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Is Your House Cold-Blooded, Or Warm-Blooded?
When it comes to improving energy efficiency in your home, the first thing that probably comes to most people's minds would be energy star appliances and fluorescent bulbs. However, did you know that you can reduce your utilities expenses by as much as 20% by improving the insulation in your home?
Often overlooked, insulation is what protects the inside of your home from the outside elements – hot air, cold air, and condensation. A poorly insulated home is like a cold blooded reptile – if it's hot outside, it's hot inside. When it's freezing cold outside, so is the inside of your home. Proper insulation is the difference between living comfortably, or living in a house dependent on air conditioning or heating.
The first step to improving your home's insulation would be to figure out what type of insulation you already have. A good place to start would be the attic, or any other areas of the house where the walls are usually exposed (such as a basement or garage). If you can find an area where the insulation is exposed, you'll be able to determine both the material and the thickness. Insulation is measured in R-values and the higher the number, the more resistant to outside temperatures it will be. The type of insulation is less important – whether it's batt, rolled, reflective, blown-in, or spray foam, they all work in the same way. There are also insulations made specifically for soundproofing. The R-value should be based on the climate of where you live. The more extreme conditions you have, the higher R-value your insulation should be for your home.
If you find yourself living uncomfortably because of the weather, it may be time to consider replacing your home's insulation.