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insulation and air sealing

Insulation: Not always your only solution to save on fuel bills

Thursday, September 29th, 2016 by Stefanie Howlett

“Gee, if I add more insulation or even better, have my contractor install more, I will save money on my energy bills. Right?” Not necessarily.

First, there is a science to proper insulation and many times more is not always better. Second, adding more insulation will help but the key to saving measurable amounts of energy is to incorporate air sealing with your insulation jobs.

Air sealing is the most important part to any weatherization project. Air sealing is a process of identifying where air comes into your home and escapes from your home. Cold air comes into your basement and home through the rim joists, doors, windows, electrical and plumbing penetration, etc. As the air warms up, it rises through the house and escapes through the attic (partition plates, chimney chases, attic hatches, etc.) taking your energy dollars with it. In the summer, that warm air travels into your home from the attic, windows, and doors, making your home’s air conditioners work harder and cost you more.

Here is how to air seal your home:

  1. Identify air leaks
  2. Seal areas with air leaks using expandable foams for attic and basement areas and caulking for the smaller areas which include around doors and windows
  3. Weather stripping of doors and attic hatches
  4. Installing attic domes over pull down attic stairs and whole house fans.

Recessed lights are big energy losers and must either be covered and sealed in the attic or replace them with airtight AC-rated recessed light fixtures. Recessed lights are like having holes in your ceilings letting all the heat rise up through them and into the attic along with your hard earned dollars.