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According to the EPA and Department of Energy (DOE), adding insulation to your existing home is one of the most cost effective home improvements you can make for saving energy, lowering carbon emissions and reducing your utility bills.
The DOE’s Energy Star website says, “The attic usually has the most potential for energy savings. Start with the attic if you want to have the highest impact on savings and comfort. Always do attic air sealing before adding insulation.” Next to adding attic insulation, air sealing and insulating the crawlspace or basement are a close second.
When it comes to insulation, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, money truly can buy happiness. “It’s the wisest way to invest that I know of,” he says. “A well-insulated house will make you more comfortable in every season. And it’s quieter, too.”
Whether it’s thick blankets of fiberglass batts, mounds of spray foam, or layers of blown-in loose fiberglass or cellulose, all insulation works the same way: by trapping tiny air pockets that slow the movement of heat out of a house in winter and into a house in summer. Its effectiveness at resisting this movement is called its R-value; the higher the value, the lower your energy bills.