Winterization and Insulation:
Lowering Winter Energy Costs
During the winter, heat is constantly trying to move from the point of high concentration at your homes interior, to the point of low concentration at the exterior. Thinking back to your sixth grade science class, recall that
heat loss generally occurs through conduction through the walls to the exterior, and convection of the heat to the attic through the ceiling.
Energy loss can also occur through wind driven air around penetrations through the exterior siding and veneer, i.e. windows, doors, pipes, etc.
That's why it is important to minimize the heat loss through these areas as much as possible to gain the greatest energy savings.
Insulation: The Basics
It goes without saying, that insulation at the attic is usually the easiest and most cost effective way to lower energy costs.
If you live in a home that is greater than 20 years old, it is highly likely that the insulation levels in your attic do not meet current installation standards for newer energy efficient contstruction.
As a general rule for our northeast region of Oklahoma, insulation should be installed at the attic to achieve an insulating value of R-30 or better.
That means the nominal depth of the insulation in your attic should be as follows:
Fiberglass Batt 9.5" Loose 13.5" Rock wool Batt 8.5" Loose 10.5"
Cellulose Loose 8.5"
If you are not certain of the type of insulation you have, collect a sample in a zip lock bag and take it to your local builders supply for identification. When adding insulation, it is usually best to stick with the same type insulation for consistency in determining overall R-value.
I know this one seems obvious, but it is extremely important to seasonally check the caulking around windows and doors, as well as penetrations of air conditioning, cable, telephone lines, etc. through the exterior siding. Not only will this reduce heat loss, it will help minimize moisture and pest entry as well. You should also check he condition of your sweep, threshold, and weatherstip seals of your exterior entry doors. These are often neglected due to being concealed at the base of the door and along the interior of the door frame.
Beyond Insulation: What's New
There are an abundance of home improvements you can perform for additional energy efficiency from upgrading to thermal windows and doors, which can run several thousands of dollars, to simple, easy to install products for less than $25.
For older homes with original wood windows which are notorious for heat loss and infiltration, installation of interior window film shrink wrap is an inexpensive and easy option.
For pull down attic stairs, there are now insulating frame kits which can be installed in the attic sealing it against heat loss.
There are even anti back-drafting exterrior dryer vent covers available and switch plate/receptacle insulators to minimize wind driven infiltration, as well as overhead garage door draft seals and insulating kits.
For additional energy saving products and tips, or to schedule an in office power point presentation on this or any other home inspection related topics, please feel free to contact our offices at 918/812-8954 or
You can also visist the U.S. Dept. of Energy website at:
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