Adding Insulation to an Existing Home Las Vegas
Although the insulation of a home is often overlooked in HVAC inspections and upgrades, we leave no details unnoticed. Adding insulation to your home will not only reduce your utility bills and pay for itself in the long-run, it will also improve comfort and HVAC unit life-times. Not having proper insulation in your home is just inviting your unit to break down from being strained.
After all, what good does it do you to heat your home during the winter only to lose it? Insulation keeps the heat flow inside and improves the efficiency of the entire home.
Newer homes have better insulation than older ones, but both can benefit from insulation upgrades. Think about it like this: when contractors are building homes they aren’t thinking about making them super-efficient for years to come. You don’t want your utility bills to reflect a home with insulation that is “good-enough” for when the home was built. It makes more sense to invest in insulation so that you can save as time goes on, rather than lose even more money to lost heat.
The process of adding more insulation to your home is fairly simple. It begins with identifying where the insulation is, where it isn’t enough, where to add more.
Over the past decade of working in the HVAC industry we have seen drastic utility bill reductions, the highest being 45% for a home that was literally leaking air out of it! Air sealing and insulation certainly goes a long way to keeping your home efficient.
One of the most frustrating things we have seen in built homes is walls that are insulted, but their insulation and external sides are within feet of openings or draft-prone areas of the home. These openings should always be closed, unless they serve an air flow purpose. The reason the way these homes are built is so frustrating is because the home owner will often sense that something is wrong, that their home is not efficient enough, but they won’t be able to identify where the air is leaking from inside the home.
The external parts of walls that are left exposed can’t be seen from the inside of the home, and sometimes if they are high up they can’t be seen without taking out a ladder or even the blueprints to the home.
Almost as frustrating as the way homes are left unfinished is the amount of skimping contractors do on their insulation. Often we see a mere two or three inches of insulation, which have an R-Value (the ability of the insulation to resist heat conduction) of about 7.2-10.8. It’s only when you go to four or five inches and above that the R-Value approaches an appropriate conduction resistance for a home. Four inch insulation has a R-Value of about 14.4 (twice as much as two inches!), and five inch insulation has an R value of about 18.
Now of course we want to mention that four to five inches of insulation isn’t required all over the home. But we just want to bring to light the amount of efficiency down-sides we see on old and new homes alike. Home prices keep rising and you would expect proper insulation would be included with those prices!
The interesting thing about home insulation is that the majority of energy savings is due to the first inch of insulation. Adding more insulation, or adding it in places where it’s not present, will prevent the home from leaking air or losing more heat. Now the reason this is interesting, that the first inch of insulation is so important, is because the quality and age of insulation plays a big part in the energy efficiency it has. Some older homes have to have their entire insulation replaced because the first inch of it is of a low quality, or has been compressed over the years to where it no longer saves energy as well as it should.
In addition to insulating homes in the obvious ways, we have also picked up some ingenious solutions to boosting energy savings even more. These solutions include air sealing the leaks around switches and outlets, pipes, shower stalls, bath tubs, pull-down attic stairs and chimney pipes. It’s quite surprising that insulating something as “small” as an electrical switch or outlet can save so much electricity over a year. Yet it’s no different than a dripping faucet that drips a drop every year and ends up wasting 34 gallons of water. These small details are exactly like dripping faucets, and they all add up to a lot of money over the years if not properly taken care of.