Major Systems

Radio: The Insulation Perimeter

With energy costs ever on the rise, more homeowners are thinking of adding insulation to reduce energy use. Here's what you need to know as you consider your options.

Listen to ON THE INSULATION PERIMETER or read the text below:

First, see if your utility company or state energy department offers free or low-cost energy audits. An energy audit will help you identify which parts of your home are most in need of help, helping you prioritize the work you need to do.

If you do need to add insulation, remember that the goal is to create an energy-efficient perimeter around your living space. For example, you don't need heat or air conditioning in an unfinished attic, so insulating the attic floor establishes the perimeter there. If your attic is finished, however, it doesn't make sense to insulate the floor-your perimeter will be at the ceiling level.

Also keep in mind that proper insulation doesn't mean airtight. Your home still needs to breathe, and it has an optimal number of “air changes per hour” depending on its size and the number of occupants. Your energy auditor will be able to tell you the home's ideal number of air changes per hour, and how many it's currently getting. Eliminating drafts will help close the gap and get you closer to the ideal.

Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to-or reading-Bob's 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.