Energy-efficient homes can benefit the homeowner with lower utility bills, increased comfort levels and higher property value. A home’s energy efficiency can be greatly increased by installing additional insulation, which acts as a protective barrier to keep the outside heat or cold from entering the living area of a home. Here are a few do-it-yourself insulation tips to help make your home more energy efficient.
Hot-Water Heater Insulation
One area often overlooked in a home is the water heater. Insulating the hot water tank is a simple, effective way to help lower monthly energy bills. Installing a water heater blanket is an easy DIY project any homeowner can do in minutes. Adding foam wrap around pipes connected to the heater helps the water tank do its job effectively.
Sealing Electrical Box Outlets
Homeowners fail to realize that electric outlets in each room are a source of unwanted airflow. Applying foam sealant around the outside of the electrical boxes will stop this flow of air into living areas of the home.
To make the outlets air tight, foam gaskets can be positioned in place before reinstalling the outlet covers. This ensures a complete seal around each electrical outlet that keeps unwanted warm or cold air out of a room. It helps cooling and heating units work more efficiently.
Foam sealant is sold in cans at most home-improvement stores. The use of foam gaskets guarantees all the outlets will be leak free.
Adding Insulation to Attics
Adding more insulation to the attic will reduce annual utility bills tremendously. If the insulation already installed is below or even with the joist, then more can be added.
Insulate to a thickness of about 14 inches depending on what type of insulation is used. Loose fill or batt insulation is commonly used in attics. Loose fill provides better area coverage. On average, it is cheaper as well.
R-value is the measurement of insulation to resist heat flow. Higher R-values offer better thermal performance. Loose fill insulation can be added on top of batt insulation. If loose fill was added to the attic first, then a layer of batt insulation can be installed over the top of it.
Loose fill insulation can be messy to work with so it might be a good idea to have it professionally installed. It requires a blowing machine and is usually a two-man job. One will be feeding the hopper while the other works in the attic blowing the fill into the attic.
Exterior Wall Insulation
In older homes with little or no insulation, loose fill is a good choice because it can be blown into the wall cavities leading to an airtight seal. Most loose fill insulation is produced using recycled waste materials.
Blanket insulation is the most commonly used insulation in exterior walls. It can be purchased with and without facings. Facings are used as a barrier to prevent unwanted airflow and moisture from entering the home.
Rigid foam insulation provides better insulating value than loose fill or blanket insulation. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled newsprint providing great noise reducing abilities and stopping air leaks. Both rigid foam and cellulose insulation have similar qualities.
To reduce the amount of money you are spending on your electricity bills, consider insulating your hot water heater, your electrical outlets as well as adding insulation to your attic and exterior walls if necessary.
Guest Contributor David Glenn is a home improvement expert. He occasionally writes freelance articles about home maintenance and DIY home repair.