Even in Portland’s mild climate, heating and cooling can get expensive. Good home insulation helps maintain your indoor temperatures so you can run your A/C or heating less and keep your bills low.
Attic and Walls
When upgrading your insulation, start with the attic. In winter, warm air from your furnace rises and will escape through an insufficiently weatherized attic. In warm weather, the sun hitting your roof can heat your attic to over 100 degrees. This heat passes into your rooms, making more work for your A/C. To minimize unwanted heat transfer, the insulation in your attic should reach a total R-value of between R-38 and R-60.
If your walls feel chilly in winter, they most likely need more insulation. To find out for sure, schedule a home energy audit, during which an HVAC technician will analyze your home’s heat loss and gain. Loose-fill cellulose insulation can be added without the need to tear out the walls.
Floors and Basement
Chilly floors in winter also warrant more home insulation. A layer of loose-fill cellulose between R-20 and R-38 can work well here. To improve your basement’s energy efficiency, insulate the rim joists. Cut rigid foam insulation to fit in the spaces between the floor joists. Run a bead of caulk or apply spray foam around each piece of insulation to seal them in place.
Optimal crawl space insulation depends on whether the space is ventilated or not. An unventilated crawl space can be weatherized with a layer of 6-mil polyethylene sheeting on the floor to create a vapor barrier and rigid foam insulation on the walls.
Don’t Forget the Ducts
Ducts passing through unconditioned spaces, such as the basement, should be covered with either batt-form insulation or duct wrap to an R-6 level. This helps maintain the temperature of the air in the ducts as it travels to your rooms. Before installing duct insulation, make sure the duct joints are securely fit and sealed with mastic or heat-resistant tape.
For more pro tips on optimizing your home insulation, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling anywhere in the Portland area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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