Does your house always feel chilly in winter, even when you know your heater is going? Do you feel cold air drafts around doors and windows? If so, there’s a good chance that your home is not properly insulated. While you may not be able to see the leaks poor insulation can cause by just looking at your house, there’s a good chance that you will see them in your bank account. As it turns out, proper insulation isn’t just good for your home: it’s good for your wallet.
Here are three ways good insulation can help you save—or even make—money:
The average family spends about $1900 annually on utility bills. Of this amount, a whopping 54% goes towards heating and cooling costs. As you may know, poor insulation allows heated (or cooled) air to escape. This means your furnace and/or air conditioner have to work harder to keep your home at the desired temperature. This can have a huge impact on your utility bills and heating costs.
Research by The National Resources Defense Council recently found that the leaks in an average U.S. home could equal a 3 x 3 hole. That’s a lot of air! However, sealing one big hole would be much easier than finding all of the miniscule cracks and gaps most homes contain. Typically, about 25% of leaked air goes out through the roof. Attics with poor insulation can be a big problem in winter, since hot air rises. Another 25% of leaked air goes out through small gaps and cracks around doors and windows. Of the remaining 50%, 35% typically is lost through walls, and 15% through the floor. Proper insulation will seal these leaks, keeping hot (or cool) air in. It can also reduce heating and cooling costs by as much as 30%. Good roof insulation alone can lower your heating costs by up to 20%.
Did you know that proper insulation can get you some nice tax breaks? You can write off 10% of the cost of new insulation, up to $500. This applies to bulk insulation products, such as batts, rolls, and spray, as well as products that help seal leaks. Although the labor costs of installation are not tax-deductible, this is a lifetime credit. Be sure to save your receipts, and file form 5695 with your return.
Did you know that energy efficiency is become a big selling point in the real estate market? In fact, only ‘safe community’ ranked higher than ‘energy-efficient’ in a National Association of Home Builders’ survey of desirable home attributes that would have the biggest influence on a buyer’s decision to purchase a home. Many potential buyers, particularly millennials, are now asking to see two years’ worth of utility bills, so they can gauge the monthly costs of keeping a property heated or cooled. Of course, if you have your home’s insulation redone, you also have the option of putting aside the amount you’ve saved on heating and cooling, and putting into another upgrade or renovation.