Saving Money: Projects to Invest in – Insulation

Saving Money with Insulation

Insulation is an often over-looked area in your home that can add to your energy savings. Homes built over ten years ago were not insulated to the levels they are today. How will adding insulation to your home save money? Insulation keeps the heat (or air-conditioning) in your home for much longer by preventing it to leak out through walls, ceilings or cracks. Having too little insulation in your home is equivalent to running the air conditioner in your car with the windows open!

“Blown-in” Insulation

Interested in insulation now? Great! However, that does not mean you need to start fresh and rip out your old insulation. If your main interest is turning your home green, this is especially important. Insulation does not pull out neatly in one sheet. It can be a messy process and will only add to a landfill somewhere – not very environmentally friendly. Of course there are circumstances when removing your insulation is the correct option. Fire damaged, water damaged or rodent/insect infested insulation should be removed for health reasons. Often if there is rodent damage it does not affect an entire wall or room. It only affects certain spots such as near the furnace. In these cases, only the damaged portion needs to be removed.

If your main concern is the environment there is a new type of insulation called GreenFiber. GreenFiber insulation is made up of 85% recycled paper fibers. It is also less of a hassle to install compared to other brands of insulation. It is blown into the area that requires the insulation rather than being cut and fitted. GreenFiber also contains no formaldehyde or other harmful chemicals. It can be a smart choice for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint.

At this point if you plan on insulating more than just your attic, you may be wondering “Where else do I put the insulation?” There are many other areas insulation needs to be placed. In finished attics there are commonly knee walls. Knee walls are generally uninsulated spaces located behind a vertical wall in a finished attic. Another easily overlooked area in a home are ducts. Ducts are generally made of very thin metal.  If your basement or attic is not finished, your heating and cooling can be leaking out. You may be losing 10%-30% of the energy to heat your home through these uninsulated ducts. Other areas that should be insulated include ceilings, exterior walls, the floors above unheated garages, and the basement. When there is a lack of insulation the heating and cooling system in the home needs to overcompensate for lost energy. Your furnace or air-conditioning system works longer and harder when it needs to condition additional air. This is what leads to more expensive energy bills.

When beginning to research and consider having new insulation installed, there is a term that will be seen a lot. This term is “R-Value.” R-Values measure the amount of thermal resistance in insulation. Thermal resistance is the difference of temperature when ‘heat’ energy flows through an object. The higher the R-value the less heat loss. This, however, should not be the sole decision maker when choosing a type of insulation. Blown-in or foam-in insulation may have a lower R-Value but is optimal when trying to fill in small areas around wiring or windows. The contractor you hire will be able to assess the current insulation in your home and decide what will provide you with the most effective energy-saving option.

No matter what kind of insulation you choose to update your home with, you will certainly end up saving money on energy costs. Don’t let your energy bill be higher than it needs to be. Turning your home “green” and making it an energy-conserving machine can be possible when you team up with trained and experienced contractors.

If you are located in either Central or Northern New Jersey and interested in environmentally friendly insulation you can contact M&M Construction Specialist. They are contractors with extensive experience in the installation of GreenFiber insulation.

Resources:
http://www.energysavers.gov/seasonal/long_term_investments.html
http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11380
http://www.ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/insulation/ins_06.html

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