Technical Papers

Why pay extra to be uncomfortable?

Thursday, October 6th, 2016 by Matt Bauman

Whether it’s new construction, remodeling or retrofitting, the COST of the project tends to be the driving factor when making most decisions. While I acknowledge this is not an earth shattering statement, it is the reason many homeowners end up doing and re-doing the same projects during their lifetime. One of the areas that budget driven decisions commonly lead to poor choices is insulation. With modern day materials we are able to add superior insulation (R-value) pretty much anywhere. Whether it’s with insulated exterior home siding, insulated thermoses or even insulated clothing, insulated products are abundant. Many of these products are purchased, often times at a higher cost, simply based on the level of quality and the level of insulation provided.

Take for example the recent trend in insulated coolers and beverage holders. Lesser known manufacturers are marketing their product as performing just as good, if not better, than the leading brand for less. For many years the cost of high end “insulated” products have been on the rise and often times out of reach for the average consumer. When in reality the cost of manufacturing high performing products has dropped significantly. The technology and materials have been around for decades and readily available. So, how does this relate to the homes we live in? Similar to high performing insulated coolers, gone are the days when a homeowner was content to own a home with any insulation at all, and in reality, all homes are capable of higher performance, whether through smarter construction or efficiency focused remodeling and retrofits.

Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t come to terms with the fact that their home is inadequately insulated until much later. Often times the size of the house, the severity of the season and the cost of fuel can be used to justify high heating and cooling costs for years. Furthermore, by the time the homeowner comes to terms with the shortcomings of the insulation in the home, money has been wasted and home comfort sacrificed. In fact, it costs more to be uncomfortable at home, an average of 35% more. In most cases, doing it right the first time is the least costly choice, but in a battle of choosing between $6,000 in upgraded insulation vs $6,000 in granite countertops, insulation loses 9 out of 10. Hey, we all love granite, but while the aesthetics and longevity of granite are undeniable, opting for a less expensive counter-top option now and upgrading to granite two years down the road won’t cost any more. In fact, it may be available on sale and cost even less. In contrast, the cost of retrofitting insulation into a home can be much higher and far more difficult to achieve later on when compared to tackling it during construction.

However, just because you didn’t have the opportunity to build your own home and many of us are living in older homes with questionable insulation, that doesn’t mean there’s no hope. Today contractors, like Dr. Energy Saver, utilize science when fixing inefficient and uncomfortable homes. Blower Door testing and thermal imaging allow us to measure air leakage and find problem areas in homes with pinpoint accuracy. We then correct these issues with a targeted, scientific approach guaranteeing the greatest return from both a financial and home-comfort standpoint.

When it comes to energy efficient home improvements, most homeowners are going to pay for the project whether they do it or not. The average homeowner can save $1,500 a year by fixing their leaky and inefficient home. This savings will pay for most projects in just a few years and continue to provide a tax free return on the original investment for the life of the home. This could be as much as $45,000 over 30 years. If you don’t fix it that same $45,000 will end up in someone else’s pocket. So keep this in mind if you’re looking to build a new home, finish a basement, put on an addition. NOW is the time to invest in longevity and comfort, do it once, do it right, and if you’re living in an existing home and you are sick of paying extra to be uncomfortable, give us a call Dr. Energy Saver can help.

-m.b.-  

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