Energy. Save energy by insulating your home. Energy. Properly insulating your
home can reduce your energy costs up to 50 percent. Homes built prior to 1980 ...
Save energy by insulating your home
Properly insulating your home can reduce your energy costs up to 50 percent. Homes built prior to 1980 are probably under insulated and have air leak issues. In West Virginia, this accounts for up to 70 percent of all homes. Typically West Virginia homes should use the equivalent of 12 inches of batt insulation in the attic, or R-38. Make sure the following areas are insulated: • Unfinished attic space should be insulated between and over the floor joists. • Make sure that the attic door or hatch cover is insulated. • Exterior walls, unheated basement ceilings and walls between living spaces and unheated areas. To easily determine whether walls are insulated, turn off the power to a wall electrical outlet, remove the face plate and shine a flashlight into the space surrounding the outlet to check for the presence of insulation. Check multiple outlets on all floors and sides of the house. Air Leaks Insulation won’t work as well (or save you as much money) if your home has significant air leaks. Creating a map of your house can help you identify the areas with the most air leak potential.
• In the attic check where the walls meet the attic floor; in attic knee-wall spaces; around dropped soffit areas and chimneys; and around furnace or hot water flue pipes. • Insulation will be dirty in areas where air circulates. Wherever you see such spots, caulk first and then cover with insulation. • Sealing basement air leaks will stop the chimney effect. As hot air from the furnace rises, cold air from basement leaks is drawn in, creating drafts and increasing your energy bill. Seal around the top of the basement wall where the cement or block meets the wood frame (the rim or band joist) using silicone or acrylic latex caulk. Installing the insulation Once you have determined your need to add insulation, remember: • Wear appropriate clothing to protect your skin from insulation. • Wear a disposable respirator. • Read the directions! Proper application directions and safety tips are on the label. • Never cover the attic soffit vents with insulation. Natural air flow is needed in the summer to move air and moisture out of the unheated attic space. • Use rafter vents around the eaves to channel the outside air. • When applying batt insulation over existing insulation lay the second layer perpendicular to the existing insulation layer. • When laying insulation, work from the perimeter to the opening. This avoids the “insulating yourself into a corner” problem. • Use sheet metal “fencing” to keep insulation at least three inches from recessed lighting and other heated surfaces.
OTHER ENERGY-SAVING ARTICLES Energy saving articles are available from the West Virginia Division of Energy on the following topics: Replacing Light Bulbs with Cost-Saving CFLs Learning about ENERGY STAR Heating and Cooling Equipment Easily Installing a Programmable Thermostat Using ENERGY STAR Appliances in the Kitchen Using ENERGY STAR Appliances while doing the Laundry Caulking Gaps Around Windows and Doors to Stop Leaks Using the Landscape Around your Home to Lower Energy Bills