Air Sealing and Attic Insulation

Adding insulation to your attic, basement and walls is often one of most cost-effective upgrades you can make to save money on your utility bills and create a more comfortable home for you and your family.

ENERGY STAR recommends homeowners in northern Illinois insulate their attics to a minimum R-value of R49, and homeowners in southern Illinois should insulate to a minimum R-value of R38. The Energy Code for the State of lllinois requires all new homes to have R-49 attic insulation. Additionally, ENERGY STAR recommends floor R-values that range from R25-R30. There are different insulation types you can purchase to meet these R-values ranging from blown-in fiberglass insulation to expanding foam insulation.

Air Sealing

When you add insulation to your home, it’s a good idea to air seal at the same time. Air sealing consists of closing up all of the places in your house where hot air leaks out in the winter and in during the summer months, forcing your HVAC equipment to work harder. By sealing up all those leaky spots, your insulation will be much more effective.

The first step is to figure out where all the leaks are. There are obvious places to look, such as around windows, doors, chimneys, outlets, etc., and there are places that are harder to reach. This is where hiring an energy auditor can be very useful. Auditors have specialized equipment called a blower door that will force air out of your front door, which causes the pressure in your house to drop. When the pressure in your home drops, air is pulled into your home through these hidden holes, which can be visualized using powder or incense to see where air is moving.

Once the leaks are identified, you or your contractor can start sealing them up using low-cost materials such as caulk, weather-stripping and other sealing materials that can be purchased at your local hardware store.

Rebates for Insulation and Air Sealing

Illinois utilities, counties and other organizations offer a variety of rebates for insulation and air sealing your home.