In autumn and spring, mild temperatures make it easy to forget about your home’s energy efficiency. However, when your air conditioner or furnace kicks in during the summer and winter months, the energy wasted heating and cooling your home becomes painfully obvious, especially due to the price spikes in electricity and gas during the most extreme months. As the demand for electricity, gas and heating oil increases, so, too, do the prices for these commodities.
It turns out that the improvement that produces the most significant result is also the cheapest.
A lack of insulation often accounts for the biggest amount of energy loss in the average home. Heat escapes from homes during the winter and intrudes during the summer through a house’s envelope. This envelope consists of all the ceilings, floors, outer walls, windows and doors in your house. Simply by sealing this envelope, you can decrease your heating and cooling costs by an average of 20 percent.
You’ll want to peel back your old insulation and fill the large gaps you found with latex expanding foam sealant. Twelve-ounce cans of this sealant are usually available for around $5, and can be found at any home improvement store. This foam expands to fill and gaps, and allows your insulation to do its job. You can use exterior caulk for smaller holes.