So here you are. You have this house. You know it’s not particularly energy efficient. It gets cold and drafty sometimes, and you’re spending more on your heating bill than you really want to. What are your home improvement options to address this problem?
Option one is insulation. If a home is underinsulated, you’re losing heat energy all over the place. There should be insulation in your home’s attic (even if it’s just a small area – not a finished room!) as well as in the walls. Here in Massachusetts, the minimum R value for your walls is R-20: if your home is not up to that level, you’re really going to want to think about an upgrade.
The costs of insulating an older home in Massachusetts typically begins around $6,500 and can go up from there. Some homeowners take on insulating as a DIY project, which can save you money – but if you go this route, make sure you’re wearing the right gear to protect your skin and lungs throughout the process.
Option two is having replacement windows installed. Let’s say your home is adequately insulated, or you’re not interested in taking on a project of that magnitude at this time. The other area of a home where heat is frequently lost is through leaky windows and doors. If your windows are more than ten to fifteen years old, it’s well worth examining them.
What are you looking for? Cracks, chips, seal failure – basically, any opening that lets the cold outside air into the room. Sometimes you can’t see these vulnerabilities, but you can feel them. If you have any windows that regularly get heavy frost or even ice on the inside, that’s a good candidate for window replacement.
Budget wise – the nice thing about replacement windows is you start seeing benefits even if you only replace one window. There’s no law that says you have to do the whole house at once. So if there’s one room in the house that you’d like to see become meaningfully warmer and more comfortable, start there. Then as the budget allows, upgrade the rest.