Add Insulation to Increase Energy Efficiency
Adding Insulation can be one of the most cost effective ways to save energy. We recently added insulation to our attic over about 2/3 of the house and the cost was $600.00. We went from an R-24 to an R-54. The savings from this upgrade should pay for itself in a matter of several years.
Heating and Cooling account for 50 to 70% of the energy used in the average American Home. Because of the large portion of the overall energy bill, it makes sense to invest in the reduction of heat transfer.
There are four major types of insulation; batts, blankets, loose fill and low-density foams. The insulation is rated by its ability to stop heat transfer and given a number, an R value. The R value is the rated thermal resistance, the higher the value the better the resistance.
Most older homes have a low R value for the original insulation. The older the home the more likely it will have a lower R value. Adding insulation to areas that already have insulation will save you energy. And you can add insulation to areas that do not have insulation and save even more energy. An example of these areas might be an uninsulated floor over a garage or a crawlspace.
One way to determine your insulation R value and locate areas that do not have insulation but should is to have an energy audit performed on your home. Through the process they will determine the optimal areas that you could add insulation. You could also take a look in areas, such as your attic to determine the R value based on the thickness and type of insulation.
To find out how much insulation you should have go to the Energy Star's Website. They have a table that breaks down the optimal amount of insulation based on what climate zone you live in.
As far as having the work done, you could lay some batts in your attic or under an exposed floor cavity. However anything beyond that may require a professional installation. Walls can be tricky and blow in loose insulation requires a special blowing machine.