Understanding the Importance of Insulation and Different Types of Insulation
Did you know you can save 15% on heating and cooling costs for your home?
If your house is too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter, choosing the right types of insulation can mean everything.
Therefore, it’s important to understand why insulation is important and what the different types of insulation are.
The Importance of Home Insulation
The most important reason to properly insulate your home is to keep you and your family comfortable year-round.
This means staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Depending on where you live in the country, your insulation needs are going to vary quite a bit.
However, there are some basic insulation principles that apply to every home.
You might be thinking, “But my home was already insulated when it was built.”
True, but were the right materials used? Have the materials degraded, losing their efficiency? Do you simply want more comfort in your home?
All of these factors add up to the need for a new insulation installation.
What about the Cost?
Investing in a new installation may seem like a huge cost up front, but you need to consider the long-term savings you’ll get from reduced heating and cooling costs.
That adds up fast year after year.
And, you also have the potential to save on your overall energy bills.
Think about that for a minute: if you could cut your energy bill over the next year, how much more money could you put in your pocket?
The installation cost doesn’t seem so big anymore, does it?
How Does Insulation Work?
Now let’s take a moment to understand how insulation works and why it’s important.
“Conduction” is the term used to describe the way heat moves through materials.
While there are other ways heat moves through your house, this is the major factor we need to consider when it comes to insulation.
This means that heat naturally moves from warm spaces to cool space.
In the winter, for instance, warm air moves from your heated living spaces to any adjacent cooler spaces like your attic, adjacent rooms, or even the outdoors.
That’s a lot of wasted heat that could be retained with proper insulation.
Ideally, we want to strike a balance by keeping that heat trapped within your living spaces during the winter, while preventing heat from entering in the summer.
For that, we need to understand what the different types of insulation are.
The Different Types Of Insulation
“R-value” is a term used to describe how well a particular type of insulation resists conductive heat flow. The higher the thermal resistance (R-value), the more effective that insulation will be.
For instance, if you lived in the South, an R-value of R30-R60 for your attic would be appropriate. But if you live in the Northeast, an R-value of R50-R60 would be more appropriate.
Here are the different types of insulation to consider:
- Blanket (often called batt and roll) – This is the most common form of insulation.It comes in rolls and is typically made of fiberglass. It can also be made from natural fibers like wool or cotton, or even from minerals.Blanket insulation is good for most walls and ceilings, fitting between standard wood studs.
- Concrete block insulation – This type of insulation is best used when constructing a new home.These block foundations can be filled in with concrete, steel, or insulation, but placing them on the exterior will have the best results.You can also add concrete block insulation to an existing home on the interior side.
- Foam board insulation – Foam boards (also called rigid boards) are a good alternative to completely re-insulating your house.These boards add only a small R-value, but can be just the right amount of extra insulation you need.Foam boards can be installed on nearly any exterior or interior wall or ceiling for an extra layer of heat conduction.
- Radiant barriers – Radiant barriers are used to deflect heat away from the house rather than efficiently conducting it.Radiant barriers are often installed in attics of houses that experience high heat during the summer.
- Sprayed foam insulation – Spray foam is insulation that is sprayed in a semi-liquid form in place of traditional blanket (fiberglass) insulation.The foam hardens as it works its way into cracks and crevices. This creates an exceptionally tight air and heat barrier for maximum insulation efficiency.
- Loose-fill insulation – Loose-fill insulation is good for hard to reach areas where tradition insulation would be less effective.Loose-fill is made up of fiberglass, slag, and any other number of materials (often recycled materials). It can be blown into tight places such as partially concealed walls.
Where To Insulate Your Home
While you should leave this decision up to your insulation installation expert, it’s still a good idea to know where the most effective places to insulate your home are.
- Attic – The attic is going to be the first place to look for insulation issues since the majority of lost heat will rise upwards from your living spaces.
- Exterior Walls – Many homes are built very cheaply in order to be more affordable.While this results in a less-expensive home for you, things like insulation are often overlooked.Your exterior walls are the next place to consider for more insulation.
Depending on whether you have wood, block, or concrete walls will determine what type of insulation will be most effective for you.
- Ducts – Air ducts are seldom sealed for insulation considerations.If you have an extensive air-duct system in your home, you should have it tested for leaks and seal any holes. This can have a huge impact on your overall energy savings in more ways than one.
- Basement Insulation – Since adding exterior insulation is impractical, adding interior insulation is your only option.Most types of insulation will work just fine in your basement, and you get the double benefit of helping to prevent insect infestation.
- Cathedral Ceilings – Insulation for cathedral ceilings is basically a cross between attic and wall insulation.Depending on whether you have truss joists or large enough rafters will determine if batt rolls will do the job, or batt rolls with foil lining instead.
As you can see, the types of insulation you choose will depend on a great many factors.
Living in the Southwest vs the Midwest will determine what R-value is most efficient for you.
And now that you understand how insulation works and the cost-savings benefits, you can feel confident going forward with an insulation installation.
If you live in the Houston area, contact us for a free home insulation installation quote today.