(StatePoint) The average family spends more than $1,000 annually -- nearly half a home's total energy bill -- on heating and cooling costs, according to the U.S. government's Energy Star program. Unfortunately, a large portion of those expenses are wasted due to poor home insulation.
Homeowners prepping for winter can stop the energy waste cycle by taking a closer look at their insulation. As one of the fastest and most cost-efficient ways to reduce energy waste and lower bills, insulation traps warm air inside a home's walls -- similar to how a fleece sweater does for the body -- to regulate a home's temperature. But how do you know if your home is properly insulated?
"Fortunately, there are telltale signs that can alert any homeowner that it's time to add to or replace their home's insulation -- before the temperature plunges and the energy bill rises," says Mike Benetti, segment manager at Roxul, a leading manufacturer of stone wool insulation.
The experts at Roxul advise any homeowner with a do-it-yourself mentality to run through the following checklist to determine whether their home has adequate insulation:
Vintage home: Prior to consistent building codes, most homes built before 1980 were not insulated. If your home has no materials trapping heat, energy conservation is an uphill battle. Walls, ceilings and floors are the most important areas to add insulation for an immediate, positive impact on a home's energy usage and bills.
Non-stop furnace: Does your furnace seem to run non-stop in the winter? Adequate insulation leads to less maintenance on your heating system, as it lasts longer, runs less and will require less maintenance for long-term cost savings.
Temperature inconsistency: If you feel cold spots coming from the walls or attic, or one room of your home is drafty and another one warm, you may need to beef up your insulation. The fireplace, walls and attic are prime spots for drafts. Look for insulation that can fit snugly in rafters and other tight areas. For example, Roxul ComfortBatt insulation made from recycled stone, can be cut with a serrated blade for an exact fit.
Roof hot spots: If your shingles are exposed after a recent snowfall, chances are these "hot spots" are indicative of warm air escaping. Check your attic for adequate insulation. If you can easily see your floor joists, you should add more. Use insulation, such as stone wool, that won't sag or lose density over time.
Mold Growth: Mold in the corners of ceilings could mean your current insulation slumps and holds moisture. If this occurs, it's time to replace your insulation with one that does not store or transfer moisture and is completely resistant to mold, mildew, rot and bacterial growth, such as Roxul ComfortBatt.
More information about properly insulating your home can be found at www.Roxul.com.
Don't let cool weather take you by surprise. With proper insulation, you can improve the comfort of your home significantly and enjoy energy savings.