Insulation is what keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and is usually found in the attic, ceiling, exterior walls, basement, crawlspaces, floors above unheated garages and sometimes ducts if they are in unconditioned spaces. Insulation works by providing resistance to heat flow, and when effective, allows you to use less energy to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.
Insulation performance is rated in terms of thermal resistance, called R-value, the higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation. R-value depends on the type of material, thickness and density of the insulation however overall effectiveness of the insulation in your home also depends on where it is located and how well it is sealed.
Common types of insulation include fiberglass, cellulose, rigid foam board and spray foam. The best choice for insulation will depend on where you plan to install it and what the recommended R-value is for that area. If you’re unsure of your insulation needs, a qualified home energy auditor can help you assess how much insulation you already have in your home, and identify areas that could use insulation, air sealing or other adjustments to help you save money on energy costs.
Cracks and openings around your home result in air leaks’, which is what happens when conditioned air escapes, and outside air enters uncontrollably.
Air leaks are commonly found around windows and doors, holes hidden in attics, basements, and crawlspaces, and where foundations and walls meet. Air leaks cause uncomfortable drafts and room temperatures, strain on heating and cooling systems, and sometimes even moisture problems that cause mold and structural damage. Air sealing helps prevent these issues by blocking the movement of air and is done using varying types of caulk, spray foam or weather-stripping.
Some air leaks are easy to find and fix because you can actually feel the draft and they are readily accessible. However, using a qualified home energy auditor can be helpful if you want assistance identifying and sealing the less obvious air leaks, and determining how well your house is ventilated.