The easiest way to cut home heating and cooling bills is to check your insulation and add more if it’s lacking. In the Orlando area, homes have insulation in the attic, around the ductwork and inside the exterior walls. It’s the first and most effective step to improve your home’s overall energy efficiency.
In the Attic
After putting on protective clothing and a breathing mask, use a rigid tape measure or ruler to determine the amount of insulation in the attic. Push it into the insulation next to a joist and note how thick it is.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that homes in this region have from 10 to 16 inches of insulation in the attic. Your roof is the most vulnerable place in the home for heat loss and gain, since it has full exposure to the weather 24/7.
Around the Ductwork
Most Florida homes have the ductwork running through the attic, and the lack of insulation around it will contribute to higher energy bills. Look for foil-covered insulation wrapping the ducts. Sometimes the insulation is inside the ducts, which you can easily check by removing a register cover in a room.
In the Walls
The easiest way to check your insulation in the walls is to turn off the circuit breakers to electrical outlets on exterior walls. Remove the faceplates and check inside. Newer electrical boxers are solid plastic and you may need to use a plumbing tool to check the insulation.
Look for a barbed nylon snake designed for clearing clogs in bathroom sinks and tub/shower drains. They’re rigid enough to insert into the wall cavity next to the electrical box. When you pull it out, the snake’s barbs will bring insulation fibers with it. Randomly check the outlets on exterior walls, especially in areas where rooms uncomfortable.
Once you check your insulation, you’ll know where you need to add more to reign in high energy costs. For more information, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions, providing HVAC and energy management services for Orlando-area homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).