With Punxsutawney Phil predicting 6 more weeks of winter, you might be wondering how you can stay warm without a painful heating bill. While there are many different ways you can heat your home, did you know that your garage is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to uncomfortable home temperatures?
When it comes to a garage, it’s important to understand that this is the largest opening of your home. In fact, some experts say that leaving your garage door open is equivalent to leaving every window in your home open.
And even if you keep your garage door closed, poor insulation can significantly drop the temperature in your garage. If your whole garage is 40 degrees colder than your home, you can definitely bet on it negatively affecting the temperature inside your house too!
Think of it this way. If cold temperature (or warm air) is forcing you to keep your air conditioning or heating on all year long, how much do you think it’s costing you? For most homeowners, the costs of running the AC or heat can add up to thousands of dollars every day.
So, how can you regulate the temperature in your garage? Well, there’s 2 different ways to go about it.
Install New Garage Doors for Your Home
This is the costliest option but it’s also the most effective and can save you a significant amount of money over time. If you have a low-quality garage door or if the panel simply doesn’t insulate well, then it’s going to affect the temperature of your home year-round, regardless of whether or not you keep the door closed. While a new garage panel does have an upfront investment, you’re likely to make the money back over the next year or two. And, in addition to cost savings, your home will have a more comfortable temperature! Who can put a price on that?
If you plan on replacing the garage door, make sure to pay attention to R-Values.
Garage Door R-Values: What Do They Mean?
In simple terms, an R-value is a measurement of how well a garage panel insulates. On the lower end, R-8 panels provide a 90% reduction in overall heat flow. For most homeowners, this option will suffice and provide the best bang for your buck. Other ratings include R-12, R-16, R-20, and R-32. It’s important to note that R-16 is not twice as good as R-8. Here’s a breakdown of the heating flow reduction of each rating:
R-8 = 90% Heat Flow Reduction
R-12 = 93% Heat Flow Reduction
R-16 = 95% Heat Flow Reduction
R-20 = 96% Heat Flow Reduction
R-32 = 97% Heat Flow Reduction
As you can see, there’s only a minimal difference in each rating. Where the higher ratings really shine is when you spend a lot of time inside your garage. Maybe you’ve renovated the garage as a separate room or you use it as a bar… or even movie theater! In these situations, investing in a higher R-Value may make sense. If you plan on living in your home for many more years, then spending a little extra on a higher R-Value might be a good idea as well. While they cost more than lower values, they will offer slightly better insulation and consequently reduce your heating and cooling costs.
Installing Insulation on Garage Door Interior
If a new garage door doesn’t quite fit into your current budget, then purchasing garage insulation might be a better option.
Most insulation kits can be found at your local hardware store. They typically look like a square block and are made of either polystyrene or fiberglass. Some kits may also contain an aluminum foil backing. The polystyrene kits are the least expensive but don’t provide much insulation. They can be combined with aluminum for better performance. Fiberglass works the best but can be costlier.
If you do decide to install insulative backing, there is one thing you should be careful of…
Watch Out for An Unbalanced Panel
Most garage doors are calibrated to handle a certain weight. If you install insulation on the interior side of the panel, it could completely unbalance the door. You may notice this immediately if the door shows signs of struggling to open. Loud noise or jerky movements are a good sign of this. And even if you don’t notice any issues, there’s still a good chance that the added weight will cause problems eventually.
In fact, an unbalanced door can permanently damage garage door parts and even burn out your opener! So, if you decide to install insulation on your own, make sure to calibrate the balance of the panel before operating it. If you’re not sure how to do this, call a garage door technician for help. Calibration is quick, affordable, and will save you a lot of hassle later on.