By Debbie Lockhart
One of the best ways to create a comfy home is to moderating temperatures through proper insulation. It reduces unwanted heat loss or gain and can decrease the energy demands of heating and cooling systems. If you can feel a draft during the winter or see your air conditioner working double time in the summer, then it’s time you have a Trusted Home Contractor come to the rescue and properly insulate your home.
Types of Insulation
There are a number of types of insulation categorized by the composition (material), by its form (structural or non-structural), or by its functional mode (conductive, radiative, convective). Non-structural forms include blankets (batts & rolls), loose-fill, spray foam, and rigid panels. Structural forms include insulating concrete forms, structured panels, and straw bales. The most popular ways to add insulation to your home are through non-structural forms:
Fiberglass Blanket Rolls
This type of insulation can be purchased almost anywhere insulation is sold and is relatively inexpensive. You can customize the thickness and density which is represented by the R-level (see below). You will have to strip the spaces to install, but a common medium for insulation that every good contractor will know how to install.
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation is a type of insulation that is sprayed in place through a gun. Polyurethane and isocyanate foams are applied as a two-component mixture that comes together at the tip of a gun, and forms an expanding foam. It is sprayed onto concrete slabs, into wall cavities of an unfinished wall. This type of insulation blocks airflow by expanding and sealing off leaks, gaps and penetrations. It can fill wall cavities in finished walls without tearing the walls apart (as required with batts). Downsides: the cost can be high compared to traditional insulation and many foam insulations are made from petrochemicals and may be a concern for those seeking to reduce the use of fossil fuels and oil.
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Open-cell & Closed-cell Spray Insulation
Open cell foams are permeable to moisture and impermeable to air. Closed-cell foams stop air and moisture. Although open-cell foam costs less than closed-cell foam, it has a lower R-value per inch, so a thicker layer is required. If the framing members are deep enough to accommodate your required R-value, open-cell foam may end up costing less. Because of closed-cell foams’ density and glue-like tenacity, it also adds structural strength to a wall, ceiling, or roof assembly.
Top to Bottom and Side to Side
The number one problem area and space to insulate is your roof and ceiling. If your roof, ceiling or attic isn’t insulated, you could lose up to 45 percent of your heating and cooling energy. This not only affects the space below, but also the temperature inside the house. Be sure to ask your contractor about attic insulation and crawl space.
Appropriate floor insulation can save up to 5 per cent of your winter energy costs. Carpets are one option to insulate a floor. Though, keep in mind, for hot climates, floor insulation may interfere with the natural cooling from the ground beneath the house.
Side to Side
Wall insulation can save up to an additional 20 per cent of heating and cooling energy. Consider added wall insulation as an essential in all climates.
What is R-Value?
The effectiveness of insulation is commonly evaluated by its R-value. For attics, it is recommended that it should be at least R-38 (US customary, R-6.7 metric). However, an R-value does not take into account the quality of construction or local environmental factors for each building. Construction quality issues include inadequate vapor barriers, and problems with draft-proofing. In addition, the properties and density of the insulation material itself is critical.
Speak to several insulation contractors about the correct product for your particular home and location. Finding a Trusted Home Contractor is your first step in getting the comfort that you and your family desire. Contact some today! End