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Will adding insulation reduce our utility bill?

Will adding insulation reduce our utility bill?

We’re planning to add insulation to our house, in hopes that doing so will both reduce our utility bill and make our house more comfortable. We’ve spent the past couple of years working on thoroughly weatherizing our house. It’s been a slow process, since most of the things we needed to do were expensive. We finished replacing the windows and doors a few months ago, and are now ready to move on to the insulation. (Which will be our last task.)

I’m hoping that adding more insulation will help as dramatically with our electric bill as the other items did. I think it should be effective, but we’ll see. Web site estimates & energy-savings tip sheets all say that it could save “up to” 20%. That would sure be nice!

As far as I know, the insulation in our attic is original to the house, which means that it’s nearly 30 years old. The kind of insulation we have tends to settle down over time. Ours appears to have done so kind of randomly, since there are hills of it in some areas and valleys in the others. We currently have a maximum of about R-15 in our attic, but at least one area has no insulation at all, which is bad. Our utility company recommends having R-30 or higher, so we’re pretty far off from the recommended minimum amount. We are going to have enough blown-in insulation added to bring it up to R-49.

We did think about having a radiant barrier installed as well, but decided against that since it’s pretty expensive. We’re not sure that we’ll stay in this house long enough to make it worthwhile.

View Comments (5)
  • Adding insulation should save you money, but it might take a while to recoup your investment.

    Are you adding blown-in insulation, batts, or spray-foam? The spray foam is very effective, but quite a bit more expensive as well. And are you adding insulation just to your attic, or to your exterior walls as well?

    Either way, good luck!

  • We’re adding blown in insulation, just in the attic. Our walls are block so I don’t think anything can really be added there.

  • I just had insulation added to my house. I haven’t had a chance to see a difference in bills, since I’ve only had it a few weeks. But I could feel an immediate difference. The house seems to stay cooler when it is very hot outside. And the cost was minimal-$475. To me, it was definitely worth the investment, both for comfort and for utility bills.

  • I found that adding a radiant barrier to our attic was one of the best “green” investments yet. We have seen a noticeable difference in our energy bills and the radiant barrier will probably pay itself off in savings in just over a year at this rate. If you do the installation yourself, it has a better payback than blown in insulation.
    Although the insulation will help ALOT if you have ductwork in your attic, and no radiant barrier or insulation between that ductwork and the bottom of your roof, then that will negatively affect the efficiency of your heating/cooling system. Just having good insulation on your attic floor is great, but your ducts are still out there in an unconditioned space, exposed to heat in the summer and cold in the winter.

  • Do you know any good public companies that sell, manufacture, or install insulation? Now that would be a great investment…

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