Insulation for a more comfortable home


Winter is coming. Freezing temperature can mean large utility bills and a huge waste of energy if your home isn’t insulated properly. Adding insulation to your walls and attic isn’t hard and it can pay off immediately in energy and cost savings. Here are some great tips that will show you fast and easy ways to insulate your home right.


Manufacturers now produce batts with higher fiberglass densities, so you can buy 3-1/2-in.-thick batts with R-11, R-13 or R-15 thermal resistance values. The higher the number, the better the insulation. The high-density R-15 batts are best, but they cost more than twice as much as R- 11 batts. Balance the price with the insulation requirements of your local building codes. In most cases, low- or medium-density insulation is adequate.


The key to a quality insulating job is tight-fitting batts that completely fill the stud cavity with no voids or gaps. Push batts all the way to the back of each stud space and then pull out the front edges until they’re flush with the face of the studs. You’ll need a utility knife with a good supply of sharp blades, a tape measure and a straightedge, and a 3- or 4-in. putty knife for stuffing insulation around doors and windows. Fiberglass can irritate your throat and skin, so wear protective gear.


Here’s a faster, cleaner way to cut fiberglass insulation. Use a hedge shears to slice through the insulation. Unlike a utility knife, the shears won’t spread loose tufts of insulation all over, and the best part is, you stay itch free.


Split batts to fit around electrical cables. Tear the batt in half, starting from the bottom. Slide one half behind the cable and lay the other half over the top. If you have plumbing pipes on an outside wall, insulate behind them, but leave the side facing the interior uncovered to allow heat from the house to keep the pipes warm.


The shim space around windows and doors is a prime spot for air leakage. Stop these leaks by reaching to the back of this space with the straw type nozzle included with a can of expanding foam insulation and applying a bead around the perimeter. Let it cure at least an hour before stuffing the remaining space with a thin strip of fiberglass. The insulation should fit snugly, but don’t pack it.

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