A summers ago we purchased our house and noticed after the first snowfall …. actually after the first time our utility bill arrived after the first snow fall that our house was going to cost A LOT of money to heat. It’s really hard when you move into a house without cutting holes in the walls to find out the amount of insulation it actually contains. Ours being an older home in St. Paul (1918) was seemingly built to code at the time it of course was going to either be cold or expensive to heat. The existing insulation consisted of (from outside in) Siding – Tar paper – 3.5″ air void – lathe and plaster. Which happens to be a very inefficient heat combination.
Prior to buying our house we either live in apartments that had the utilities paid or we lived in a very cold winter time apartment. There isn’t very much you can do in apartments to keep your house warm more cheaply than when you move in. Being one of the few advantages of buying a home is that you can modify it with the correct permits pretty much whenever you want. Lucky for me, Insulation without removing the walls is less expensive that the $500 threshold that the City of St. Paul requires a permit for. With the purchase of a few bags of blow in insulation, a free insulation blower (with the purchase of said insulation) and less than 4 hours of my time my home was much warmer at much less cost. How much warmer? I still kept the temp stuck at the 65 F till I knew how much the cost would change with new insulation installed and it quite literally turned out to be just over $100 a month for a full heating month cutting my bill in half. Which seemed like a huge amount of savings considering I put in just over $100 into insulation.
My home was built with balloon construction which means I could literally spray the blow in insulation down my wall and insulated everywhere but underneath headers with are over the windows. Most people will not be able to make nearly the difference that I was, but usually can make a huge dent with simply adding spray in insulation in their existing attics if they either (in my case) have none or don’t have enough. Depending on how your house is set up you can use rolls of insulation, but I usually find that to have little benefit in heat savings, placement or cost savings. If you are planning on owning your home for more than a year or two I would definitely look into adding insulation because it pays for itself and can make your home much more comfortable.
Has anyone else added insulation and noticed a difference? Or do you live in comfort knowing you made a change but don’t document it? Do you know how well your home is insulated or if you can make changes?