Keeping an older home warm can be a challenge. Houses built before about 1940 rarely were insulated. If they were, the products likely were organic (such as cotton and wool) and have deteriorated over time. In many cases, the only good solution is to replace the insulation. It can be a bit of an expense up front, but the difference in energy used could save you a great deal of money.
Use These 7 Tips to Save on Insulation
When you’re considering new insulation, keep these seven tips in mind that will save on both money and efficiency.
Determine Your Needs for Insulation
Check along the attic to see if you have insulation at all, and if so, determine its condition. If you can’t tell from the attic, scan the exterior walls for patched holes — a telltale sign that blown-in insulation was installed.
Inspect other drafty areas of the home. If your insulation looks OK but your house doesn’t hold temperature well, consider that other areas (like windows) actually may be to blame.
Check for Old Insulation
Everything from newspaper to corncobs has been used in the past to insulate homes. The older the house, the more likely you are to receive a surprise when removing old insulation. If the material is natural and not rotting, leave it. If you find that it’s in poor condition, have it removed to prevent mold and mildew.
The biggest problem is insulation with asbestos. In many cases, it’s too invasive to remove it all – and it’s much less toxic if it isn’t moved. Homeowners also may choose to encapsulate the asbestos, since the material is only dangerous when airborne.
Select the Right Form of Insulation
There are four main categories of insulation: loose fill, batts, rigid boards, and expanding sprays. Rigid boards and batts typically are used in renovations that replace walls or finish attics. Loose fill is common in old homes because it can reach tight spaces without changing the finish. Spray foam insulation is versatile, but it can be an expensive option.
Know How Much You Need
The higher the R-value (the thermal resistance of the material) of the insulation you choose, the less it’ll take to complete your job. Most regions have recommended ratings and depths per the United States Department of Energy, so you’ll know that you’re getting enough protection.
Know Where to Install
With older homes, most heat is lost through the roof because warm air rises. The attic usually is the first place to add insulation. Depending on the purpose of the room, insulate the floor or the spaces between the rafters for maximum effectiveness.
Plan Ahead for Moisture
Make sure that you’re always aware of ventilation. Blocked gable vents and soffits can cause moisture to build up within your home and cause health and safety issues. Remember to let the house breathe.
Consider Green Alternatives
There are all sorts of new ways to insulate your home — without harming the environment. Blown-in cellulose, for example, is made from old newspapers that are treated to be resistant to fire.
If you need help insulating your home, consider calling the experts at 25 Dollar Plumbing. We would love to help you save money and keep your home more comfortable by improving your home insulation. Contact us today for more information.