Heating and cooling account for 50–70% of the energy used in the average American home. About 20% goes for heating water. Lighting, appliances, and everything else account for only 10–30%.
Unless your home was constructed with special attention to energy efficiency, adding insulation will probably reduce your utility bills. Much of the existing housing stock in the United States is not insulated to the best level. Older homes are likely to use more energy than newer homes, leading to very high heating and air-conditioning bills. Even if you own a new home, adding insulation may save enough money to pay for itself in just a few years as well as increase the resale value of the home.
The Crucial Role of Insulation
Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes of energy waste in most homes. Insulation saves money and energy. It can also make a home more comfortable by helping to maintain a uniform temperature throughout. Walls, ceilings, and floors will be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Insulation can also act as a sound barrier, keeping noise levels down.
It is possible to add insulation to almost any home. You may be able to do the job yourself if the structural framing is accessible — for instance, in unfinished attics or under the floor over an unheated space. Or, you may prefer to hire an insulation contractor, like Comfortemp. In either case, it is important to choose and install the insulation correctly.
The amount of energy you conserve will depend on several factors:
- Your local climate
- The size, shape, and construction style of your house
- The living habits of your family
- The type and efficiency of the heating and cooling systems
- The fuels you use
Once the energy savings have paid for the installation cost, energy conserved is money saved, and the annual savings will increase if utility rates go up.
It is most important to:
- Insulate your attic to the recommended level, including the attic door, or hatch cover.
- Provide the recommended level of insulation under floors, above heating spaces, around walls in a heated basement or unventilated crawl spaces, and on the edges of slabs-on-grade.
- Use the recommended levels of insulation for exterior walls on new home construction. When remodeling or re-siding your home, consider using the levels recommended for new construction.