Did you know that if your home is under-insulated and has air leaks, your energy bills can be up to 40 percent higher? Adding insulation and sealing air leaks will help make your home heating and cooling more efficient and keep your energy bills lower. It will also keep you and your family more comfortable.
If you want to lower your home energy bills, there are a few things you can do to make sure the heating and cooling you pay for stays within the home instead of leaking outside.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), up to 20 percent of air moving through your ducts is lost via leaks, gaps and holes in the ductwork itself.
- Go through the ductwork you can reach, looking for any holes and gaps. Check connections between duct sections to make sure they’re strong. Also, look at the connection between the ducts and the vents.
- If you have a significant part of ductwork in inaccessible areas, call an HVAC company to check the ductwork. Heating and cooling professionals have equipment that allows them to look inside those areas.
- When you find leaks or breaks in the ductwork, fix them. You can use metal tape to seal duct edges or use a mastic sealant. When in doubt, leave it to professional technicians for a safe, effective job.
Insulate ductwork in uninsulated areas like the attic or garage. Use an R-6 rigid insulation to encase the ductwork.
How to Stop Air Leaks
- Check doors and windows for air leaks. You can use caulk or weatherstripping to fill those gaps.
- Check for air leaks coming in through the attic, basement and crawl space. You can use caulk, spray foam and weatherstripping to close those gaps also.
Once you’ve tackled the air leaks in your home, the next step is to insulate it.
Insulation helps keep warm air in during the winter and out during the summer. If you’re going to insulate your home, you need to look at insulating your attic, exterior walls and your basement or crawl space.
According to the EPA, the recommended R-values for northeast Texas is as follows:
- Attics – R-49 (R-38 above cathedral ceilings)
- Exterior walls – R-18
- Floor – R-25
You can use any number of insulating materials to improve your home’s efficiency. Here’s a sample of common insulating materials and how they’re used:
- Blanket (batts and rolls) come with R-value of between R-2.9 and R-4.3 per inch of thickness, depending on the material used and its construction. A typical 3 1/2-inch batt used in a wood stud wall would offer a value of R-11. A typical 6-inch batt used in unfinished attic spaces would offer a value of R-19.
- Foam or rigid insulation usually ranges from R-5 to R-6. The most common use of this insulating material is on the exterior of wood frame walls before installing siding or brick.
- Loose-fill insulating materials can range from R-2.2 to R-3.8 per inch of thickness, depending on the type of material used. It comes in cellulose, fiberglass and rockwool. A cellulose fill at R-3.2 put into a 3.5-inch exterior wall will offer about R-11 value. This kind of insulating material is good for blowing in uninsulated, finished walls, as well as attic spaces. In attics, many homeowners add the loose-fill over insulating batts to increase the overall R-value for the space.
- Spray-foam offers both insulating properties as well as air stoppage. Depending on the manufacturer and chemicals used, the foam can offer up to twice the amount of R-value over batt insulating materials. Homeowners can rent the equipment and purchase the foaming ingredients to do it themselves. However, most choose to have professionals do it for efficiency and better application.
Taking Your Sealing and Insulating to the Next Level
Once you tackle a few of these projects, you should start seeing your energy bills go down. If you want to get even further savings, consider a home energy audit. Such an audit evaluates the entire house to see how well it’s performing and where you can make improvements.
The HVAC experts evaluate your home, its insulation, air leakage and several other factors to see how well your home is performing. You receive a home energy audit report with all their findings, as well as a list of recommendations.
For more information on insulation, sealing air leaks or scheduling a home energy audit, contact Wood Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We have proudly served Mt. Pleasant and surrounding areas for over 55 years.