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Home Insulation – DIY or Pro?

Posted by Nathan Fournier on
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New England residents are all too familiar with the impact of the four seasons, most notably winter.  Each year they see the common sights of salt mounds,  signs searching for truck drivers with snow plows, weather forecasters predicting the possible blizzards ahead.  They’re preparing the not-so-long forgotten winter boots, hats, scarves, gloves and down jackets.  Another winter busting method folks are taking care of is their home insulation.

After a grueling winter when the last of the snow has finally melted and the Red Sox are in Spring training, Spring cleaners are also assessing any damage caused to their home from the heavy weighted piles of snow and sheets of ice underneath.  They’re also going through finances in preparation for tax season hoping for a nice refund to finally get the house properly prepped for what will inevitably be another cruel winter.  Prepped by revamping their home insulation.

Home insulation, in case you’re unclear, is not just for winter.  It acts as a barrier to prevent heat from getting out in winter but it also helps keep the heat from DIY insulation, air sealing, and weatherizationgetting in during the summer. Much like an insulated drink container that can keep hot and cold beverages at optimum temperature.

Homeowners quickly learn how to make simple repairs and updates around the home lest they spend more money than they would like on professional help.  Home insulation, though many have tried, is one of those big ones that can and should be done right, with the help of energy efficiency experts.   A quick trip to the hardware store leaves you feeling a little dumbfounded with R-value differentials, flame retardant grades, water-resistant levels, not to mention cellulose, fiberglass, foam spray.  Before you can even think about what materials you need and at what level you first have to perform a complete evaluation of your entire home. If you’re going to insulate your home, you might as well get the whole hog, right?

Review your current insulation as there might be old materials in need of replacement. This includes insulation in your attic, walls, crawlspace, basement ceiling, the insulation around pipes to name a few. Be mindful of old materials as there may be harmful substances such as fiberglass, mold, mildew, animal infestations etc.  The eave vents in your attic might benefit from baffle insulation. Then there are the seals around lights, vents and windows and doors. All this on top of keeping up with current building and energy efficiency codes.  Cutting corners on this might have negative effects on the value of your property.

If you have the time to the research, or already have the know-how. And you have the correct tools for each job plus the finances required to make all the product purchases then, by all means, have at it.

For the rest of us, we’ll be sticking with the professionals.  If you live in the New England area, or more specifically Massachusetts, you might be happy to learn about a state incentive program called “Mass Save”.  Mass Save collaborates with gas and electricity providers and energy efficiency experts to provide services across the state for homeowners looking to make improvements to their property.  They offer incentives, rebates, and information, discounted services to qualifying applicants and more.

One of the Mass Save partners is Energy Protectors. If you can’t wrap your head around open-blow cellulose attic insulation, dense-pack cellulose wall insulation, air sealing or home weatherization in general, let the people at Energy Protectors handle it for you. They have helped people from Boston, to Framingham, to Worcester, to Fitchburg not only improve the control of heat in their homes but also cut costs on their energy bills.  The offer a no-cost home evaluation service to gauge just how much your home needs.  Once work has been completed, they perform the tests again to see the difference.

So, to sum up, a simple online search for example like “insulate my home in Boston” can lead you to someone who can get the job done efficiently, effectively and at a lower cost to you that can also save you money from month to month.  A “how to” search can lead you down a long, arduous, costly road that might end up hurting your home’s worth. I know which one I would choose.