Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Your Home Has No Insulation? What Are Your Heating/Cooling Options?

Insulation is a very important factor in improving building energy efficiency. HVAC or otherwise known as heating, ventilation and cooling accounts for a lot of expenses associated with energy consumption in a building. The economic impact and comfort levels of your indoor space can have a dramatic effect with proper insulation. If your home has no insulation there is no need to panic. Mechanical heating and cooling devices should never be used for homes with improper insulation. You can opt for passive heating and cooling methods to reduce energy consumption and maintain comfort indoors.

It is easy to address your home’s lack of insulation by following these simple steps below. It will be easy on your wallet and also improve your home’s health, energy efficiency and comfort in no time at all.

1. Get an energy audit done

Spending $95 on an energy audit is good investment as it will help you choose appropriate upgrades for your home. You will get a customized report of your home’s energy performance in just two to four hours of thorough assessment. By using specialized equipment like infrared cameras, the energy auditor will be able to pinpoint areas that need insulation like gaps in floors, walls, ceilings. He will also suggest ways to uncover the source of drafts by depressurizing the whole house. A series of tests will also be undertaken to assess indoor air quality, moisture damage risks and combustion safety.

2. Pair air sealing and insulation

You need to opt for air sealing in your home as insulating alone will not eliminate drafts, increase energy efficiency and increase indoor comfort. To illustrate further, pairing air sealing and insulation will give you the option of a hard shell rain jacket and your favorite fleece jacket all at once for optimum comfort. If you don’t have a rain jacket, then cold air can move through the fleece and leave you uncomfortably cold. Only if there is a rain jacket over the fleece then it will act as a barrier, thus keeping you nice and warm.

3. Consider inspecting the attic, crawl space and envelope

Before starting on air sealing and insulation for your home, you and your contractor can consider inspecting the attic, crawl space and vertical envelope to check if it needs proper insulation. Spray foam which is used for loose insulation is preferred if you are considering the attic for conditioned storage. For the basement and crawl space, you need to air seal first and then use batt insulation to the appropriate level. The vertical envelope includes areas around the doors, windows and walls. You need to first upgrade your wall insulation before investing in new windows.
4. Filter good air in and bad air out

Good ventilation indoors is extremely important before air sealing and insulating your home. Areas like the kitchen and bathroom should have a fan to remove indoor moisture and eliminate humidity. You may also need whole house ventilation if you live in areas that experience a lot of heat and humidity.

Ø  Keep the heat out during summer and in during winter

The sun’s heat can be used optimally to warm your indoors during the cold months. Open windows to let natural daylight in. During the warmer months, you can close the windows by installing drapes and blinds to keep the rays out and the cooler air in.

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