You’ve been a homeowner for a few years now. The initial excitement you felt at having your own place has faded, and now you’ve settled in to the benefits and frustrations that come along with property ownership.
By now you’ve realized that you’re responsible for a whole lot more than you imagined. If a major appliance breaks, you have to decide whether to repair or replace it (no more calls to the landlord). You start paying attention to your energy bill more closely than before.
And you start to wonder if your home is adequately insulated.
But do you know where your insulation should go? That’s all hidden away in unfamiliar areas of the house, like the crawl space or attic.
Clearly, it’s time to educate yourself on effective home insulation. A good place to begin is at the foundation; then you can make your way up to the roof.
What Lies Beneath
Before you became a homeowner, you may not have spared a thought toward the foundational crawl space of a house. Although crawl spaces can be situated both at the bottom of the house and under the roof, it’s fairly common for a house to have a sub-floor crawl space.
This area occupies the space between the ground and the bottom of your home. Generally, if you have a sub-floor crawl space, you won’t have a basement. And-as the name implies-a crawl space isn’t tall enough for person to stand up inside it.
Some crawl spaces have floors made from concrete; others have dirt or gravel. You can access this space through your home, generally through a trap door. Some homes access the crawl space from outside.
One advantage of a crawl space is that it allows your house sit above damp areas. That’s helpful if you live in a humid climate. Additionally, crawl spaces are cheaper to build than basements. It’s likely that most of your air ducts and plumbing pipes are here as well, making them easy to access.
It’s also an important location for insulation. Here’s why:
- Proper insulation keeps moisture at bay.
- Insulation can also repel pests.
- Insulation can also repel pests.
- The right depth and placement keeps your home more energy efficient.
So just what is the right placement?
When waterproofing and insulation installers look around the crawlspace, they’ll take note of vents, pipes, and ducts. All these areas require insulation. Another obvious location is the floor above, just between floor joists. It’s a good idea to use both insulation and moisture barriers to protect your home from mold.
Some installers prefer to insulate the foundational walls instead of the subfloor. In this way, they also protect sensitive pipes without needing to install much further insulation around the pipes themselves. However, it’s important to take care against invading moisture or pests from the outside.
Ask your installer about insulation that allows an airtight fit. This is the best protection from outside forces.
Next, it’s important to assess your walls. The best time to do this, of course, is if you’re doing some other kind of renovation project where one wall is open to the studs. If you suspect your wall insulation is inadequate but you don’t want to dig into them to find out, ask your installer about blow-in insulation.
Blow-in insulation packs in insulation without a lot of fuss or cutting into walls. It works by injecting foam insulation into smaller holes that can be plastered over later.
If you have a basement instead of a crawl space, keep those walls well insulated. Your installer can recommend the best method.
On the Level
Do you have an un-insulated garage with a room just above it? If so, that room probably has a cold floor in the winter and a hot floor each summer. Look into better insulation.
First, it’s important to seal around vents and other places where air might rise into the room. Not only does this protect those in the
room from exhaust smells and other solvents or garage supplies, it creates an impermeable barrier so the floor insulation works more efficiently.
Think about your ceilings too, particularly if your home has an elevated (cathedral) ceiling. By insulating these level surfaces, you regulate temperature near the ceiling so it’s not much different from the ambient room temperature.
Last of all, take a look at your attic. This area has a lot of potential for energy loss. It’s relatively simple and inexpensive to install loose-fill insulation, which covers all areas well.
Before you order more, though, be certain the roof vents and fans operate properly. Create an airtight seal around them; then your insulation will work better.
Now that you know your home from bottom to top, you’ll be better prepared before your waterproofing and insulation specialist visits. Get ready to enjoy your newly insulated home, and stay comfortable in any condition!