home improvement project, you should also make any necessary roof repairs and seal penetrations in the attic floor. Then apply a thick layer of insulation to accomplish an R-value of R-30 or higher. This requires about 8 inches of cellulose or 11 inches of fiberglass.
- Ductwork: Leaky ducts are a huge source of energy waste in modern homes. Plug the leaks with duct mastic and then insulate any exposed duct runs with rigid foam insulation.
- Exterior walls: It’s possible to drill a hole in the siding and fill exterior wall cavities of existing homes with cellulose loose-fill insulation. The result is a blanket effect that keeps your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
- Cathedral ceiling: Building codes require cathedral ceilings to be built with space between the roof deck and the ceiling for adequate insulation and ventilation. Have a professional inspect the condition of your cathedral ceiling and consider installing high-density R-30 batts if the existing insulation is minimal.
For help selecting and installing insulation in your Chicago home, please contact the experts at Comfort24-7.com.