If you’re a homeowner in Metuchen, NJ, you should already know that it gets cold here in the wintertime. You probably also know that the winter is when you tend to notice your home’s insulation deficiencies if it has any. It’s when you begin feeling small, cold drafts coming from around window frames. It’s when you notice that your home’s exterior walls feel cold to the touch. It may even be when you start seeing odd temperature differentials between your home’s floors or notice that the floors themselves feel colder than they should. However, if you’re like most people, you may not think about your home’s insulation in the summer. That’s a mistake, though, since your home’s insulation has a major role to play then, too. Here is how home insulation works and why it matters in the summer, too.

How Insulation Works

If you ever read up on how your home’s insulation works, you may encounter a rather common misconception. Plenty of sources say that insulation works to absorb heat inside your home in the winter, thus preventing it from reaching the outside. What your home’s insulation really does is a fair amount more complex than that.

Insulation works to slow the transfer of heat energy from the air inside your home to the air outside of it in the winter. In the summer, it does the opposite. This is necessary because of the second law of thermodynamics. It states, in part, that heat energy spontaneously flows from hotter substances to colder ones. That means anywhere that your home’s conditioned air comes into direct contact with the outside air, heat transfer will occur.

Your home’s insulation works to slow down that heat transfer by trapping tiny pockets of air and holding them apart from one another. Since the insulation itself isn’t a good heat conductor, this creates an obstacle to prevent any heat transfer. This is also how double-pane windows work. By trapping a layer of air or inert gas between the two glass panes, it becomes hard for heat energy to pass from one side of the window to the other.

Why Your Insulation Matters in the Summer

In the summer, all of the heat energy in the outdoor air will look for any path it can find to make contact with your indoor air. Once it does, it will warm up your home’s air and force your air conditioner to work harder. On average, a home with proper insulation will have 15% lower cooling expenses than an identical house that’s poorly insulated. When you consider that air conditioning represents roughly 12% of your home’s total yearly energy consumption, that difference translates into a significant sum of money.

Plus, proper insulation will help your home’s AC system keep the temperature inside your home stable. If you’ve ever noticed that your AC tends to switch on frequently, it could be the result of poor insulation. Then, you may also end up with hot and cold spots throughout your home, depending on where the outside heat is finding its way inside. And don’t forget, the extra load on your AC means extra wear and tear, too, leading to the need for more frequent AC repairs and a shorter overall AC lifespan.

The Most Critical Parts of Your Home’s Insulation

It’s worth pointing out that upgrading your home’s insulation can be a complex and sometimes expensive endeavor. After all, there’s insulation in multiple parts of your home, and a complete insulation replacement is rarely feasible. As a result, you may be wondering which parts of your home’s insulation to target if you want to improve your summertime AC energy efficiency. The following are your best bang-for-your-buck options.

Attic Insulation

Without a doubt, adding insulation to your home’s attic is the most cost-effective way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. This is true for a few reasons. First, it’s a part of your home where the temperature in the summer frequently exceeds even the outdoor temperature. If any of that heat energy finds its way into your home, it will have a major impact on your AC demand. Second, it’s one of the few places in your home where you can add insulation easily. This lowers the cost of upgrading your attic insulation relative to other parts of your home.

Crawlspace Insulation

If your home has a crawlspace, it’s another excellent place to target for an insulation upgrade. Like your home’s attic, its crawlspace typically isn’t sealed off from the outside. So, it’s a prime location for heat energy to seep into your home in the summer. Plus, it should also be accessible, although possibly not as easily as your attic. Regardless, crawlspace insulation can be a cost-effective way to improve your home’s energy performance.

Exterior Wall Insulation

If your home’s exterior walls often feel cold to the touch in the winter, you can assume that they’re allowing heat energy in during the summer, too. The trouble is that insufficient insulation inside your home’s finished walls isn’t always easy to correct, at least with conventional insulation types. However, if you need to upgrade the insulation inside any of your home’s walls, there are options. One is to have loose insulation blown into your walls. This involves opening up one or more small holes in each wall to allow for a hose to push the insulation into the wall’s interior. The cleanup afterward is easy, and the benefits to your home’s energy efficiency can be huge.

Ductwork Insulation

If your home relies on a ducted central air conditioner, its ductwork can represent a major efficiency vulnerability. According to the US Department of Energy, ducted AC systems may waste up to 30% of the energy they consume through ductwork losses. You can cut down on that number by having your ductwork inspected and having air sealing performed. However, a significant part of the average home’s ductwork losses are convective. That means insulating any parts of your home’s AC ductwork that you can reach will have a positive impact on your home’s energy efficiency.

Your Local AC Efficiency Specialists

For over 13 years, First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning has been the go-to HVAC specialist for homeowners in Metuchen. Our expert HVAC technicians can help you make sure your home’s AC operates at peak efficiency, which is a major part of your home’s energy-savings equation. We also offer complete HVAC services, including installation, repair, and maintenance. Plus, we offer comprehensive plumbing services and indoor air quality services, too.

We even offer 24/7 emergency services, should you ever need them. And you can always trust us to provide exemplary work at fair prices. We’re Better Business Bureau accredited and maintain an A+ rating, after all. We even offer financing options on approved credit should you need help affording a new, more efficient home AC solution. So, if you’re looking for help ensuring that your home is as energy-efficient as possible before summer, call First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning today!

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