How Much Will a Well-insulated House Save You?
In the average American home, heating and cooling account for 50 to 70 percent of the energy that a household uses. It need not be that high. If you live in an older, unimproved house, the chances are that your energy consumption for heating and cooling is at the higher end of this range.
If you have been keeping an eye on your energy bill for some time, you may be well aware that energy prices are escalating at a rapid rate. But, like many homeowners, you may be apprehensive about incurring the costs to make your home more energy efficient.
If your high energy bills are giving you sleepless nights, it may be worth taking a look at the options you have available.
There are, in essence, three ways to lower the energy you use for heating and cooling your home, including air sealing your home, improving the efficiency of your heating system, and insulating your home. When looking at the results of the latest energy-efficient designs, however, it’s clear that by improving the insulation of your home, you can reduce your energy bills significantly.
If your house is adequately insulated, heat from the sun, occupants’ bodies, and appliances is sufficient to keep your indoor temperature at a comfortable level, even during the cold winter months. It follows then that proper insulation is essential to reduce your energy bill.
The next question is, then, how much will a well-insulated house save you.
To answer this question, one has to look at what type of home you have regarding insulation.
Leaky homes have the lowest degree of insulation and typically consist of solid walls, single-glazed windows, and an uninsulated floor. Keeping a leaky house warm usually requires 300-kilowatt hours per square meter which costs around $1,500 per year.
Modern homes have a higher degree of insulation than leaky homes and usually have insulation between their walls, in their attics, and under their floorboards. Keeping a modern house warm during the winter requires around 150-kilowatt hours per square meter, which costs about $750 per year.
Passive homes have the highest degree of insulation and feature insulation throughout the entire home and triple-glazed windows. Keeping a passive house warm during winter requires 15-kilowatt hours per square meter and costs around $100 per year.
By upgrading your insulation from that of a leaky home to a modern home, you can, therefore, save $750. If you update your insulation from a leaky home level to a passive home level, you can save up to $1,400 per year.
Different Types of Insulation
There are several types of insulation that you can install around your home. Each type of insulation has a designated R-value, which depicts the resistance to heat value. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation will be.
If there is not a lot of space available for insulation, it is better to opt for insulation with a high R-value. If you have ample space open for insulation, on the other hand, filling the entire area with insulation that has a low R-value may be equally effective.
In this section, we will discuss the different types of insulation.
Batts and Blankets
Batts and blankets are available in rolls that are lightweight, easy to transport, and simple to install. Many property owners who do their installation as a do-it-yourself project prefer batts and blankets because of their low price tag, effectiveness in insulating a house, and straightforward installation.
When you install batts and blankets as insulation around your home, take care to fit them correctly in open spaces and around plumbing and electrical fixtures. If you cram them haphazardly into the openings, they can lose up to 50 percent of their efficiency.
Several types of batts and blankets are available, including fiberglass, Rockwool, and cotton.
Loose-fill insulation is fiber in the form of fluffy strands blown into openings as insulation. There are two types of loose-fill insulation, namely loose-fill fiberglass and loose-fill cellulose. Cellulose has a higher R-value per inch than fiberglass and is effective at all temperatures.
The advantage of fiberglass is that it weighs less than cellulose and is suitable for ceiling insulation. Loose-fill insulation is relatively affordable and easy to install. Over time, however, loose-fill insulation tends to lose its effectiveness.
Structural Insulated Panels
If you want to step things up a notch regarding insulation, structural insulated panels (SIP) may be your best bet. This form of installation is widely regarded to be the most effective as it can save energy costs of up to 14 percent.
SIP sheet sizes typically range from 4 inches by 8 inches to 8 inches xby24 inches and are widely used in new construction. Workers can install this type of insulation in floors, ceilings, and walls. And some panels have tongue-and-groove edges to seal openings completely.
There are two types of SIP’s, namely polystyrene and polyisocyanurate.
Spray foam is a plastic type of insulation that is applied in liquid foam to fill the entire space. After application, the foam expands to fill gaps and eliminate air leaks. Spray foam is simple to install and can be neatly applied. After application, the installer can simply cut the excess foam away to leave a smooth surface.
The types of spray foam include open-cell polyurethane that allows water vapor to pass through and closed-cell polyurethane that stops the movement of moisture. With open-cell polyurethane, you may require an additional moisture barrier.
At first glance, the cost and inconvenience of installing new insulation may not seem worthwhile. When you consider the energy costs you can save in the long-run, however, it is an entirely different picture.
Cruz Air & Electric deliver high-quality insulation and installation services to property owners in Humble, TX. If you want to improve the energy efficiency of your home and start saving on your energy bill, we can help.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.