Insulating your home can reduce your heating bill while maintaining indoor temperatures more efficiently. You can take a variety of inexpensive, easy steps to improve your insulation. We’ve put together three insulation methods to get you started.
1. Replace your furnace filter
A monthly filter change can keep your furnace free of dirt and particle buildup, which restricts air flow.
Why a clean filter is important
- It reduces the energy needed to regulate temperature and air circulation.
- It prevents dust, allergens, and other particles from entering your home.
- Regular filter changes can lower the risk of more costly repairs caused by lack of maintenance.
Three steps to replace your filter
1. Determine the filter you’ll need.
Start by turning off your furnace. First, you’ll need to take note of the filter’s placement. Note the original filter’s position and orientation and look for an arrow that signifies the direction of airflow. It’s a good idea to mark this direction on the outside of the furnace with a permanent marker to avoid confusion later. Also take note of its size before buying a replacement.
Note: Filters with plastic frames are reusable. They require regular cleaning with a vacuum and water—done most easily outside. Be sure any filter is completely dry before reinserting it.
2. Choose a replacement filter.
You can buy a new filter at a home improvement center, hardware store, or online. Most replaceable filters are 1-2 inches thick, but home filters come in widths of up to 5 inches. If you want to keep your replacement DIY, you’ll need to buy a filter that your furnace is already equipped to handle. This will likely be the same width as your original filter.
3. Replace the filter.
Identify the orientation of the new filter—there should be markings that show where each side should face. Insert it back into place with its cover, if it has one. Record the date to remember when to replace it again.
2. Spray insulation foam to reduce air leakage
Liquid foam insulation is relatively simple to use, but large-scale projects often require professional installation. It can be injected, poured, or sprayed from a can into a variety of places to improve temperature control:
- Behind walls
- Under floors
- Attic surfaces
- Small holes or cracks
- Around electrical/plumbing entrances
There are several forms of liquid foam insulation, which must be combined with a foaming agent to apply. Common materials in liquid insulation products include:
- Polyisocyanurate (polyiso)
Most homeowner-friendly liquid foam insulation is applied with a spray can. Foam insulation kits range widely in price, so consider whether a professional service outweighs the time and cost specific to your insulation needs.
To insulate minimal problem-areas on your own, look for small cracks and holes that could be leaking air, and follow instructions on the foam insulation kit to seal them.
3. Take advantage of natural light
Natural light often goes unrecognized for its ability to heat and cool a space. In the winter, try leaving drapes or blinds open to let warmth build throughout the day.
The U.S. Department of Energy calls this process “daylighting”. It recommends allowing maximum winter light to enter your home through south-facing windows, which double as energy-savers through the summer with reduced direct sunlight.
Of course, this only works if your windows and frames are sealed properly. To find out more about air leaks and solutions, check out our blog on sealing your home.