How Much Difference Does Insulation Make?

I did an inspection in Lewiston late last year on a very cute little bungalow near Normal Hill. The home was classic brick with trees lining the street in front. The clients were a young couple buying their first home.

One the findings that we came up with is that there was nearly no insulation. The home had an old beast of a furnace that kept the home warm - when it ran, and it definitely like to do that.

Jack asked me for some advice about how to handle this. We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of blown fiberglass and blown cellulose. One nice thing about our local Home Depot is that they will essentially lend you the equipment to insulate the home yourself if you purchase a set amount of the insulation from them. It's a pretty good deal, one that I took advantage of in my home.

Jack sent me these pictures, a before-and-after of the attic space. It's pretty impressive, though it's going to make it a lot tougher for the next inspector to traverse the attic.

Jack put in about a dozen inches of new insulation. One of the advantages of the blown cellulose that he chose is that it air seals much better than fiberglass. It's also much less expensive.

It always makes me happy when I get a chance to see my advice make a positive difference for the people that I work with. In this case, it's a young couple who just spent one afternoon and made their house much more affordable from an operating expenses perspective.

How more affordable?

Jack sent me the numbers - bear in mind that this has been a really mild winter, so the numbers are a little lower than in a cold year.

  • Month 1 - $209 for gas and electric.
  • Month 2 - $125 for gas and electric.

So, the bill dropped by 40 percent over the course of a month. Pretty darned impressive and I'm awfully happy for the family. Good job to them!