Robert Lamoureux | In search of efficiency: Windows and insulation

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question: Hi Robert, we are in Santa Clarita in a home built in the early 1980s. We’ve had extremely high electrical bills and are in a position where we can attempt to upgrade anything needed to help reduce these costs.  

We just got a bid for new upgraded windows, and the window company told us that they also do insulation and recommended it. Isn’t insulation good for the life of the house? Is this company (who we think is reputable), trying to make extra money from us?  

Please help. We would like to do what we can for our home’s efficiency but don’t want to spend unnecessarily.  

— Lynette D. 

Answer: Lynette, with the age of your home being near the 40-year mark, insulation can degrade and this can happen more with factors such as moisture and air gaps. 

It can also happen with leaks and construction modifications, which may or may not have been insulated correctly.  

If your home was built in the early 1980s it is definitely a good idea to, minimally, have the insulation inspected.  

Ceiling insulation is the easiest to change, generally, and is also one that is affected most by rodents and, in some cases, failed ducting as well as cigarette usage within the home.  

Consider the home’s history and get it inspected, and make the decision based on findings.  

The window company is guiding you properly in this case if they’ve inspected your insulation, so I am siding with them. You should do your homework and get a couple bids, though — that never hurts.  

Just be sure that when you are comparing them, you are comparing “apples to apples,” ensuring that the R value is the same on all bids, as well as the other details. Most importantly note their licenses and insurances, making sure they hold both.  

You will see a marked difference in the comfort of your home as well as the utility costs once these two projects alone are done. Best of luck. 

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