If your heating and cooling bills seem higher than they should be for your home size, then you may be confused why you are losing your cool and warm air when the exterior of your home is well-insulated. You may be considering spending a small fortune to upgrade your heating and cooling systems to see if your investment can pay off in lower energy bills. However, the problem may not lie in those systems at all. It may sound surprising, but a garage that is not properly insulated can result in higher home energy bills, even when you don't intentionally heat and cool your garage. Read on to find out how to determine if your garage is the cause of those sky-high bills and how to fix the problem.
How Improperly Insulated Garage Doors Can Lead Higher Heating and Cooling Costs in Your Entire Home
If you took care to install good installation around the perimeter of your home or chose a home that already had good insulation, then keep in mind that the rooms above and adjacent to the garage are lacking this insulation on the walls (or floors) that are connected to your garage. If your garage itself is not properly insulated, especially the door, then these rooms likely feel cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer, even though your heating and air conditioning systems are heating and cooling the rest of your home well.
Much of the heated or cooled air that enters those rooms leaks right into the garage and out the door. If you compensate by adding extra heating and air conditioning units to those rooms or just cranking up your existing systems to the point where the rest of the home is then too hot or too cool, then you are wasting energy that you could avoid wasting if you just insulated your garage well.
How to Easily Fix the Problem
Insulating your garage is likely easier than you think, because the part of the garage you need to focus on is the exterior wall, and a huge part of that wall is your garage door. Some garage doors are about 20-percent of the entire front of a home. Simply switching out your existing garage door for a new, well-insulated one and having it installed properly to eliminate any drafts around the perimeter of it is the first and most important step on your way to a properly insulated garage.
For the best insulation, your garage door should include the following:
- A a door with with integrated high density polystyrene or polyurethane foam layers. The great news is that when choosing a door with one of these integrated foam layers, you don't have to sacrifice style and curb appeal for good insulation. Even a typically drafty door made of wood or metal can provide proper garage insulation when it contains layers of insulation.
- A thick door. It can be easy to see how a three-inch thick insulated door would provide more insulation than a two-inch one.
- Large panels. Every joint between door panels provides an additional space where a potential draft could occur. The fewer panels your door has, the fewer places a draft could occur.
- Air-tight seals around the door. A good seal around your door eliminates drafts, so they are a very important part of a well-insulated garage. Weatherstripping seals should be installed on the sides and bottom of the door itself and around the door opening, so they join to form a good seal when the door is shut.
Once you replace your thin, drafty, low R-value door with one that meets the above criteria, you may notice such a huge difference in the temperature of adjacent rooms that you can then stop your garage changes there, especially if the door takes up most of the space of the garage front wall. However, you can take additional steps to insulate your garage by stapling squares or strips of fiberglass insulation to the walls next to and above your door. You can also air-seal the inside garage walls that are adjacent to your home. Air-sealing the gaps between your garage and your home (if you have any) can also keep vehicle emissions and any other garage odors from entering these rooms.
If your heating and cooling costs are higher than you think they should be, then pay close attention to the temperature of the rooms adjacent to and above the garage to determine if the lack of a well-insulated garage may be the cause. If they are even just a degree or two above the temperature in the rest of the house in the summer or below in the winter, then insulating your garage well can be the best way to reduce energy loss in your home that is costing you money every month. For more information, contact a company like Shank Door.