Insulation and air sealing

 Insulation and air sealing

2016 program changes:
Effective Jan. 1, 2016, we will be using the current U.S. Department of Energy recommendations for attic insulation instead of the 2009 IECC recommended values. Because Colorado is considered a northern, cold climate, the Department of Energy recommends an R-49 insulation rating in the attic.
2015 rebate requirements:
  • Earn up to $200 on qualifying installations.
  • You must be a Colorado Springs Utilities residential electric or natural gas natural customer.
  • Work must be completed by a licensed Colorado contractor. Do-it-yourself installation does not qualify for the rebate.
  • Complete rebate application in its entirety.
  • Final (post) insulation R-Value must meet the 2009 IECC Recommended R-Values for climate zone B (see application).
  • Provide a clear legible copy of your itemized invoice that shows Colorado contractor business name, address, phone number, purchase and/or install date, description of work, manufacturer, model, purchase price and proof of payment.
  • Provide a copy of your valid photo ID for proof of lawful residency.

Did you know?
Sealing and insulating the "envelope" or "shell" of your home — its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors, and floors — is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort. ENERGY STAR® estimates that a knowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10 percent on their total annual energy bill) by sealing and insulating.

  • Seal air leaks throughout the home to stop drafts
  • Add insulation to block heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer
  • If one of the leaks is through inefficient windows, replace them with ENERGY STAR qualified windows

Sealing leaks
Many air leaks and drafts are easy to find because they are easy to feel — like those around windows and doors. But holes hidden in attics, basements, and crawlspaces are usually bigger problems. Sealing these leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a great impact on improving your comfort and reducing utility bills.

Homeowners are often concerned about sealing their house too tightly; however, this is very unlikely in most older homes.  A certain amount of fresh air is needed for good indoor air quality and there are specifications that set the minimum amount of fresh air needed for a house.  If you are concerned about how tight your home is, hire a contractor, such as a Home Energy Rater, who can use diagnostic tools to measure your home's actual leakage. If your home is too tight, a fresh air ventilation system may be recommended.

After any home sealing project, have a heating and cooling technician check to make sure that your combustion appliances (gas- or oil-fired furnace, water heater, and dryer) are venting properly.  For additional information on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues related to homes, such as combustion safety, visit EPA’s Indoor Air Quality website.

Adding insulation
Insulation keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  There are several common types of insulation — fiberglass (in both batt and blown forms), cellulose, rigid foam board, and spray foam.

When correctly installed with air sealing, each type of insulation can deliver comfort and lower energy bills during the hottest and coldest times of the year.

Insulation performance is measured by R-value — its ability to resist heat flow. Higher R-values mean more insulating power. Different R-values are recommended for walls, attics, basements and crawlspaces, depending on your area of the country. Insulation works best when air is not moving through or around it. So it is very important to seal air leaks before installing insulation to ensure that you get the best performance from the insulation.

To get the biggest savings, the easiest place to add insulation is usually in the attic. A quick way to see if you need more insulation is to look across your uncovered attic floor. If your insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, you probably need to add more insulation.