The importance of proper insulation in Connecticut homes and how to achieve it through renovation
Connecticut can be bitterly cold in winter, and dangerously hot and humid in summer and spring. In fact, just last month Bradley Airport reached a record high of 92 degrees on April 13. If it's getting that hot now, just imagine how hot we'll all be in mid-July.
What's the secret to staying comfortable year round in Connecticut? Good insulation.
Homes built today need to be insulated to R60, which is 18 inches of insulation to protect your home from extreme temperatures outdoors. That's a lot of insulation - and a huge jump over insulation requirements of the past. If you live in an older home, your property is very likely under-insulated by today's standards. Working with a professional home remodeling contractor, you can improve your home's insulation and keep your home more comfortable throughout the year.
Why Do You Need Proper Insulation In Connecticut?
There are four good reasons to ensure that your CT home is properly insulated.
- Comfort. A poorly insulated home will lose or gain heat through the ceilings, walls and floors, causing your home's HVAC system to work harder and longer than it should just to make your house a comfortable place to be.
- Home value. What's good for maintaining a comfortable environment inside your home is good for your home's value.
- Save energy. Improving insulation is good for the environment and helps reduce your home's carbon footprint.
- Save money. What saves energy also saves you money on your monthly utility bills.
Signs Your Home is Under Insulated
There are many signs that your home lacks proper insulation, but below are some of the most common red flags.
Fluctuating temperatures. Your HVAC system will help you reach a comfortable temperature, but it's insulation that helps keep it that way. If it seems like your home swings back and forth between hot and cold as the HVAC system turns on and off, this is a sign that your home needs more insulation.
Hot spots, cold spots. Stuffy rooms, cold rooms - all are signs that your home is being negatively impacted by heat from the sun or cold temperatures when it gets cold outside.
Ice dams in winter. Ice dams occur when hot air near the peaks in your home's roof causes snow on the roof to melt. When the melting snow reaches the colder eaves, it refreezes and creates a backup of ice.
Tips for Fast, Easy Insulation Improvements
Insulating after the fact may sound like an invasive and time-consuming process, but it doesn't have to be. It doesn't take much to make fast, easy improvements to your home's insulation.
Boosting Attic Insulation
The attic is an accessible part of the house that's also a big source of heat loss. Many older homes have under-insulated attics.
How can you tell if your attic needs insulation?
Look for the joists, which are between 8 and 10 inches high. If the insulation isn't covering your joists, then there isn't enough insulation in the attic. It's easy enough to roll fiberglass batts over your attic joists and almost instantly improve your home's insulation.
Weatherstripping isn't exactly insulation, but it does do its part to prevent heat loss and control the interior environment in your home. Especially in older homes, it's important to examine your home's weatherstripping periodically to look for places where your weatherstripping can be improved.
While many homeowners do this work themselves, you may benefit from hiring a contractor to do it for you. Anyone can buy the foam strips from a home improvement center, but there are carpentry-related tools and techniques that you'll benefit from if you hire a contractor.
Should You Insulate In the Walls?
While it's possible to install blow insulation into your walls, you may find that insulating your attic properly does the job well enough. If you do choose to insulate your walls, hire a contractor to get the work done efficiently and correctly.
Importance of Hiring a Contractor For Insulation
While there's not a lot of skill to installing insulation in the attic, the number one mistake homeowners make when they install insulation is not installing enough. If you hire a contractor to do the work for you, you'll get more value for your money, because your contractor will know how much to install and how to do fill the space right.
If you're hiring a contractor to install your insulation, remember the tips of hiring the right contractor for the job:
- Shop around. Vet a couple contractors before settling on the right professional to do the work.
- Compare bids. Pay attention to the details of each proposal, especially if one contractor is charging dramatically lower than the others. The contractor that charges less might be skimping on materials or charging less for labor by hiring unskilled workers.
- Hire a licensed professional. When you're hiring a contractor to do work on your house, hire someone who is licensed in the state of Connecticut.
Installing Insulation in Connecticut? Download the Guide to Hiring a Contractor.
Before hiring someone to insulate your house, start by finding the right contractor for the job. Litchfield Builders produced a guide to hiring a contractor that can help you find the right contractor for your upcoming home improvement. Download our guide to get started with the process.
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.