It’s that time of year again. Cold nights and cooler temps during the day. Richmond area residents are remembering the arctic freeze that took place last winter and thinking about preparations needed to prepare for the winter to come. Yes, this is our busy time of year and the calls have already started. But what do you need to prepare your home for the winter? Do you want to just be more comfortable in a home that is less drafty? Did your $600 energy bill last February help you realize there may be a return on investment for adding more insulation? Or did your crawl space pipes freeze and you want to ensure it doesn’t happen again?
 
Regardless of what you are looking for, we can help you assess the most economical ways to improve your home’s performance. You may have googled: “Insulation contractors near me”. And this will reveal a number of companies eager to blow a bunch of nasty fiberglass insulation into your attic. Science has proven this is not the direction to head. Air-sealing your home will have by far the greatest impact on the comfort and energy efficiency of your building. And sealing your HVAC ductwork is a must as well. Us building scientists call this the “low hanging fruit’. Air sealing and duct sealing often cost less than insulation and can have the greatest impact. Now the insulation is important too, but only after the home’s drafts and HVAC leaks have been eliminated. So go with the science-based approach of having an expert look at your home and provide you with a customized analysis. 
 
Here is a breakdown of recommended energy upgrades and resulting costs for an average 2000 sq ft. home located in the Richmond area (remember that all homes are different and this serves only as an example):
 
Seal all HVAC ductwork leaks
Seal all air bypasses (drafts where cold air is moving in) in crawlspace and attic
Upgrade existing attic insulation to R-45 (natural and sustainable cellulose insulation of course)
 
Total cost: $1850
Return on investment: 2-3 years
 
Enough said? Just getting the nasty fiberglass from the insulation companies will cost you almost that much! Don’t listen to us, just go to the U.S. Department of Energy website and they will tell you all about it. The link about air sealing your home is here:
 
You can also find information on the DOE site about HVAC duct sealing. Yes, it is the “low hanging fruit”. Quick ROI and instant difference in your home’s comfort.
 
Sustainable Home Energy Solutions is not an insulation company. We are a building science company. Don’t be fooled into thinking that more insulation will solve your problems.  Don’t listen to us, just believe science!

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