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Baby It's Cold Inside - Insulating Your Home

We may not be able to recall just how cold it was this winter by the time the summer heat sets in, but our checkbooks will still bear the scars of a painful energy bill season. So how do you prevent the winter wind from shaking your money tree bare?

Insulating Your Home

Proper insulation of your home is often overlooked in favor of “turn out the lights” or “turn off the water while brushing your teeth.”  While every penny counts, the single most important aspect to saving energy is proper insulation of your home.

What is R-Value?

R-value is a measure of thermal resistance, which basically means how well a material holds back heat. Insulation products are measured in R-value; the higher the better. The R-value of a concrete block is one, while the R-value of the average insulated attic is 20. If you’re interested in calculating the recommended R-value of your home, the U.S. Department of Energy lists a ZIP code insulation calculator on its website.

Efficient Space Conditioning

Heating your home in the winter and air conditioning your home in the summer is generally grouped into one category “space conditioning” while discussing energy saving. Space conditioning costs rise in the winter due to inadequate insulation and the allowance of warm air to escape the home; and vice versa in the summer. It is significantly easier to determine if your home is in need of additional insulation in the winter than the summer. In the winter, the difference in temperature between the outside air and conditioned air inside is much greater, depending on where you live.

Space conditioning starts with insulating your attic as most air leaks occur throughout the attic space. Once your attic is properly insulated it is also important to ensure that wall and floor insulation is keeping your heat and air conditioning in as well. As cost is always a consideration, rest easy, the money you save on space conditioning costs will eventually pay for insulation fees.

Click here for further information on saving money and energy from the U.S. Department of Energy's Web site.