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Insulate Your Garage to Improve Energy Efficiency

Savvy homeowners know the importance of a well-insulated home.  When there are little to no air leaks in your home, the temperature inside stays comfortable, there's less wear-and-tear on your HVAC system, and you save money on your heating and cooling bills.  Attics, windows, doors, and any break in the exterior wall of your home - such as outlets, light switches, and fire places - are all areas where air can leak.

But one area that is often overlooked as far as insulation is the garage.  Most garages are not tapped into your heating and cooling system, so they tend to heat up in the summer and get cold in the winter.  If your garage is attached to your home, that air can enter your home if the garage is not properly insulated.  The issue is compounded if there's finished space above the garage as well as adjacent interior walls. 

A properly insulated garage insulates the interior of your home from noise.  Since many garages are used to store paint, pesticides, and other potentially dangerous chemicals, as well as carbon monoxide from car exhaust, an insulated garage protects your family from deadly gases that could potentially entering your home.  And if you spend a lot of time working in your garage (for many men, it's their Man Cave), you'll want a comfortable space to work in. 

If the walls in your garage are not covered in drywall, it will be fairly easy to insulate them.  First, run a bead of silicone caulk along the wall studs.  Also caulk along the floor where your framing meets the concrete floor.  Look for any holes or other areas in the walls where air could infiltrate your home, such as gaps from plumbing or electrical wires, outlets, and wall switch boxes, and caulk around each of those openings. 

Once you're done caulking, you can add fiberglass insulation.  When installing roll insulation with kraft facing, the paper side should face the interior wall.  For any exterior walls, the kraft paper side should face the inside of the garage.  If you have attic space or a finished living area above your garage space, don't forget to insulate the ceiling area as well.  You can use 2x4's nailed horizontally along the walls to hold the batting securely, or you can staple the insulation into place.  If your garage walls are drywalled, you can have blown-in insulation installed.

The garage door can also be an area for air leakage.  Insulating it can cut down on drafts as well as insulate from noise.  You can insulate your garage door with batt insulation or use foam board insulation cut to size.  You can use any type of insulation for steel garage doors.  Wood paneled garage doors should be insulated with rigid foam board insulation.  And don't forget about the bottom of the garage door.  Much like a door sweep, garage doors are typically sealed at the bottom with a rubber gasket.  This not only minimizes air leaks but can keep rain and snow out of your garage.  Gasket kits can be purchased at most home improvement stores and are easy to install.

Don't forget about the entry door between your garage and the house.  Make sure the weatherstripping is in good shape around the entire door frame, and install or replace as necessary.  If you have windows in your garage, make sure those are sealed and are in proper working order.  Replace any broken or cracked glass and caulk around the window frames.  To improve the energy efficiency, you could consider installing storm window panels if the windows are single paned.

When maximizing the energy efficiency of your home through proper insulation, don't forget about your garage.  Sealing and insulating walls, ceilings, garage doors, windows, and entry doors will protect the interior of your home from air leaks and possible harmful chemicals.

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