Doesn’t it feel great to curl up with a warm blanket when you’re cold?
Well, your house can use some of that TLC, too. Think of insulation as a blanket for the needy systems in your home, helping to keep them warm and operating at peak efficiency all year round.
Take it from Chicago’s plumbing and HVAC experts – taking some time to add insulation now can save you big on money and stress down the line. Here’s what you need to know about insulation for your Chicago property:
Insulating Your Pipes and Water Heater
Spring, summer, or fall, there is plenty of value to be gained from insulating your home’s plumbing systems, specifically your hot water pipes and water heater.
Why? Insulating your pipes and water heater can help you save on your water bills by cutting back on your total usage; you won’t have to wait as long for hot water to reach your appliances, allowing you to waste less overall. By wrapping your pipes, you’ll also help prevent heat loss during transit, and may experience water two to four degrees hotter, on average.
These little advantages add up: Homes with insulated pipes can save up to $12 every single year, and adding insulation to your water heater can save you anywhere from 5-10% of the running cost of the unit, which may mean savings of more than $20 a year.
The best news? Adding insulation to your plumbing is a fairly straightforward DIY job. For pipes, it largely comes down to measuring your pipes, choosing your insulation material, cutting sleeves, and then securing them. For your water heater, you may need little more than a thermal blanket, which you may be able to get for free (or at least at a reduced cost) through your energy company.
For more details, be sure to check out our DIY guides:
Insulating Your Attic
You get your HVAC serviced once a year; you’ve read up on your radiators or forced-air heating system. In short, you’ve invested plenty of time and money in making sure your home stays warm and comfortable year-round.
We’ve got news for you, though: If the attic in your Chicago home isn’t insulated, you’re letting plenty of heat – and dollar bills – flow up and away unimpeded.
Fortunately, it’s easier to add insulation to your attic than you may think. Many contractors can take on and finish up this job fairly quickly, depending on the size of the area you’re insulating.
Taking on the job personally, as a DIY-er? You may need to invest some more time and money, but it may just be worth it: home buyers "are willing to pay an average of $1,446 extra for your home if your attic is insulated," according to the National Association of Realtors.
First and foremost, you’ll want to acquire insulation; Energy Star recommends that homes in Chicago use insulation boasting an “R-value” of 49 to 60 (this value refers to “insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it”). You’ll also have to decide what type of insulation will work best for you: “Fiberglass batts” is a blanket style of insulation that is fairly easy to roll out, while “loose fill” insulation blows out of a machine to fill in empty spaces.
You’ll also need to invest in safety precautions and materials, including gloves, goggles, facemasks, and coveralls, as insulation can be highly dangerous if mishandled. In general, if you have any doubts or questions, we’d recommend speaking with a professional – a lot can go wrong when dealing with insulation, let alone crawling around in an attic. Don’t put yourself in danger when help is readily available.
Have any more questions about maximizing the efficiency of your HVAC and plumbing systems? Looking for service for your water heater today? Drop J. Blanton Plumbing a line! Our team is here, and ready to help, day or night.