When most folks think about adding insulation to their home they think about rolling out thick layers of foil-backed insulation in the attic or even upgrading the insulation in their exterior walls. Some will look to new double or triple pane windows to help keep precious heat inside the home where it belongs. While these are definitely good ideas there’s another part of the house that should never be overlooked when it comes to insulation efforts: the garage. In this article we will discuss the many benefits and then move into tips on how to do it.
The Return of High Energy Prices and other Reasons to Insulate the Garage
It wasn’t too many months ago that oil was hovering around $30 per barrel. Today however, it’s back above $50 and the cost of heating your home has risen in lock-step. The best way to prevent rising energy prices from overwhelming your budget is to make sure heat is not escaping needlessly into the atmosphere through poorly insulated walls, including those in the garage. Below we’re going to look at some of the many benefits of having a well-insulated garage including, of course, those lower energy bills.
Benefit #1: Making the garage usable - During the winter most garages sit cold and unused. Folks drive into the garage, close the overhead door and make a beeline for the warm part of the house. Well, what if you could actually turn this part of your home into a usable space 12 months a year? You can if you engage in a comprehensive insulation program. Raising the temperature inside the garage by 10 or 20℉ will make an enormous difference and bring the entire garage back into the fold of usable space.
Benefit #2: Adjacent rooms are warmer - If the garage is just above or perhaps even below freezing that has an enormous effect on the temperature of all adjoining spaces. Typically the garage links to the living areas of the home through the kitchen. If the garage is freezing cold heat will be leaking through one kitchen wall into the freezing cold space and every time the door to the garage is opened it will be like opening a door directly to the outside. Likewise, a bedroom above an uninsulated garage is like a bedroom sitting on an ice cube.
Benefit #3: A quieter home - Most homeowners aren’t aware just how much noise filters into their home through the garage. This is especially true if you live in an urban setting. Much of this noise however can be effectively filtered out by insulating the garage. You’ll not only enjoy lower energy bills but a quieter, more tranquil home.
Benefit #4: Lower energy bills - Speaking of lower energy bills… A poorly insulated garage will not only create higher heating costs during the winter but higher air conditioning costs during the summer months. Just as heat can be siphoned off through the walls into a freezing cold garage so too heat from a stifling hot, poorly insulated garage will radiate through the walls into the home’s living areas.
Benefit #5: Enhanced home value - Adding insulation to the garage will not only make your home less expensive to heat and cool, it will also add substantial bottom line market value to your home. If buyers have a choice between a home that costs X amount to heat and cool and a comparable one that costs 10% less to heat and cool which one do you think will attract the higher bids?
Benefit #6: A more comfortable garage experience - Yes, stepping into or out of your car in the garage instead of outside protects you from the driving rain, snow, sleet and wind. It also makes the experience of transiting from your car to the house or house to the car safer. But if that garage is poorly insulated you’re still stepping out of your house into a freezing cold environment and then into a freezing cold car. A properly insulated garage will make the transition from house to car and car to house a less striking one regardless of whether it’s -20° or 100° outside.
Benefit #7: A happier, healthier car - By any reasonable measure cars are pretty tough. But they’re also high-tech, precision machines that operate more effectively and efficiently in warm weather than they do in the cold. Storing your car in a freezing cold garage puts pressure on the battery, has a significant negative effect on tire pressure (and by extension tire function, safety and longevity), makes windshield wipers brittle and less effective and causes many of the fluids the car needs to operate at peak efficiency - including motor oil, power steering fluid and transmission fluid - to thicken and lose effectiveness. Insulating the garage can eliminate many of these problems.
If you’re contemplating adding insulation to your home don’t forget the garage. A well-insulated garage has benefits that include, but also go far beyond, savings on your energy bills.
Why Investing in an Insulated Garage Door Will Pay Dividends in the Long-Run
The average home today is far more energy efficient than its predecessor of 40 years ago. Energy efficient lights, double and triple-pane vinyl windows, high efficiency furnaces and more have cut the amount of energy a typical house today uses by more than 60% over the average home from 1975. That’s pretty amazing. Yet one wasteful component of the typical home’s energy profile routinely gets overlooked, even in today’s energy efficient environment: the garage door.
The Importance of Insulated Garage Doors
Engineering studies have shown that replacing a non-insulated garage door with an insulated one can reduce heat loss through the garage by more than 70%. Even if your garage is unheated that could mean a garage that’s warmer by as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit on the coldest Colorado nights. Some of the other benefits of insulated garage doors include:
- The Warm Domino Effect - The extra warmth in your garage can have an immediate domino effect on the adjoining spaces. The amount of energy needed to heat the room or rooms above the garage can be drastically reduced and heat loss through the walls and doorways of any rooms next to the garage on the first floor can be nearly eliminated.
- No More Dead Batteries - Often in the dead of winter a car that’s been sitting overnight in a garage without insulated doors will refuse to start. That’s because it doesn’t matter if your car is outside or inside; if the temperature is essentially the same you run the risk of having a dead battery in the morning. Raising the temperature in the garage by installing an insulated garage door can eliminate the dead battery problem once and for all.
- Reduced Noise - Steel garage doors whose panels are filled with polyurethane or polystyrene insulation are quieter than non-insulated doors. The insulation does more than just provide a buffer between the cold and your garage space, it also absorbs many of the rattling sounds a door will naturally make when it’s in motion and, on top of that, it absorbs far more noise coming from the street.
- Increased Possibilities - Having an insulated garage door allows you to consider things you might have ruled out before like setting up a shop in your garage for woodworking or other projects. Whereas before you may have dismissed the idea because the garage would be too cold all winter long it may now be useable; requiring only a small space heater to bring the temperature up to a comfortable level.
- Increased Strength - An uninsulated garage door is far more susceptible to dings and dents than an insulated one. That’s because the insulation within the panel will help the door absorb shocks from baseballs, basketballs, frisbees and the like without denting. Your door will not only be more energy efficient it will also stand up to normal wear and tear that comes from having kids who play in the driveway.
If you decide to replace your leaky, inefficient non-insulated garage door with an insulated steel door from A Better Garage Door remember to have proper weather seals installed as well, particularly along the bottom of the door. It’s not uncommon for a garage door to sit less than perfectly against the ground. Proper weather sealing will fill any gaps, cracks or depressions where cold air can leak in and undermine your energy conservation efforts.
On a cautionary note: You may be tempted to take on the job yourself of retrofitting your existing door with insulation in order to save a few bucks. That, however, would be inadvisable and would likely only cost you much more down road. That’s because:
- Adding insulation to an existing door increases the weight of the door substantially. This means the that lifting mechanism currently in place will likely need to be replaced. And by that we mean the whole thing. Motor, springs, cables, the lot.
- Opening up the panels of your door to add insulation is asking for problems down the line. Unless you reassemble everything to factory standards, you’re likely to experience leaking insulation and an overall loss of structural integrity.
The simple fact is you’re far better off replacing your existing door with a new insulated door that’s properly installed by garage door professionals than you are trying to retrofit your old door.
A Better Garage Door in Brighton has the Right Insulated Garage Door for Your Home
At A Better Garage Door we offer insulated steel garage doors that utilize either polyurethane or polystyrene insulation. Both will significantly reduce heat loss from your garage and by extension help keep your entire house warmer and save you money. Our polyurethane and polystyrene insulated steel doors feature:
- R-values as high as 17.19.
- 1.5" or 2" thick door sections.
- Heavy-gauge galvanized steel construction.
- A wide array of color choices and decorative options.
- Advanced tongue and groove design for optimal weather sealing.
- The ability to customize with optional Appearance Packages and Accent Planks.
Upgrading your current leaky garage door with a new, fully insulated steel door from A Better Garage Door will pay for itself in energy savings alone in just a few years; a claim no uninsulated door could ever make. A professionally installed insulated garage door will also raise the curb appeal of your home and by extension its resale value. The argument against upgrading to an insulated door mainly comes down to not spending the money. But if you don’t spend it now you’ll spend a lot more later on higher energy bills.
Bring your garage into the energy saving fold by installing energy efficient insulated garage doors from A Better Garage Door. Every day we help homeowners in Brighton, Westminster and beyond win the battle against wasted energy by installing these beautiful, durable doors in their homes and we can do the same for you. Call us on (303) 920-2267 to learn more about the different types of insulated doors we offer and how much they can save you on your monthly bills. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
A Guide to Properly Insulating Your Garage
Now that we know how important it is lets move into how to do it. Most people accept the garage that comes with their house as is. What many don’t realize is that the huge costs they’re bearing to heat the house are almost always exacerbated by the fact that the garage is sucking heat out of the adjoining rooms because it’s not insulated. But insulating the garage has benefits that extend beyond just saving you money on your energy bills. An insulated garage can become part of the active space of the home where you can set up a workshop for yourself. And a warmer garage also makes for a better storage space.
Garage Insulation Advice from Your Favorite Garage Door Repair Company
While we’re known for garage door repair in Boulder CO, the topic of insulating the garage is one our customers bring up frequently. Insulating the garage is an easy way to start saving on your energy bills, increase the usable space of the house, make the process of entering and exiting the garage more comfortable while creating more high quality storage space and increasing your home’s value at the same time. Here are some tips on making sure the insulation process is successful.
Types of Insulation
A lot of times when we’re called in to do garage door repair in Loveland we get asked which type of garage insulation is best. It depends. There are 2 types of insulation you can use in your garage: blown insulation or insulation that you unroll between the wall joists. Rolled insulation is further broken down into standard fiberglass and rock wool. If fireproofing is an important goal of yours you’ll want to choose rock wool over fiberglass. Whether you choose blown or rolled insulation will depend in large part on the state of the walls in the garage. If they’re already covered in drywall it doesn’t make a lot of sense to bother ripping out the drywall just to roll in some insulation. In such cases blown insulation should do the trick. If on the other hand your garage walls are unfinished with exposed joists then rolled insulation is your answer. Of course the rolled insulation will work better if you make sure to cover it with drywall when you’re done.
Air Sealing the Walls
You may also want to consider air sealing your walls. Especially if they are unfinished. Air sealing the walls will make the insulation that much more effective. Air sealing entails using caulk and other readily available sealants to plug any cracks or holes in the walls. Most of these occur around pipes and wiring that run through the wall. The process isn’t difficult but it needs to be done before you install the rolled insulation. And once everything is in place it’s imperative that you add the aforementioned drywall over the top and seal that as well. If it’s leaky you’ll want to fix the garage door too.
Installing the Insulation Properly
When adding rolled insulation to interior walls you want the paper side of the insulation to face you while you work. In the garage however, you’ll want to make sure the fuzzy side of the insulation - whether it’s fiberglass or rock wool - is facing you when you install it. That’s because the walls in the garage (even those shared by adjoining rooms) are exterior walls. So the insulation needs to face the environment.
To install blown insulation into finished walls you’ll need to create access holes in the walls. Make these using a hole saw and make sure they’re between the joists, near the top of the wall. You’ll also need to rent an insulation blower with a hose to get the insulation into the walls. It might require more than one person to do this effectively so keep that in mind. Don’t forget to seal the access holes when you’re done.
Insulating Above the Ceiling
Some garages have a drop ceiling with a crawl space above that’s often used for storage. Often times this ceiling is uninsulated as is the roof at the top of the crawl space. Since heat rises it’s a good idea to insulate both the drop ceiling and the roof if at all possible. If you don’t have a drop ceiling you should insulate the roof of the garage if it isn’t already insulated
As the area’s leading garage door repair experts we see all types of garages, from those that have been finished to the point where they’re practically livable to those that are basically just a few roughed in walls and a garage door. Many would benefit mightily from being insulated. If you would like some further advice on garage insulation or you’re in need of garage door opener repair or Broomfield garage door repair give us a call and speak to one of our highly trained garage door repair pros.