People wear additional clothing in the winter to keep their bodies warm. We insulate ourselves to slow down the transfer of our body heat to the atmosphere. Building insulation does the same thing for our homes.
Having experienced the third coldest January on record, Im sure you did everything you could to insulate yourself to stay warm.
Perhaps during the record cold you identified some areas in your home that could benefit from additional insulation. Watching the snow melt on the roof of your house might have helped you recognize that you need more attic insulation.
You might have event felt the extreme cold coming in around windows, doors and outlets.
Insulation keeps valuable heat in during the winter season and keeps heat out during the summer. Insulation also helps maintain an indoor climate that is livable without excessive heating and cooling costs.
House insulation provides resistance to the flow of heat -- whether its heat escaping from a house during winter or entering the house during summer.
Fuel savings of about one-third in winter and summer can be obtained by properly insulating your home.
Smaller heating and cooling systems can be installed in an insulated home because less heat is lost in the winter and less heat is gained in the summer.
Smaller systems can mean a large savings in the initial equipment investment and reduced utility bills throughout the year.
Another benefit to an insulated house is evenly maintained temperatures. Cold floors and chilly drafts are eliminated when insulation is combined with an adequate conditioning system.
Condensation, or sweating, on walls can be reduced to a minimum by the use of insulation and proper ventilation. For complete control of condensation, a moisture barrier on the air-conditioned side of the wall is needed.
Insulated walls are much warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Insulation results in a smaller temperature difference between the inside wall surface and the room temperature.
The best and least expensive time to insulate is when a home is being built.
There is a limit to materials that can be satisfactorily used after construction is completed.
For instance, it is impossible to install batt insulation into an existing wall without removing the interior finish material. Blown-in insulation could work if a moisture barrier is provided.
However, in most cases, a moisture barrier does not exist. Without some type of moisture barrier, blown-in insulation could cause serious moisture problems.
It is also difficult to insulate around heating ducts, plumbing, windows and doors in existing walls.
Specialists with the University of Georgia Extension say the easiest and most affordable place to add insulation to an existing home is in the attic. To determine if there is enough insulation in your homes attic, measure the thickness of the insulation.
In Georgia, the typical recommended thickness is R-49 for attics, R-18 for walls and R-25 for floors, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
To maximize the benefit of attic insulation, seal any potential attic air leaks such as areas around lights and fans, electrical and plumbing entryways, knee walls and open stud cavities.
Once you have identified some of the air leaks in your home, you can caulk, weatherstrip and seal duct leaks.
Walk, garden, dance, swim or yoga your way across Georgia. Its time to get moving! Youre invited to join us for a virtual stroll through Georgia.
Walk Georgia is a free 12-week program sponsored by the University of Georgia Extension. It is designed to increase your physical activity in a fun, community-oriented way. You may participate as an individual or as a part of a four-person team to track your progress.
The goal is to be active -- whether youre walking, biking or playing Frisbee. Move more, and enjoy living more!
Track your progress. An online map lets you chart your virtual course across Georgia and learn facts about our states 150 counties along the way.
The goals of Walk Georgia are to help you:
Develop regular physical activity habits.
Get healthier and more physically fit.
You may participate as an individual or part of a four-person team. Participating on a team does help to keep you motivated!
To participate as a team, find three other people to be on your team and register them when you register the team.
You will need their email addresses so they can set up their own Walk Georgia accounts.
Walk Georgia will send the teammates email notices to set up their own Walk Georgia reporting pages.
Register for Walk Georgia now at www.walkgeorgia.org. Walk Georgia runs through April 26.
Jan Baggarly is Macon-Bibb County Extension coordinator with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension working in the field of Family and Consumer Sciences. Contact her at 478-751-6338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.