3 Experts Agree That This 1 In-Home Fix Can Lead to Big Savings

Giving your overlooked attic some love could be the best way to save money in your home this year


It’s not just a rallying cry for trickle-down economists or a sound business strategy, but also the consensus view on how homeowners can best save money these days without any need for expensive new furnaces or pricey remodels.

“The most important thing a homeowner can do is to insulate and air seal their attic,” said Pamela Brookstein, Marketing Transformation Specialist with Elevate Energy. “It isn’t that terribly expensive, the payback is quick and immediate, and the homeowner will notice immediately that things are staying cooler in summer and warmer in the winter.”

Sealing and insulating an attic is a great first step to reduce in-home costs for a few different reasons, the first being that the attic is an easy space to get into and see what is actually going on.

“Climbing around in your attic or even just popping your head in that attic crawlspace, you can get a pretty good idea if there is insufficient insulation,” said Bob Greenspun, Founder of Simplicity Home Energy. “The best bang for your buck with an older home is to make sure all of those upper surfaces are insulated, and that everything is fitting tightly. The way I look at it is this: If you are picking out a winter jacket, you want it close to your body and well fitted… your home’s insulation should be no different.”

Jonathan Wrobel, a Home Energy Assessor with Portland Home Energy Score, also points to attic sealing as being one of the easiest and most cost-effective solutions, and one that makes sense when you think about the physics of air circulation in the wintertime.

“Heat rises, so in the winter when it’s cold outside, all the heat you are paying for is going to escape right out the top of your home,” said Wrobel. “Most homes there is just some old fiberglass, but all you need to do is go to Home Depot and put in some new insulation for a hundred bucks or so. You want to make sure you seal and insulate anything that touches the outside, or what we call your ‘thermal boundary’.”

According to Greenspun, while many people are quick to think of doing expensive window replacements, they fail to remember that a home contains way more surface area of walls than windows. At his company, Greenspun uses computer modeling to factor out what the possible savings will be.

“With attic and wall insulation, you will get the money back in 7-8 years,” said Greenspun. “With a window replacement, you might be looking at 50-100 years to get that return on investment.”