Home Insulation Best Practices for Connecticut Homeowners
Insulation building code requirements in Connecticut have tightened up a lot over the years. New homes are built as efficiently as homes have ever been. However, the average home in Connecticut is about 50 years old.
Older homes lack modern insulation and are often drafty, leading to fluctuating indoor temperatures in winter. You can control your home's insulation by sealing cracks, weatherstripping and performing an energy assessment that can help you identify areas of weakness in your home's insulation.
Improving insulation in your home does more than make your indoor space more comfortable: it also saves money and energy. The EPA estimates that the average homeowner could save about 15% on heating and cooling costs just by improving their home's insulation.
Below we've listed some of the best ways to identify areas of weakness and control the temperature in your home. If you're thinking about hiring a home remodeling contractor to improve your home's insulation, download our free guide.
1. Get A Low-Cost Energy Audit
Did you know that your energy company will provide a low-cost energy audit to help you create a home energy plan? Every homeowner's experience is different, but below are some of the things that might happen during your home energy audit.
- Blower test. The blower door test determines your home's air tightness. Your energy auditor will use the blower door to test to identify air leaks, thus making it easier to improve your home's air tightness overall.
- Inspection with recommendations. Your energy auditor will take a tour of your home and recommend repairs and upgrades to improve your property's energy efficiency.
- Free products. Your energy auditor may provide free light bulbs or insulation, depending on the type of products that your home needs and the resources available to the energy auditor at the time of the inspection.
2. Weatherstrip Doors and Windows
Install strips of foam around your home's doors and windows to block air flow. Weatherstripping varies in quality. Lower quality weatherstripping needs to be replaced more frequently than higher quality weatherstripping. Some homeowners install new weatherstripping annually, others wait years.
How can you tell it's time for new weatherstripping?
- Weatherstripping is worn, damaged, cracked or permanently depressed or shrunken.
- You can see gaps between the door and the frame.
- You can feel drafts around your doors and windows.
- Your home is uncomfortable around doors and windows in the winter and summer.
- Indoor temperature fluctuations are getting increasingly worse.
3. Caulk and Seal
Caulking and weatherstripping go hand in hand. Caulking your home's exterior cracks (like the spaces around doors and window frames) can stop air infiltration and control indoor temperature fluctuations in winter. Caulking and sealing can also reduce the chances of your pipes freezing this winter.
Caulking and sealing only needs to be done every few years. You can tell it's time to replace caulking if it's started to crack or develop gaps.
4. Reglaze Loose Window Panes
Some older Connecticut homes have wooden windows with panes held in place by putty (called glaze). As the glaze gets older, it can become loose, chipped or cracked. Reglazing window panes tightens the seal between the glass and the wood, and prevents drafts.
You can reglaze your old windows, if you're handy, but take care: old windows are often painted with lead-based paint. Activities like sanding or cutting paint can create toxic dust that put your family, pets and other members of your household at risk. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead dust, but all people can be impacted by the presence of lead dust in their home.
For more information about performing home upgrades if your home has lead-based paint, see the Steps to Lead Safe Renovation, Repair and Repainting on the State of Connecticut government website. How can you tell if your home has lead-based paint? You can get a test done, or just proceed assuming that your home likely does have lead-based paint, if you don't want to pay for a test.
You can also avoid the whole issue by hiring a contractor who uses lead-safe practices. Your contractor can reglaze your old windows or talk to you about installing new windows, if you're interested.
5. Install New Door Sweeps
Door sweeps are designed to seal the gap between the bottom of the door and the threshold. Often, door sweeps are made of metal and rubber. However, if your front door is older and made of wood, wooden door sweeps are available. They're easy to stain or paint, so they can blend in.
Is your door a valuable antique? Work with an experienced contractor to improve the door's insulation without doing damage to the door itself. Your contractor can help you improve your whole home insulation without doing damage to older structures that should be preserved.
Get Started Improving Your Home Insulation Before Winter
Winter is around the corner. If you're hiring a contractor to improve insulation and efficiency in your home, contact a contractor you can trust. Call Litchfield Builders today to make your appointment to improve your home insulation, or download our Guide to Choosing a Professional Home Remodeling Contractor to learn more about making home improvements in Connecticut.
About Kevin Ahern
Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.