There are several great ways you can reduce your home's energy consumption and carbon footprint. By insulating key areas, you can do much to maintain the building's temperature inside and reduce the building's heat loss in winter or heat gain in summer.
This article takes a look at some of the ways in which you can insulate your home and take advantage of the increased overall barrier preventing heat from getting in or getting out when you want it to do the opposite!
Insulate the Attic
The first place to start and the one that can bring most benefit is in the attic. Since heat rises, this is the first place you can install a thermal barrier to prevent precious heat from escaping through the ceiling and roof during winter as well as helping to keep the powerful heat of the sun from gaining ingress to your home through its top.
There are several options here, starting from loose-lay or rolls of glass fiber thermal barrier that goes down between the wooden supporting joists on the floor of the attic. This is a good start and can greatly increase your home's energy efficiency by a large factor, but there is more you can do.
Fitting special radiant barrier panels or sheets from rolls in the upper rafters behind the roof's weather proof outer layer (tiles, asphalt or wood shingles etc), further increases the barrier strength and further lowers the heat losses in winter or gains in summer thereby further reducing the energy consumed and keeping more dollars in your pocket!
Good Reasons to Install Radiant Barrier Insulation
There are several houses in our street and you can usually tell which ones have some kind of insulation fitted in their attics in winter when it snows. The houses with snow on their roofs are the ones with insulation and the houses with clear roofs are the ones without.
This is a pretty good advertisement for its benefits, because having radiant barrier insulation installed in your attic will prevent all that heat loss through your attic in winter. Okay, that means you will have to get up on your roof and clear the snow yourself, but it is a darn sight cheaper than spending all that extra money in power bills to have your home's heating system melt it for you, which in effect is what is happening.
All that heat that you are paying for is escaping through your roof and without insulation it is literally money going up in smoke! But it is not just in winter that you save money with attic insulation.
In summer when it gets real hot outside and you are running your air conditioning, it runs more efficiently when it doesn't have to deal with the heat that is sneaking in through your attic by convection, which an insulated attic would keep out.
How Insulating Paint Can Help Cut Home Fuel Bills
Keeping warm in winter is always an expensive thing with fuel bills ever rising and showing no sign of ever coming down. I often wondered about the benefits of insulating paint and if I should really consider using it as an addition to existing insulation that I have installed around my home.
After all, insulating a home is one really great way to cut down on the costs of power to heat the inside space, because less of the heat is lost through walls, windows and the roof when all these areas are properly insulated. But you can never have too much insulating around the home, from double glazing windows and draught stripping all doors to keep the heat in and the cold wind out.
I heard about this special paint that also adds another layer of insulation to a home when you paint it over areas that are already covered by other insulating materials. So it is natural to consider using it as another effective layer to help keep energy costs down as low as possible when the temperatures outside plummet in winter.
The cost of the pain and the time in painting it on will be recouped by savings on electricity and gas bills that would otherwise be spent on heating or air conditioning. So obviously it is well worth the investment!
Windows and Doors
Another area for reducing thermal loss or gain is making sure all your windows and doors are air tight when closed. This means checking frames for leaks or gaps and ensuring windows and doors close tightly without leaving gaps that would allow air to get in or out.
You can further reduce thermal loss/gain through windows by fitting double glazed units. Glass will transmit heath through it quite easily and a single pane will allow a heat exchange much more readily than will a double pane with a sealed air gap of about a half inch between the panes.
It also pays dividends to go around the house to check for other leaks that will allow the air to get in or out of the home. Carry a tube of caulk with you and plug any holes you find in brickwork or stucco as well as holes between window and door frames and the adjoining masonry.
If you have air vents for extractor fans or heating exhausts, it is possible to install closing caps that open when the vent fans are in use and closed when not. If you have an open fireplace, make sure you can shut if off when it's not in use to further reduce heat loss in winter.
All in all, the better insulated your home, the lower your energy bills will be because you'll be using less energy to heat or cool it depending on the season. The end result is more money in your bank account which is always a good thing, along with peace of mind in that you're doing your bit for the environment too.
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