Energy Loss in Homes and the Benefits of Insulation [infographic]

Insulation infographic

For more on this topic check out this infographic: How Energy Gets Used and Wasted in the Home»

Updated: June 23, 2019

Screen reader version:

How your house consumes energy and money

The average U.S. family spends $1,900 a year on home utility bills

Heating and cooling your home account for the largest portion (54 percent) of your utility bills

Space heating – 45%
Space cooling – 9%
Computers and electrconics – 6%
Lighting – 6%
Other – 5%
Cooking – 4%
Refrigeration – 4%
Wet cleaning – 3%
Water heating – 18%

Mapping out heat loss

Roof/attic – 25%
Windows and doors – 25%
Walls – 35%
Floor – 15%

Ways your house is losing heat

Poorly insulated attics – heat escapes from the top

Wrong-sized heating systems – Depending on your house’s square footage, your furnace could be producing more heat than you need

Holes in exterior walls – gaps where windows, doors or walls weren’t joined together let heat seep out

Leaky ducts – leaky ducts mean heat that is intended to keep you toasty in your living room escapes into walls instead, never making it in not the rooms you need to heat.

How insulation can help

Proper insulation lets you save more and makes better use of the energy and heat in your house

– As much as 20 percent of your energy bill can be saved by good roof insulation

Insulation reduces the costs of heating and cooling by over 40 percent

– Wall insulation can reduce this loss by 2/3 and make your home more comfortable

– You can lose as much as 10 percent of heat through uninsulated floors

– Insulation pays for itself in around five to six years

Tips to better insulate your home


– loose-fill or batt insulation is typically installed in an attic

– Install attic air barriers such as wind baffles along the entire attic eave to help ensure proper airflow from the soffit to the

– If the thickness of your attic insulation is less than R-30 (11 inches of fiberglass or rock wool or 8 inches of cellulose), adding more could help you

– Seal and insulated ducts in unconditioned space

– If you’re building a new house, place ducts in the conditioned space to avoid the energy losses

– Do not insulate underwater tanks that may freeze

– Ensure all pipe work and the attic hatch are insulated

Windows and doors

– To reduce air leakage, caulk and weather-strip around windows

– Window treatments and coverings also help save energy

– Insulated blinds are effective at reducing heat in the summer and keeping in heat during winter

– The use of high-reflectivity films work to block summer heat gain

– Storm panels reduce winter heat loss by as much as 50 percent

Best insulating window coverings

– To lower A/C bill and block heat, the best products for insulation are cellular shades and shutters

– They create an airspace “barrier” between the window and the room

Cellular shades

– “Cells” are visible side pockets on a honeycomb shade.
– The more cells there are, the more energy efficient the shade is
– Cells traps air in the pockets which helps prevent extreme temperature changes in your home


– Very good insulators because they are the thickest, tightest fitting window coverings
– Reduces energy cost by successfully preventing the transmission of air between the window covering and the glass of
the windows


– Check your house’s wall type – the kind of wall insulation you need will depend on this

– If there are cavity walls they can usually be safety filled with insulating fiber, beads or foam

– Internal insulation is highly effective for solid walls

– Consider using loose-fill or sprayed foam insulation for exterior walls

– If you’re building a new house, consider structural insulated panels, insulating concrete forms and insulated concrete blocks

Floors, basement and crawlspace

– Try using insulating blankets under suspended floors
– Laying boards over concrete floors could also help
– When insulating floors above unconditioned garages, first seal all possible sources of air leakage
– Basement wall insulation is more preferable to ceiling insulation
– Interior wall insulation is a practical solution to fixing basement heat problems
– For unventilated crawlspaces, seal and insulate foundation walls
– In most parts of the U.S., insulating the exterior edge of a slab can reduce heating bills by 10 to 20%.

Clueless about energy conservation?

Many Americans don’t know the first thing about how to save energy.

– “Insulate my home,” the most effective way to save energy was listed last as an energy efficiency action by Americans.

Categorized responses to an open-ended question about the single most effective thing that could be done to conserve energy:

Turn off lights – 19.6%
Conserve electricity – 15%
Drive less/bike/use public
transportation – 12.9%
Change the setting on the
thermostat – 6.3%
Change my lifestyle – 5.9%
Unplug appliances – 5.7%
Shut off appliances/use appliances
less – 4.9%
Recycle – 4.2%
Other (for behaviours only
mentioned once) – 4%
Education/think about my actions – 3.8%
Use efficient light bulbs – 3.6%
Use efficient appliances – 3.2%
Use efficient cars/hybrids – 2.8%
Sleep more/relax more – 2.8%
Buy green energy/solar
energy/alternative energy – 2.6%
Insulate my home – 2.1%
There is no way/I don’t know – 0.8%

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