One of the most cost-effective investments you can make in a house is to install good insulation. Customers aren't always sure what they need to know about insulation, so here are four things you should know.
What You're Paying For
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average household will commit between 50% and 70% of its energy output to heat and cool air. A further 20% ends up heating water. Everything else is a fraction of the remaining 10% to 30%. Put in simpler terms, anything that makes it cheaper to heat or cool your house is going to have a killer return on investment.
You Can Insulate More Than the Attic and Walls
While we tend to picture insulation work as mostly involving attics and walls, there are other places where insulation can pay dividends. It's worth looking into insulating water tanks, pipes, and basement areas, too. If you insulate something that's connected to the water system, for example, you should talk with a plumber first.
Insulation Can't Do All of the Work
A well-designed house can make a major difference in how well the insulation that's installed will work. Many folks assume, for example, that they should just fill the attic with insulation. Ask professional insulation installers, though, and you'll learn that the attic needs a bit of airflow. Most attics have spaces that are designed to let the air out, and packing materials into those spots can undermine the value of insulation.
Similarly, you should try to maximize the benefits of insulation with other features in your house. A high-quality HVAC unit, for example, can dehumidify the air. This will reduce the amount of water vapor in the air that you'll need to heat and cool, adding on to the value of having the building insulated.
Dealing with Little Gaps
The best insulation in the world is only as good as the smallest gap left in a structure. Top-tier insulation installers understand the importance of identifying and addressing gaps that can let air sneak through.
Doing this can get pretty involved. Many insulation contractors use weather stripping to fill gaps in joists and boards. It's also common to employ expanding foam to fill small holes and gaps. Spots around windows, for example, can be especially bad on this front. Once the smaller sources of potential trouble have been addressed, only then do they put in the bigger pieces of insulation.
To learn more, contact an insulation contractor.