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.

The Return of High Energy Prices and other Reasons to Insulate the Garage

Non-Insulated - R0

Polystyrene - R10

Polyurethane - R17

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.