No one likes to see dollars flying out through poorly insulated windows or giant gaps under exterior doors, so it’s likely you’ve put some thought and effort into making sure your home is well-insulated. However, there are a few extra places you may have missed. Here we’ll look at five oft-forgotten spots around your home to consider insulating.
There are probably close to 50 of these scattered around your house, and each one could be secretly siphoning heat out of your home. The Family Handyman says that a mere 1/8-inch gap around six boxes is equivalent to cutting a 4-inch hole in your ceiling.
Fixing this is easy, if a little fiddly and time-consuming. Just unscrew the outlet cover and seal the gaps around the electrical box. Depending on how large the gap is, you can either use a small amount of fire-proof acrylic latex caulk or foam sealant. Then place a foam gasket cover over the outlet and replace the cover.
The attic is one of the top culprits for heat loss, accounting for up to 25 percent of it. Your attic may be well-insulated in general, but what about that door you use to get up there?
There are a few different ways to insulate the attic door or hatch, depending on the type. First make sure to weather strip the door itself as you would with any exterior door. Insulate standard hatch doors with rigid foam board, using multiple layers to get between four and eight inches of total insulation. If you have a pull-down ladder attached to the door, you can purchase a pre-made attic stair cover or build your own.
Older recessed lights that protrude into an attic may not be properly insulated, effectively leaving a hole in your ceiling. The best solution is to replace the light fixture with a newer one that is designed to be airtight (ICAT rated). They can be sealed with caulk too, however because of the heat these throw off it needs to be done properly or you could create a fire hazard, so it’s best to consult with a professional before doing any caulking.
Walk around the exterior of your house and look for any holes where pipes, gas lines, electrical cables etc. feed into your home. Seal the gaps with expanding foam or caulk. Do the same thing in the attic. Lift up the insulation and look for electrical junction boxes and pipes, then seal and re-cover with insulation when dry.
If your garage door isn’t insulated and your garage is contiguous to your home, then you’ll definitely want to add some insulation. Does your garage double as a workshop, workout space or studio? Insulating it will make it a more comfortable place. This is another simple project. You can pick up an inexpensive garage door insulation kits from your local hardware store, or fashion your own using sheets of foil faced foam board cut to size.
Making sure your home is thoroughly insulated will help prevent heat loss in the winter months and cool air escaping in the summer, resulting in a more comfortable home and lower energy bills.
Jennifer Tuohy has 15 years’ experience in newspapers, magazines, marketing and online content. She writes on a variety of subjects, but her passion lies with technology, sustainability and the intersection of the two. She contributes to numerous websites, edits two local newspapers and is working on renovating her dream home. Jennifer also writes for the Home Depot, which carries a wide selection of insulation options.