Can I Insulate Now to Save on Next Winter’s Heating Oil?

warm winter homeDid you have trouble keeping your house warm during New Jersey’s last arctic winter?

If you did, you’re not the only one. Many people couldn’t warm their homes to the temperature of their thermostat setting. One possible reason could be traced to a heating system’s inefficiency, which can occur as your equipment ages. Efficiency levels can also decrease due to a lack of maintenance. This causes you to burn through more oil than normal.

Of course, that’s not the only reason. Many times, a “chilly home syndrome” is due largely to poor insulation levels. In an average home, roughly one-third of heat loss occurs through the ceilings, which ideally should have a minimum of six inches of quality thermal insulation to keep heat inside your home where it belongs. With that said, here are some areas you can inspect to identify insulation issues:

Foundations

Besides reducing heating costs, an insulated foundation will keep below-grade rooms more comfortable and prevent insect infestation, moisture problems and radon infiltration.

Basements

It’s always a good idea to insulate part, if not all, of your basement. A properly insulated basement can save you money on heating and provide dry, comfortable extra living space. For the best results, consider placing insulation in the basement ceiling, which seals off any foundation leaks, and insulating sill plates and rim joists. In addition, seal around any exterior venting and electrical outlets to eliminate cold spots and drafts. If you are thinking about finishing your basement to create additional living space, be sure to insulate the floor and walls.

Garages

When you’re insulating floors above unheated or uncooled garages, all potential sources of air leakage should be sealed first. This method creates the added benefit of minimizing the danger of contaminants, from paint, solvents, car exhaust or gardening supplies in the garage from migrating into the conditioned space.

Attics

Loose-fill or batt insulation is most commonly installed in an attic. Loose-fill insulation is usually cheaper to install than batt insulation and, when installed properly, it supplies better coverage.

Ductwork

If your home is heated by an oil furnace, which delivers warm air throughout your house, then your home is equipped with a duct system. If the ducts in your home are in unheated or non-air conditioned space, making sure they are well sealed and insulated is a good idea.

Other energy-saving tips

  • Homeowners can also use the non-heating season to take care of caulking, sealing and weather-stripping gaps around doors, windows and pipes so they can be ready to stay warm next winter. This will save on air conditioning costs as well.
  • One of the best things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of an oilheat system is to schedule an annual professional heating system tune-up. A well-maintained system can conserve about 5% of heating oil per year and prevent any system breakdowns during an extreme cold snap.
  • A smart thermostat is an excellent addition to an oil-heated home. A Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat will allow you to check local weather conditions, change and view temperature settings and more, all from a computer, smartphone or tablet. Some Wi-Fi thermostat models can even enable you to adjust the temperature to your comfort. Over the next few days, your smart thermostat will “remember” the temperatures you prefer and create a schedule based on your patterns. Now, that’s pretty smart—and it can save you dollars on energy costs throughout the year.

If you need more advice on making your oilheated home energy efficient, your local oilheat dealer will be glad to offer solutions and suggestions for cutting your energy bills while increasing your home comfort. Your oilheat company is your energy savings partner!