Insulating your NewJersey home will add value to your home and better quality and comfort to your living conditions. Below are 6 reasons why properly insulating your home is so important.
1). Saves You Money
Insulating your attic is a great investment in your home. Unless your South Jersey home was specifically constructed for energy efficiency, you can probably reduce your energy bills by adding more insulation. Most older homes do not have enough insulation and far less than homes built today, but even adding insulation to a newer home can pay for itself within a few years. New Jersey standards for home insulation changes on a regular basis. You can check with a Home Performance professional or your state to see what the state’s insulation standard or R-Value rating is at the present time.
Residential heating and cooling account for 60% of the energy used in the average New Jersey home. If your home is uninsulated or under-insulated, you are probably paying more than you should to heat or cool your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you can save up to 30% on utility costs by air sealing and insulating your home’s attic space.
This is great news because a properly designed and installed insulation system provides an excellent return on your investment and a quick payback through cost savings. Home insulation is a low-risk investment because the savings and the payback can be forecasted with a high degree of accuracy. If the insulated system is maintained, the savings from the investment continues for the life of your home. Often new or upgraded insulation is paid for by reducing the operations budget in your home for the life of your HVAC system.
Here’s another reason to insulate your home: A well-insulated home often commands a higher market value. Recent studies estimate that there’s generally at least a break-even return on investment regarding your home’s value after installing fiberglass insulation in the attic. For most homeowners, upgrading an under-insulated home is well worth the expense. It’s an improvement that will pay off in both reduced energy bills and improved home value. Also, in many cases, you can offset the cost by getting rebates and incentives through The New Jersey Clean Energy program.
2). Increases Your Home’s Comfort
Another very common reason for adding insulation is comfort. A home that is under-insulated is more vulnerable to outside temperature. Heat naturally flows from hot to cold. This means that depending on the outside temperature you may be experiencing hot/cold and uncomfortable rooms due to heat displacement.
We all want a comfortable, cozy home, but if your home insulation is not up to par, it’s nearly impossible to achieve. Many of us have experienced a room that’s too cold in the winter or too warm in the summer. If one room feels significantly cooler than the rest of the house, it could be a sign of a poorly insulated home. Bedrooms located on upper floors are especially vulnerable to outside temperatures. Adding insulation to your attic space is a great way to ensure these rooms stay temperate at night and in the early morning, when temperatures are at their lowest. The distribution of heat in your home tells a lot about your home’s insulation.
About 40% of feeling comfortable is attributed to the level of radiant heat exchange between your body and your surroundings. Proper insulation cuts down on this exchange of radiant heat, which makes your home and you much more comfortable. Insulation ensures that conditioned air stays in, and the weather stays out. Whether or not you spend a lot of time at home, indoor comfort greatly affects your quality of life. Insulating your attic allows you to have a comfortable indoor environment regardless of the temperature outside. If you work from home, comfortability is bound to boost your productivity and work focus. You also want your family and guests to be comfortable in your home.
3). Indoor Air Quality
Obviously, the air quality of your home is extremely important, but did you know your attic insulation plays a vital role in your home’s indoor air quality?
Outdoor pollutants can enter your home through air leaks caused by poor air sealing and under-insulated attic spaces. Insulating your attic prevents these pollutants from spreading throughout your home, allowing your family to breathe easier and enjoy cleaner indoor air. Installing new insulation can also remove pollutants that may have infested your current attic area.
When was the last time you thought about the insulation in your attic? Is it discolored or dirty? Is it deep enough to prevent heat and air conditioning from escaping from your living areas to your attic? Have you looked for pests or pest dropping in your insulation that can cause your air to be contaminated? Old insulations can be contaminated and ineffective insulation can negatively affect the air you breathe in your home and even increase the negative health symptoms you may be experiencing.
Here are the three ways your old insulation can hurt the quality of your indoor air , commonly referred to as indoor air quality or IAQ, and how attic air sealing and new insulation can help.
Water Damage & Mold Issues
Water is the mortal enemy of insulation. In fact, moisture in your insulation will render it useless. Water decreases the heat-resisting qualities of both fiberglass and cellulose insulation. Moisture will also accelerate the mold growth process. Unattended wet and moldy insulation can cause a number of symptoms for the people in your home, such as:
- Runny nose and postnasal drip
- Coughing and wheezing
- Itchy and dry eyes, nose, and throat
- Watery eyes
- Dry skin and irritation
- Trouble sleeping
If your allergy-like symptoms are in full force when you wake up in the morning, and seem to dissipate during the day while you’re away, then return after you arrive back home, you may be dealing with poor IAQ.
All sorts of pests such as mice, rats, birds, bats and insects are tempted to make their homes in the fuzzy insulation in your attic, where they will deposit their feces, urine and other waste. These unwanted materials can be sucked into your breathing air or even your ductwork. If you have noticed this type of material in your attic, or if you hear pests in your walls, call a professional pest removal service as your first step. Once you get rid of the pests, removing the contaminated insulation is your next step. A professional will need to seal up all the holes and cracks, where air (and pests) can leak or move into your attic.
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) & Indoor Pollutants
Did you know that the EPA estimates indoor air contains two to five times more contaminants than the air outside your home? You may be surprised to learn what is floating in the air you breathe, and where it is coming from. You may have heard about vermiculite insulation that was contaminated with asbestos. If your house is older, you need to make sure your insulation was not made with vermiculite. Other items that are stored in your attic can also give off VOC’s. If you are concerned, you can find a list of VOC’s at EPA.gov. Also, if your insulation is older and it starts to deteriorate, it can introduce more dust particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your air.
All of these above factors can make allergy symptoms and allergic reactions, especially in older homes, much, much worse! You want to breath the cleanest air possible in your home.
4). Protects Your Home’s Structure
Insulating your attic space can prevent physical damage to your home. It prevents any moisture from seeping in and eroding your home’s framing and walls. In the winter, the rising heat in your attic might lead to melting snow on a roof, which can then lead to ice dams. Ice dams and moisture issues can do serious damage to your home, especially the roof, which is not a cheap fix! By air sealing and insulating, you can prevent quite a few headaches down the road. If you have condensation or moisture inside your attic, it could be a symptom of insulation issues. Sufficient thickness is needed to keep the surface temperature above the dew point temperature of the ambient air. In northern regions of the United States the recommended R-Value of your insulation is R-49, which is approximately 16-19 inches of insulation. If you can see your floor joists in the attic you probably don’t have enough insulation.
What are ice dams? Ice dams (and icicles) form when the snow melts, runs down your roof and refreezes near the edge. This only occurs when part of your roof warms to above 32 degrees F, warm enough to melt the snow, while the roof edge remains below freezing. This scenario is often the result of a warm attic. In most homes, heat escapes from the conditioned living areas through ceilings into the attic and warms the wood and shingles directly above it. Although the outdoor temperature is below freezing, the snow melts over the warmed section of roof. When the melted ice runs down the roof, it hits the cold edge not warmed by the attic. There it freezes, creating a rim of ice. This rim can grow, trap more water behind it, and bingo, you have a full-fledged ice dam. The key to preventing ice dams is simply to keep your attic and roof cold. After a snowfall, a cold roof will have a thick blanket of snow. A warmer roof, however, will soon have clear spots where the snow has melted off, and may well have icicles hanging from the eaves. It is essential to make sure ice damming is not occurring on your roof.
5). Protects Your Heating and Cooling Equipment
Heating and cooling equipment can be one of the most expensive purchases you make for your home. One of the most important aspects of attic insulation is it allows your HVAC equipment to run less often. If your home’s insulation is able to retain indoor temperature, only then can your heating and cooling equipment rest. However, if your attic space is under-insulated then your heating and cooling equipment will need to run more often, to keep up with your home’s set temperature, causing extra wear and tear on your HVAC equipment.
Nothing affects HVAC efficiency more than the quality of insulation in your home. Insulation slows the transfer of heat from one place to another. If heat didn’t move from hot to cold as readily as it does, insulation wouldn’t be as important to keeping your home comfortable and your energy bills lower.
Although the insulation level in the attic needs to be substantially greater than what’s in the walls, it’s all important. The “R-” stands for resistance and the number that follows it indicates how many hours the insulation product retards the movement of heat. Each inch of fiberglass or cellulose insulation provides about three hours of thermal protection. If your home is not properly insulated, it could have a negative impact on your home’s heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system. With insufficient insulation, thermal energy will escape your home. As the heated or cooled air exits your home, your HVAC system must work overtime, resulting in a lower level of performance.
6). Protects the Environment
For those more money conscious homeowners, the energy saving benefit is probably enough to make you want to sufficiently insulate your attic. However, those motivated by helping the environment will be happy, too. Insulating and air sealing your attic can be the most energy saving project you could complete in your home. The energy saved with this means your home won’t need to make as much energy, so power plants won’t need to produce as much energy! This also reduces pollution caused by the power plants. Reducing the amount of energy we consume can have a huge effect on our local d global ecosystems.
This is how it works: Insulation reduces energy consumption, which means that less fossil fuel is burned to produce that energy. This, in turn, decreases the amount of polluting gases such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. Because carbon dioxide is one of the principal greenhouse gases contributing to global warming, and sulfur dioxide is the major component of acid rain, insulation plays a significant role in protecting the environment.
If energy is saved, then all of the pollution associated with the generation of that energy is also saved. And, given the amount of energy reduced by the use of insulation and the fact that we now have tools to calculate the emission reduction numbers with the use of insulation emission reduction is a significant benefit of insulating in today’s green environment.
How do you know if the attic insulation you currently have is insulating your home properly?
The answer is most people don’t have the knowledge to determine that unless they do some extensive research. Instead of taking the time to do research we recommend calling someone who does have the knowledge to determine if your attic insulation is adequate for your needs.
Allied Experts has been air sealing and insulating homes for over a decade. Call us at 856-528-2822 and get a free assessment to establish what needs to be done in your home to make sure it is properly insulated and get a free estimate for what that investment in your home will cost.