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In a previous post, we mentioned some of the benefits of a well-insulated home. But certain homeowners might need more incentive to lower their energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint. Maybe you’ve adapted to living in a poorly insulated house. But it could also be that you haven’t envisioned all the ways in which better insulation might improve your home life.
It’s obvious that upgrading your insulation will result in home that’s warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. But the overall temperature is not the only important factor. There’s also a question of how the heat is distributed throughout the building.
Poor insulation usually makes itself known through drafts and cold spots. And the likely result is that residents feel differently in different areas of the house. You may be perfectly comfortable in the living room but find it’s too cold to work in your home office. Different bedrooms might be several degrees different from each other, leading to countless fights over the thermostat.
So if your house isn’t well-insulated, you should ask yourself: “Is my entire family getting the same enjoyment out of all areas of their home?”
As our earlier post mentioned, high-quality insulation can seriously reduce noise. This is an obvious benefit for homeowners if they live in high-traffic areas or near sources of noise pollution. It’s also a gift to the entire neighborhood if houses are close together, with lots of activity inside.
Of course, many homeowners want noise reduction for both these reasons. If you’re having a quiet night at home, good insulation will help to keep the world at bay. But if you’re having friends over to celebrate a holiday or special occasion, you can be confident that neighbors won’t complain when the music gets louder.
These examples are just meant to give you a starting point as you think about how a well-insulated home can improve your life, personally. Once you’ve done that, it shouldn’t be difficult to determine how much that improvement is worth to you. Then you only need to contact us for a free estimate, and decide whether the benefits outweigh the costs of upgrading your home with new sealing, wall insulation, or weatherization.
Windows and doors are necessarily less insulating than the solid walls of your home. But technology has steadily improved, so if you’re losing heat through old windows and doors, it might be time to consider an upgrade.
There are three distinct ways in which windows detract from your insulation. First, heat can bleed directly through the glass via conduction. Second, windows can either raise the natural temperature by allowing solar energy into the house, or lower it by keeping it out. And third, weak seals between a window and wall can promote air flow, drawing out more heat and creating drafts.
Solid doors avoid the issue of solar energy, but of course they’re often associated with even more air flow. This is a particular problem if the door isn’t properly fitted with its jamb. Meanwhile, heat conduction doesn’t change much, although it is possible to swap out traditional wood doors for other materials like fiberglass, which have benefitted from technological advances.
All professionally-made windows are rated for their effects on the three areas of heat loss. The U-factor tells you how resistant the material itself is to conduction. Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) tells you how well the window transmits the sun’s energy. And air flow around a window frame is measured in cubic feet per minute per square foot (cfm/ft2).
Two of these three ratings are no-brainers when it comes to choosing the most energy-efficient option for your budget. A lower U-factor and a lower the cfm/ft2 rate mean better insulation. It’s only with the SHGC that your decision will be seriously affected by where you live and what type of household climate you prefer.
A high SHGC rating is what you want in order to warm your house faster in the winter. The window will let in more solar energy, giving your thermostat a modest boost. But a low SGHC rating will keep more of that energy out during the winter, allowing your air conditioning to cool the house down more quickly.
If you live in an area with harsh winters and mild summers, or vice versa, then the decision is made for you. Otherwise, you might have to make a tough decision about whether it’s easier to tolerate a little less heat on a cold day, or a little more on a hot day. Money might also factor into that decision, depending on how your heating costs compare to your cooling costs.
On the other hand, with technology constantly improving, it’s possible to carefully design your household insulation in order to get the best of all worlds. Windows with variable tint can change their SHGC depending on how sunny it is, and energy efficient window attachments can compensate for times when the weather conditions aren’t ideal for your normal insulation.
When you call us for a free estimate, we can walk you through a range of different options. With a combination of window replacements, weather stripping, attachments, and everyday strategies, we can help you lower your energy consumption to levels you might never have thought possible.