Are you breaking one of Dad's favorite rules and trying to "heat the whole neighborhood"? Well, if your home was built before 1980 the chances are that your home is under-insulated and you are allowing heat to rise up through your ceilings, into the attic, past the roof, and completely out of your house for good. Stick your head up into the attic and measure the amount of home insulation you have. If it's less than 11 inches then you need to add more.
Before you choose the insulation for your home, it helps to be familiar with "R-value". "R- value means, "resistance to heat flow," therefore, the higher the R-value, the better the insulating ability. Requirements vary depending on your location and what you'll be insulating (for example, attics need a higher R-value than walls). Check with a building inspector to learn the minimum R-values required in your area and for your project.
Inspect your windows and doors to keep cold air from seeping into your home. Lighting an incense stick and passing it around your windows will easily let you know if you have a leak. Especially of you do it on a windy day. Use a high quality caulking compound and seal up any cracks between the walls of the house and the window frames.
For other kinds of home insulation, look at the thresholds of your exterior doors. A gap of as little of ¼ of an inch is like having a 4-inch hole in an exterior wall. Over time, rubber thresholds tend to wear out and collapse leaving a gaping hole that allows cold air to rush into your home. Most thresholds can be removed easily to allow a new rubber insert to be installed.
If your home insulation is not up to par then you are probably wasting a lot of money on your energy bills. The fact is that the Department of Energy estimates that 44% of all energy used in an American home goes toward heating and cooling. If your home is under-insulated then a large part of your costly conditioned air is headed right outside to help "heat the whole neighborhood". Make sure to check your insulation today.
For more information on home insulation