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Insulation and HVAC Equipment Upgrades
Insulation is an important factor in keeping your home comfortable year round, as well maintaining energy efficiency. Insulation and the installation of new HVAC equipment with energy efficient features work together in providing a comfortable home and reducing energy use.
If you suspect an insulation upgrade may be in order for your home, consider that proper insulation will reduce the required workload on your homes HVAC equipment extending its service life as well as reducing energy costs.
Where to check:
- The attic is the most cost-effective location to add insulation. Even if you already have insulation, if it is substandard you may benefit with an insulation upgrade by adding more insulation. As a general rule, if you can see the ceiling rafters in whole or part, your attic insulation needs to be upgraded.
- In an unfinished basement it’s easy to check the underside of the floor above. If insulation is absent, adding it will help to keep the floor above warm and separate it from the cool air of the basement below. If your home has a crawl space the same principle applies. Warmer floors prevent cold radiation from entering your home.
- Adding insulation to the walls of an existing home is a difficult task unless you are replacing exterior siding, replacing interior walls or building an addition. Energy analysis’ can reveal how well your home is insulated, including the walls. You may be able to obtain some idea of the extent of wall insulation by removing plug or wall switch covers. If there is enough gap between the plug or switch box and the opening cut for their installation, you may be able to visualize the insulation. Do not put items inside electrical receptacles or around them as this could result in electrical shock.
- Considering insulating guidelines have increased in last few decades, older homes may not be insulated to current standards. For example, in 1995 a region may have recommended R-11 wall insulation, whereas current guidelines recommend R-13 or above for the same region. Home insulation upgrades from R-11 to R-13 isn’t generally considered cost effective unless you are updating siding, interior wall covering, or adding an addition. A low cost DIY solution to air leaks around electrical boxes such as light switches is to add foam insulators behind the plates to prevent drafts.
The most common types of insulation are blankets, batts, loose fill (blown), foam, rigid and reflective insulation. Each has its own resistance value (R-value) which is an indication of its resistance to heat flow. Each area of your home (attic, walls and floor) will have a different R-value factor dependent upon the region you live in. For example, colder climates will require a higher value of insulating factor than warmer regions.
For the best results when you are considering adding insulation or upgrading with new energy efficient HVAC equipment seek the advice of a certified HVAC contractor with a insulation and heating and air conditioning energy evaluation for your home.