How Can I Make My Home More Energy Efficient? – Part 2

Is your home ready for winter?” It may be the middle of summer, but as we mentioned in Part 1 of this series, now is the time to take care of those home improvement tasks you’ve been thinking about that will save you money in the winter. And who doesn’t want to have a little more cash around? At GAMA Air we want your home to be as comfortable and efficient as possible. And one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more comfortable and energy efficient is by sealing and insulating it.

We’ve already talked about locating air leaks, a major source of energy loss. Now what? Well, the key to any successful home improvement project is good planning. So first, gather all your tools and supplies before you get started. If you are working in a basement crawlspace or the attic then you especially want to minimize your trips in and out of these work areas. Make sure you have a good work light with you, and have a flashlight handy in case someone accidentally unplugs you.

Don’t be afraid to get dirty, ‘cuz it’s gonna happen! But prepare for it and your task will be easier. Get some knee pads for crawling in the basement or across attic joists. Get a lightweight coverall suit, and wear gloves and a hat. This will keep insulation off your skin and avoid that itchy, scratchy irritating feeling you could get working around insulation.

More than anything else… Be Safe! Start early in the day for attic projects since they can get over 100 degrees on a sunny summer day. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Wear an OSHA-approved, double strap mask to prevent inhaling dust or other particles in the air. Be very careful moving around in the attic. Take your time to step only on joists or trusses. One misstep onto just insulation or drywall and you could find yourself badly injured on the floor of the room below; with an ugly hole in the ceiling to patch. And don’t forget to avoid the sharp nails coming through the roof decking above you!

Here’s a checklist of materials you may need, depending on what you discovered in your survey in Part 1:

  • A batt or roll of unfaced fiberglass insulation and large garbage bags
  • Roll of reflective foil insulation or other blocking material such as drywall or pieces of rigid foam insulation to cover soffits, open walls, and larger holes
  • Silicone or acrylic latex caulk & caulk gun for sealing small holes (1/4 inch or less)
  • Several cans of expanding spray foam insulation for filling larger gaps (1/4 inch to 3 inches)
  • Special high-temperature (heat-resistant) caulk to seal around flues and chimneys
  • A roll of 14-inch wide aluminum flashing to keep insulation away from the flue pipe
  • Retractable utility knife and sheet metal scissors
  • Tape measure and staple gun (or hammer and nails) to hold covering materials in place
  • Safety glasses, gloves, and dust mask (for insulation work as well)
  • Flashlight or portable safety light
  • Boards to walk on, if needed
  • Large bucket to easily haul materials

The better your preparations are, the easier your project will be, and the quicker you will get done.

The next installment from GAMA Air about making your home more energy efficient is coming up soon. (UPDATE: Read Part 3 here!)

Want to know more? Visit our “Ask an Expert” page and send us your question!

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