The garage is easy to overlook as a place where energy-saving improvements can be made. After all, the main job description for the average garage is to shelter family vehicles and serve as a sort of catch-all space for other items like tools, bicycles, sports gear, recyclables and so on.
While it's usually wise to place a higher priority on home insulation upgrades in other parts of the house, improving garage insulation shouldn't be overlooked, especially if the space also serves as a workshop.
Depending on how your garage is used and how your house is designed, it may be worthwhile to consider the following garage energy upgrades:
- Insulating the garage ceiling. It's essential to insulate the garage ceiling if there is living space above the garage. Many builders choose to skip this insulating task when a house is built, either to save money or because the space above the garage is initially left unfinished. Without insulation in the floor, living space above the garage will be uncomfortably cold in winter, distressingly hot in summer, and wasting energy nearly all year round. Remember that before any new insulation is installed in a garage ceiling, the ceiling should be air-sealed to eliminate energy-wasting leaks and also to prevent harmful auto emissions from entering the living space above.
- Insulating garage walls. When the garage is attached to the house, the wall that separates the garage from the living space should air-sealed, insulated and finished with fire-rated drywall. An energy technician can check the finished wall for insulation, using an infrared camera or other techniques. If no insulation is detected, it's sometimes possible to blow new insulation into stud cavities through holes that are bored in the drywall. Even if there is wall insulation, it's likely that air leakage exists between the spaces. Sealing these leaks is important for energy efficiency and also for protection against carbon monoxide from car exhaust.
- Insulated garage doors. There are two types of doors in garages: those for people and those for cars. A people-type garage door should be insulated and weatherstripped for energy efficiency and rated for fire protection as called for in local building codes. Because the door between the garage and the house often gets used more than the main entry door, this door's weatherstripping is certain to wear out faster. Dr. Energy Saver can check the weatherstripping and replace it if necessary to minimize air leakage.
When it comes to the larger garage doors used for cars, many homeowners choose insulated versions as well, either when a house is built or when replacing old garage doors. As shown in the photo, insulated garage doors have cores that are filled with foam insulation, and metal "skins" that are often textured and detailed to look like old-fashioned frame-and-panel doors made from wood. Although insulated garage doors are more expensive than uninsulated "economy" versions, they're often well-worth the extra investment. In addition to improving energy efficiency, the door's insulated core helps to prevent the metal surface from being dented and bent out of shape.
Looking for a price? Get a no cost, no obligation free estimate.