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How to insulate your house on a budget?

Whether you embrace it or not, winter has made its presence.  Like it or not, it will stick around for a long time.

If your home lacks proper insulation, you may find yourself facing hefty heating bills. Last winter, the average heating oil bill in Maine amounted to $2,046. While it’s accurate that the cost of oil has decreased since the previous winter, can you genuinely expect it to remain low throughout the entire winter season?

However, insulation serves a broader purpose beyond maintaining warmth in winter and coolness in summer. It plays a crucial role in enhancing energy efficiency, ensuring comfort, and shielding your house from the elements. Now, what are some approaches we can use to enhance insulation?

This blog aims to address this question by providing valuable insights into budget-friendly insulation solutions.  From straightforward tips like draught-proofing to exploring cost-effective materials like fiberglass insulation, we will delve into expert recommendations to assist you in achieving a cozy home without breaking the bank. 

Whether you are undergoing renovations or simply aiming to enhance your home’s thermal efficiency, this guide serves as your pathway to affordable warmth and comfort.

Draught-proofing your home

Preventing cold air infiltration into our homes is essential, and this process is known as draught-proofing. Here are some simple methods we can employ:

  • Close gaps around windows and doors using draught excluders.
  • Seal off unused chimneys.
  • Install covers on keyholes and letterboxes.
  • Apply flexible sealant around pipework to eliminate draughts.
  • Additionally, insulating pipes with pipe lagging or insulation can contribute to heating cost savings.

Add Thick Curtains

Consider solutions like Thermaliner blackout curtains to retain heat within your home. If investing in new curtains isn’t your preference, you can enhance your existing ones inexpensively by adding a liner, such as fleece or even a PVC shower curtain

Keep the curtains open during daylight hours to allow sunlight to enter and naturally warm your home. As evening falls, close the curtains to trap the warmth inside.

Fix Drafty Doors

Craft a “door snake” using everyday household items to effectively block cold air from entering beneath your door. Materials like old socks, pillow stuffing, and even popcorn kernels can be utilized for this purpose. Discover detailed step-by-step instructions on creating your own door snake here.

Investing in a smart thermostat

For homeowners seeking to reduce energy costs, opting for a smart thermostat is a prudent decision. These advanced thermostats enable remote temperature control of your home through your smartphone or other devices. 

This functionality allows you to tailor heat settings according to your presence at home or when you’re away, ensuring energy consumption only when needed. By programming your smart thermostat to lower the temperature during your absence and warm it up before your return, substantial savings on heating expenses can be achieved.

Furthermore, certain smart thermostats boast features that learn your routine, automatically adapting the temperature for optimized comfort and efficiency.

Plug your Chimneys when not in use

According to a study, a household’s heating bill increased by 30 percent when the residence had a malfunctioning or missing fireplace damper.   Inadequate sealing of the fireplace flue may result in substantial heat loss through the chimney. To address this issue, consider using a “chimney balloon” – an inflatable balloon covered in laminate that effectively seals the chimney opening.

These balloons are available for purchase at $40 to $50, or alternatively, you can craft your own chimney balloon using common household items like cardboard and bubble wrap. Just ensure to remove the balloon before lighting a fire!

Seal your Attic Air Leaks

Typically, a significant amount of heat in homes tends to escape into the attic, providing no benefit.  While insulating the attic with foam is a effective method to reduce heating costs, an economical alternative involves utilizing reflective foil material. By securing the foil sheets to the attic roof rafters using staples, you can redirect the heat that contacts the rafters back down into the living space of your home.

Replace your windows with double glazing

Double glazing incorporates an inert gas like argon or a vacuum between two glass panes to minimize heat transfer. Although the initial cost may be high, the long-term benefits include substantial savings on heating expenses, as a significant amount of heat tends to escape through glass.

It’s essential to note that for older or listed buildings, options may be more restricted. Thus, it is advisable to consult with a professional before undertaking any measures. A more economical alternative is secondary glazing, serving as a temporary option to double glazing. This involves fitting a glass or plastic pane parallel to the window. While not as efficient as double glazing, it effectively mitigates heat loss until upgrading becomes a viable option for the user.

Eco-friendly insulation materials

Discover budget-friendly insulation options that are environmentally friendly for homeowners. Cellulose insulation, crafted from recycled paper, offers outstanding thermal performance. Another choice is sheep’s wool insulation, known for being sustainable, non-toxic, and biodegradable. Cork insulation stands as an additional eco-friendly option, offering commendable acoustic and thermal properties. 

These materials not only contribute to lowered energy consumption but also have minimal environmental impact. Opting for these eco-friendly insulation alternatives allows homeowners to save money while enhancing the energy efficiency and sustainability of their homes.

Moreover, implementing insulation in the attic or roof using materials such as fiberglass insulation or blown-in insulation can yield substantial energy savings. Keep in mind that determining the most suitable insulation type for each area relies on considerations like budget constraints and specific requirements. Seeking guidance from professionals and investigating potential grants is always beneficial to make informed and cost-effective decisions for your home.

What is the Best Budget Home Insulation?

To minimize heat loss, make sure your ductwork is properly insulated and sealed with foil tape or mastic. Duct leaks can waste a large quantity of energy.

Consult with an expert if you have any worries regarding the insulation in your house. A qualified home energy auditor can pinpoint particular problems and suggest the best fixes during an energy audit. It is better to leave complex installations to the professionals, such as spray foam or exterior insulation. Additionally, they will make sure your house is adequately ventilated to stave off the spread of mold and mildew.

When you’ve made improvements to your insulation, keep an eye on your energy costs and do routine maintenance checks to assess the results of your work. The energy savings, comfort, and general performance of your home make improving the insulation of your house a worthwhile investment.

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