When winter rolls around, a lot of homeowners get itchy to make their homes a little more comfortable. Fortunately, many indoor projects can be completed without propping open windows or dealing with frigid temperatures.
For instance, replacing your doors can help you save energy, elevate your home’s visual appeal or make it more secure. You can also improve your interior doors by painting them, adding molding and installing decorative door knobs.
1. Insulate Your Attic
While most people don’t spend much time in their attics, this is an area that plays a major role in a home’s energy efficiency. Since warm air rises, a poorly insulated attic can cause your heating and cooling system to work harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Adding insulation to your attic is one of the best things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home, especially during winter. While you might be tempted to save this project for later, it’s important to insulate your attic as soon as possible to save on energy.
Before you start, clear the attic access door and lay down a sheet of plywood to protect the floor of your attic while working. Also, make sure you have a ladder and a good light as well as some tools. Begin by visually inspecting the existing insulation. If you find any sections that are missing or damaged, fill in those areas with rolled or blown insulation. If there are any gaps or holes around wires, exhaust fans, recessed lighting, chimneys and soffits seal those as well.
2. Add Insulation to Your Crawl Space
If your home has a crawl space under it, you’ll find that the floor there gets cold during the winter. In addition, uninsulated crawl spaces are subject to water leaks that can cost homeowners money in costly repairs and damage to their homes.
The best way to know if your crawl space is adequately insulated is to inspect it in person. Put on an N-95 mask and enter the crawl space through the access hatch. Check for signs of mold and dampness and see if the joists are warping or rotting.
There are several different types of insulation for crawl spaces, including rolled fiberglass, rigid foam boards, and spray insulation. Fiberglass is the most inexpensive option and can be used to insulate between floor joists. Rigid foam boards are another good choice and can be installed on the foundation walls of your crawl space to prevent moisture and heat loss. Finally, closed-cell spray insulation combines thermal and moisture protection, but it can be expensive. A professional insulation contractor can help you decide which type of insulation is right for your crawl space.
3. Add Insulation to Your Garage
Insulating your garage helps keep warm air from seeping into your house and vice versa. It also decreases heat loss, saving you money on heating and cooling bills.
You can use standard cotton-fiber batt insulation, which comes in compressed packages and is easily stuffed between studs. Make sure to wear gloves, goggles, and a face mask while handling the insulation. For walls that connect to rooms inside your home, place the insulation with the paper side facing the room. This will prevent contamination of the interior of your home.
If your garage already has drywall, you can hire a contractor to blow in cellulose insulation for an efficient solution. The contractor will open a hole in the drywall, spray a layer of cellulose into the wall, then patch the hole.
If your garage has no drywall or insulation, consider installing a vapor barrier. This will protect the insulation, studs, and exterior walls from moisture problems like rot and mold growth. You can purchase a roll of vapor barrier at most home improvement stores. If you’re using your garage as a living space, consider adding a mini-split system for a cost-effective way to heat it.
4. Add Insulation to Your Basement
Whether your basement is finished or unfinished, it’s important to have enough insulation to keep your home warm. You can add insulation to your basement by framing in walls with drywall and spraying foam on the exterior. It’s also a good idea to make sure your basement or egress windows are well-insulated, and that air ducts running through the basement are properly sealed and insulated.
In addition to insulating basement walls, you can also add insulation to the non-insulated rim joists and headers that rest on the foundation of your house. These are a major source of heat loss in homes. Rigid foam, such as closed-cell spray polyurethane, XPS, or EPS foam, can be adhered to the concrete wall and sealed with caulking or foam-compatible adhesive.
You can also use fiberglass batting or rock wool between the studs of your basement walls to increase energy efficiency. However, be aware that loose-fill insulation can promote moisture and mold problems if it gets wet. Foam board insulation is a better option since it resists moisture and can be cut to fit the space.