Is Your Home Losing Energy?
Many Minneapolis homeowners feel that as long as their attic is properly insulated and gaps around windows and doors are filled in that their house is as energy-secure as it can be. Unfortunately for your utility bills, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.
Make no mistake, it is incredibly important to have the proper R-value of insulation in your attic, mainly because heat rises and a cold space up there can literally suck energy out of your home. The same goes with window and door gaps. There’s no quicker way to the outside cold than around a window or door – and these gaps can go unnoticed for decades.
There’s much more to your attic insulation than just having the proper amount. Proper installation is paramount in maximizing your energy efficiency, meaning making sure empty corners, pockets around light fixtures, and all the other often overlooked ‘little’ areas are filled in. This is why professional insulation installation is so important.
If an attic is used as a spare room, there likely won’t be enough insulation in the floor joists. The room will also have heat above any floor insulation so it’s important to have roof trusses protected with a proper barrier (but with adequate ventilation). Some of our customers have insulated both the floor and the roof trusses even in an unfinished attic to help avoid the pocket of condensation between the warmth of the home and the coolness of the roof.
It never hurts to insulate floor joists in every room of the home, if anything to create a better noise barrier. When it comes to an unfinished basement though, there should be a barrier between where the cold meets the warmth. If the cold air from a crawlspace creeps up into the 1st floor, it lowers temps and kicks on the furnace more frequently.
Ducts / Vents
Features like dryer vents are important to the safety of your home and attic ventilation is important for health. It’s the areas surrounding the vents (as well as pipes going outdoors) that need to be insulated. Ductwork running through an unfinished cold basement can lose a good portion of heat before it is able to get distributed through the home. Ducts should be wrapped in an insulating pad in these situations.
Outlets / Switches / Fixtures
Basically air will move around until it finds an exit point. One of the most frequent spots where a home loses energy is by outlets or light switches (and light fixtures). The gaps are small, but they still are a possible air leakage point.
A fireplace is a nice secondary heat source – when it works. If your fireplace has been out of commission for awhile it may now just be a source of heat loss. Cracks or missing mortar in chimney should be fixed (especially for safety reasons) and old units can be capped to prevent downdrafts.
Exterior Foundation Walls
In some old Minnesota basements, the wall the foundation is cracked and worn. Heavily damaged foundations should be repaired, but installing exterior insulation panels never hurts, even if a foundation is brand new. Exterior insulation panels create a barrier to prevent water from condensing on the walls and add an extra layer to help retain heat for a finished basement.
Gaps Between Rim Joists
The pocket above foundation walls between the rim joists can be a very overlooked area to insulate. Not only should these areas be insulated, they should also be sealed with silicone if using foam board.
Garage doors, air conditioning hoses, walls where insulation is damaged, old weatherstripping, and floor gaps are just a few more possible areas of energy loss. We recommend having a home energy audit done so you can learning about maximizing your home’s efficiency.
Call Snap today for a free insulation inspection and estimate. 612-333-SNAP