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PAGE 6 JANUARY 2012 LET’S SAVE ENERGY TOGETHER Block that draft!


Properly insulated homes lead to lower energy bills and increased comfort


BY JOHN DRAKE 


drafts in the winter or hot rooms in the summer. Then there’s the most uncomfortable pain of all—high electric bills.


H


One of the first things we ask members when doing a home energy audit is what type of insulation they have and where is it located.


We find that most homes with drafts aren’t properly insulated. Bad news is it takes more than a roll of the familiar pink fiberglass to solve the problem.


Think of insulation as a winter coat: The better your coat is at repelling cold and wind, the warmer you will be.


If insulation isn’t installed right, it’s not going to do its job. Typically, incorrectly placed insulation leaves gaps between walls and doors or windows, or where the ceiling meets the walls. Where there are gaps, cold air can seep in.


It’s all about air


Understanding air infiltration is only half the battle. You have to locate the source and stop it.


If you schedule a free energy audit with us, we can help you do that. Our thermal imaging camera helps us pinpoint exactly where your home loses air. Typical culprits include the roof, around doors and windows, recessed can lights, attic hatches and pull-down stairs, and unfinished basements or crawl


as your home sprung a leak? You’ll know if you’re leaking air if you notice chilly


spaces.


Don’t overlook the obvious—check where ceilings and floors meet the walls, too. Do you routinely have to clean a cobwebby corner? That’s a good indication of air infiltration because insects like fresh air.


Caulk, weather stripping, and expanding spray foam should take care of those problem areas listed above. You can also make a box of rigid foam board for the attic pull- down stairs.


Choosing Insulation


Insulation won’t do any good if you don’t have proper air barriers. While loose-fill fiberglass or fiberglass batts keep heat from moving in or out of your house, they do little to stop air flow. In fact, if every single joint and crack is not sealed with caulk or expanding foam, your fiberglass batt insulation does little more than catch dust.


Cellulose, made from recycled newspapers and blown in, provides good attic insulation because it does more to stop air flow. Foam insulation, is the most expensive, but it offers the highest R-value— the effectiveness rating given to insulation—and completely blocks air.


We can help determine the best type of insulation for your house and also help you work out a payback period on your investment. We also offer loans to help you pay for the cost of adding insulation.


In the meantime, check www. EnergySavers.gov for more information about insulation, and


use their ZIP code calculator to find out how much insulation you need for your location.


Remember, if you’ve got air leaks, you’re wasting money on heating and cooling. Don’t sacrifice your comfort or hard-earned dollar. Find those leaks—and stop’em.


If you wish to speak with a CEC energy use specialist about finding ways to save energy, please call John Drake or Mark Zachry at 800-780-6486, ext. 233. Remember, CEC offers FREE energy audits for co-op members.


CEC


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