Insulating your home can make it more comfortable and save you money on heating and cooling. As winter approaches, Grinnell Mutual recommends inspecting the insulation in your attic, walls, and foundation. Proper insulation can improve the efficiency of your furnace and caulking windows and doors may help reduce heat loss.
“Insulation offers a bigger return on the dollars you invest in improving your home, especially if you do it yourself,” said Kevin Hieber, reinsurance claims specialist at Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company.
Inspect your home to prioritize insulation tasks
Before you begin insulation, walk around your home, looking for places where heat might escape. Do you have gaps at the bottom of your doors? Is caulking around windows and lines into your home cracked or hardened? Add doorsweeps and replace old caulking.
“Not only does it prevent heat loss, but it also keeps outside critters out,” said Hieber.
Fill joist spaces
Cold air sinks to the basement, so what heat you have in the basement will want to escape. Many basements have only bare wood between a home’s foundation and the outside. By filling the empty spaces with insulation, you can help keep the heat in your home.
“If you insulate that joist pocket, you can have up to a foot of Kraft faced insulation,” said Hieber. “It’s inexpensive—buy a roll, cut it off in sections to the width of your joist spaces, and put it in.”
Insulate the attic
Attic insulation will not only make your living spaces more comfortable, it may help to prevent ice dams from forming and damaging your home’s roof and walls. In winter, your attic insulation prevents heat from transferring into the attic to the roof sheeting and the roof itself.
Hieber suggests an eyeball test for properly insulated attics.
“Drive through a town and look at the roofs in the winter,” said Hieber. “The homes that are better insulated will still have snow on the roof. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, but the snow will act as an insulator, too.”
Fill wall cavities
Insulating walls is best performed as part of remodeling your home. A variety of products and installations are available to fill wall cavities. Homeowners who have identified wall insulation as a need may consider a plugs and fillers method to fill their homes.
“In an older home you may have a foot of settled cellulose in the bottom, but the top seven feet of your wall cavity are basically void of insulation,” said Hieber.