It’s that time of year here in Washington County where summer turns to fall, and guessing tomorrow’s temperature is like pulling the lever on a slot machine: You never know what you’re going to get!
Though many Vermonters may be pulling out their Bean Boots, dusting off the ice fishing traps and snowmobiles, and scheduling their leaf-peeping hikes in preparation for the winter, there is one more thing to add to your winter prep checklist: Is your insulation up to par for the coming drop in temperatures?
Signs Your Home May Need an Insulation Upgrade
Though your furnace takes most of the glory when it comes to keeping your home comfortable in the winter, your insulation plays a vital role in keeping all of that heat inside your home. Think of it like heating up a car on a long winter road trip—the heater may work great, but if the window is cracked, all that heat is just going to escape, meaning you’ll need to keep the heater on full blast the whole drive!
Insulation prevents heat from transferring in or out of a home, through the materials that make up a home’s construction. This is particularly important in areas like the attic, the exterior walls, and the crawl space or basement. We often include air sealing with any insulation upgrade, which is the process of locating and sealing up any tiny cracks that are hidden throughout a home. Proper insulation prevents heat from escaping your home through the materials of your home construction, but air sealing prevents that heat from freely escaping through those tiny, often imperceivable holes, and prevents outside contaminants from entering your breathing air.
There are a few things to look out for when assessing how your insulation affects your home comfort:
Symptom: Extremely cold floors in the morning
Potential Fix: Upgrade crawl space insulation and air sealing
Symptom: Ice dams
Potential fix: Upgrade attic insulation
Symptom: Indoor drafts
Potential fix: Upgrade air sealing
Symptom: Inconsistent room to room temperatures
Potential fix: Upgrade all insulation and air sealing
Even though the crawl space and attic may not be areas of the home you spend a lot of time in, they can affect the actual comfort in the areas where you do spend time. Through a building science principle called “the stack effect”, the cold air in your attic will attract the heat in your living space. As that heat rises, it is replaced with the cold air underneath the home, in the crawl space or basement.
By creating an airtight thermal boundary with insulation and air sealing, this stack effect cycle is broken, allowing the heat from your furnace, boiler, or heat pump to remain in your home, where it should be!
Upgrade Your Insulation, Downgrade Your Energy Costs
If you are suffering from a cold house or high energy bills, upgrading your insulation will go a long way towards solving both issues. And when your insulation upgrade is combined with thorough, performance based air sealing, you can experience a number of benefits, including:
Reduced reliance on heating equipment
Lower heating costs
Increased indoor air quality
Less wear and tear on your HVAC equipment
Stable and reliable home comfort