Your garage is likely the biggest room in your home. Yet most people don’t think of their garage as a room at all. They think of it more like a utility space or outhouse — kind of like a shed that just happens to be attached to the house.
The problem with that thinking is that the garage may seem to be separate from the rest of the house, but it actually has a big impact on the energy flow of the whole house. The garage will draw in and hold cold air during the winter and hot air during the summer, and that air will flow around the walls and through the attic, putting more strain on the home’s heating and cooling system.
In order to get the best energy efficiency for your whole house, you will need to make your garage more energy efficient, as well. Here are a few things you can do to make your garage more energy efficient:
Insulate the Walls
The biggest area of your garage, by far, includes the three walls that surround it. While the wall it shares with your home is insulated, the other three walls are likely not insulated. The only thing separating your garage from the outside is plywood, some plastic sheeting and some siding. The walls are not able to regulate the flow of energy at all.
You can easily insulate the walls by adding layers of rolled insulation to the unfinished walls. If the walls have been finished with drywall, you can blow in the insulation. Make sure you choose a quality insulation that has an R value high enough to provide the protection your home needs.
Insulate the Garage Door
Your garage door takes up a large amount of square footage itself. If you have a double garage, you are losing energy through twice the square footage. You can insulate your garage door the same as you can your walls to improve the energy efficiency of your garage and, therefore, your home.
You can purchase some doors already insulated, such as fiberglass and aluminum doors that contain insulation inside. Other doors you can add insulation to after you purchase them. The insulation can even be attached to the backside of the door using do-it-yourself methods.
Keep the Door Closed
Even if your garage door is insulated, it will be completely ineffective if it is always open. An open garage door is a gaping hole letting in all the air you don’t want. Think of it like leaving open your refrigerator door. The temperature inside will immediately change, and the motor will have to start working harder. when your garage door is open, the temperature inside quickly changes, and you put a huge strain on your heating and cooling system.
Make sure you close the garage door after each and every time that you open it. Don’t even leave it open for a few minutes if you know you are going to leave again. Having to wait a few seconds for the door to open is well worth the energy you will save.
Seal the House Door
Small changes can make a big difference. The cracks around your door and window frames may be small, but they can let in a lot of air over time, making a big impact on the internal temperature.
You have at least one door between your home and the garage. Check this door to be sure that the entire frame is well sealed. Fix any cracks you see around the door. Fix the weather stripping, or install it if there is none. Add a draft stopper to the bottom of the door if there is none.
You can also insulate the door if it has none. Taking these steps can provide some protection if no insulation is present on the walls, but it won’t provide the total solution.
The more you can do to insulate your garage, the more energy efficient it will be. The more energy efficient your garage is, the more energy efficient your home will be. The more energy efficient your home is, the more you will save month after month and year after year.
Consult with an energy expert to discuss these and other ways to make your garage more energy efficient. Consider investing in all the updates that you can afford. Though you may spend a lot initially, you will reap greater savings over the years as a result of the changes you make.