Check Your Insulation in the Fall for Winter Comfort

Check Your Insulation in the Fall for Winter ComfortEven in newer homes, the insulation may not meet minimum recommended insulation levels. This can lead to ample heat loss in the winter and heat gain when the weather starts heating up, both of which can negatively impact your household budget.  Whether you do it yourself, or hire a professional, a thorough inspection in the fall plus adding insulation if needed can significantly improve winter comfort. 

Make a checklist of places to inspect insulation, and include the attic, exterior walls, basement, crawl spaces, attached garage and utility closets. The insulation in the attic is particularly important because much of the heat energy in a home can infiltrate into the attic in the winter (and gravitate down from the attic in the summer).

Tips for Inspecting Insulation

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners should pay attention to the following areas:

  • Underneath existing insulation look for a vapor barrier such as tar paper, plastic sheeting or special barrier paint.
  • Check all attic vents; they shouldn’t be covered with insulation.
  • Check how deep the insulation is in the attic. The insulation should rise to near the top of the floor joists. If you want to know the recommended thickness for your insulation, use the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zip Code Insulation Calculator.
  • Remove outlet covers on exterior walls to check insulation. You should be able to see insulation around the inside of outlets. You may need to add blown-in insulation if there is none visible. Turn off the power before messing with outlets.
  • Openings around pipes, vents, chimneys, etc. should be sealed with caulk, spray foam or another appropriate sealant. This isn’t exactly insulation, but when weatherizing a home, insulation and air sealing should go hand in hand.

If your home seems to lack insulation in important places, you may want to get an energy evaluation from an HVAC professional such as Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. Insulation is rated for its R-value, or capacity to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better it accomplishes this resistance. A professional can tell you what R-value is best for your area.

For more information, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. We’ve been providing quality services to the Cleveland area for more than 78 years.

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Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!

Image courtesy of iQoncept/Shutterstock