Blown Cellulose Insulation: To DIY or not to DIY?

It’s the end of January, and winter has finally arrived in the Northeast. Cold snaps like these often prompt homeowners to upgrade their insulation.

At Sealed, we’re big fans of blown cellulose insulation for attics and walls. It’s cost-effective and gets the job done far better than fiberglass, particularly when it comes to keeping your home warm and reducing your heating bills.

At first, blowing cellulose insulation into your attic may seem like the perfect DIY project. It sounds simple: go into your attic with a hose and blow insulation until it stands 15 inches tall. What’s so hard about that?

It turns out that properly insulating an attic requires a couple challenging steps before blowing the cellulose. You might think twice before doing them yourself.

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5 common energy efficiency misconceptions (Dan Hochman)

Hi, my name is Dan Hochman, and I manage our efforts in New York. Prior to joining Sealed, I had the pleasure (and pain) of being the only non-engineer in an energy engineering Master’s program at Carnegie Mellon. I grew up in Manhattan but now rock suburbia on a daily basis (usually with 90s Hip Hop playing in the car).

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Most people tell me I’m a 65-year old living in a 25-year old body. My favorite customers discuss interest rate trends as I tell them about the efficiency of their boiler. Jewish grandmothers also love me – I’ve got a bit of Mensch on a Bench thing going on.

Working with Sealed, I have learned a ton about how homes use energy, and common misconceptions that many people have.

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The 3 biggest energy efficiency myths (Harrison Pao)

Hi, my name is Harrison and I’m a Junior at Columbia University. For the past six months, I have worked as an intern at Sealed, speaking with hundreds of homeowners that are interested in energy efficiency.

Based on these conversations, I have learned that many homeowners want to make their homes energy efficient to increase the comfort, health and value of their home as well as to lower their energy bills.

But I have also learned many of the misguided reasons why some people decide not to improve the energy efficiency of their home. These are three common misconceptions about home energy efficiency.  

1: It’s too expensive!

“These improvements are just too expensive. I want to make my home more energy efficient, but I just don’t have the money”

Perhaps the most common misconception about making your home more energy efficient is that it will be too expensive. However, energy efficiency can actually save you money instead of costing you anything!  

There are rebates and financing programs available in almost every state. The rebates lower the total cost of the project, and financing means there are no upfront costs. This means you have a loan payment that pays off your project over time.

But unlike any other home improvements, energy efficiency also saves you money by lowering your energy bills. These savings help pay for most (if not all) of the loan payment, making the project much cheaper than the sticker price, and in many cases negative!

I remember speaking to one particular homeowner, Jim, who was interested in improving the energy efficiency of his home.  He’d been meaning to fix his daughter’s room which was always cold in the winter, but couldn’t spend too much money right now because he’s already paying a mortgage and college tuition.

However, Jim became excited when I explained why these improvements can be affordable.  He especially liked that lowering his bills could result in a negative project cost, but was still a bit skeptical that these improvements would actually lower his bills.

 

2: What if I don’t actually save?

“But what if I make these improvements to my home but they actually don’t save me any money?  Why should I trust these improvements?”  

Previously, this was not just a misconception, it was a real problem. Any contractor can do work on your home and estimate your energy savings, say 20% on your heating bills. But since this is only an estimate, there is still the risk that these savings will not pan out.  

Sealed is unique because it removes this risk by guaranteeing that you will save on your bills. If Sealed guarantees that you will save 20% on your heating bills, but in actuality you only save 10%, Sealed will pay that difference so you save the full 20%. Sealed takes the risk for you so that you can lower your bills with the comfort of a guarantee.  

When I explained how Sealed guarantees savings to Jim, he recognized that by making his home more energy efficient he could make his home warm for the winter while ending up with extra money in his pocket.

 

3:  It’s a hassle!

“I don’t have the time and energy to make my home efficient. Plus, I just can’t deal with a mess in my home right now”

Trying to fix up your home really is often a hassle. Nobody wants to search for quotes and advice from different contractors or deal with a mess in their home for weeks.

But the great news about energy efficiency is that most of the improvements are quick and non-intrusive to install. Insulation, air sealing and HVAC replacement are all done in the nooks and crannies of your home so nothing is disrupted in your living areas. And most of the time the work is done in a single day, meaning that there is no lengthy process.

This was another concern of Jim’s. With a full time job and a young family he didn’t have the time to search for a contractor and didn’t want a construction crew disrupting his children. Jim was however very pleased with the work that was done to his home. The improvements were done in a single day so there was no mess, and his daughter’s room became more comfortable the very next day!

The bottom line is that, despite popular misconceptions, energy efficiency improvements are affordable, reliable and easy.

Please visit sealed.com to learn more about how you can make your home energy efficient today!