(ARA) - Do-it-yourself home improvement projects are more popular than ever, as homeowners are looking for simple, low cost ways to update their household and increase overall home efficiency. Kitchen upgrades and a fresh coat of paint can make a big difference aesthetically, but sometimes the most effective DIY projects happen in areas not always visible.
For example, small insulation changes are easy and can help improve indoor comfort. Additionally, ensuring adequate insulation can have a significant positive impact on your monthly heating and cooling costs year round.
While it may seem as though your home is airtight, cracks and gaps that are not easily seen can cause air infiltration, as well as the loss of conditioned indoor air. Not only can reduced air infiltration cut the cost of energy bills, it can also help improve the indoor air quality of the home.
"Now is a great time to tackle those air sealing and insulating projects to ensure your home is as comfortable as possible this winter season," says Matt Girand, director of products and programs for Owens Corning Residential Insulation, LLC. "From insulating to sealing around windows and doors, there are a number of DIY options available to homeowners that can be completed in as little as one hour, but will last year round."
Start from the top
The core of a home's comfort and energy efficiency lies in its insulation, and adding a layer of insulation in your attic can be completed in a few easy steps. First, determine how much insulation is already in your attic, the Department of Energy (DOE) recommends a minimum of 18 inches of attic insulation for most areas of the United States. As a general rule, if you can see the floor joists in your attic, your insulation is not thick enough. Owens Corning offers a number of tools, including an insulation calculator
to help homeowners determine exactly what they'll need to insulate their home.
Adding a layer of insulation to your attic is easy, fast and affordable. Owens Corning(TM) EcoTouch(R)
insulation will bring more comfort to your home and reduce monthly heating and cooling costs year round. Although savings vary, you can find out why in the seller's fact sheet on R-values. Higher R-values mean greater insulating power. EcoTouch Insulation is manufactured with 58 percent recycled content and verified to be formaldehyde free.
Seal it up
Cracks along windows and doors allow air and pollutants to seep into the home, and conditioned air to exit. To determine where air leaks might be located in your home, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends checking areas such as baseboards, or around doors and wall or window-mounted air conditioners, for signs such as missing weather stripping that indicate air might be filtering in and out. Gaps around pipes and wires, electrical outlets and foundation seals should also be examined. If you have difficulty locating leaks, visit EnergySavers.gov to learn how to execute a basic building pressurization test.
Once you've uncovered the location of the leaks in your home, the next step is to address the problem. Hardware stores sell self-adhering weather stripping and window insulation kits that are affordable and effective. To close gaps around pipes and vents, consider purchasing caulk to seal the opening.
Proper ventilation is also important to ensure optimal indoor air quality. According to The Alliance for Healthy Homes, proper ventilation can control indoor humidity and airborne contaminants. One way to promote ventilation in areas of the home that may be more susceptible to moisture is to install exterior exhaust fans. Commonly needed in a home's kitchen or bathrooms, exterior fans help push damp air outside.
Whether you reside in a warm climate or the Snow Belt, proper insulation and ventilation in the home can result in better indoor air quality and greater comfort, for the winter season and beyond. For more information, visit www.OwensCorning.com