Ideally, your home should be properly insulated from the very top to the very bottom. However, reality often is that most homes aren’t, and this article will hopefully help give you a better understanding of the different types of insulation materials you could consider as well to help lower your energy bill.
Getting your home insulated by home insulation contractors near you doesn’t just lower your energy bill, it’s also good for the environment since you will be leading out less carbon emissions too. The savings alone will pay for the project over a couple of years, and will make your home easier to sell if you have to do that at some point.
It not only stops your home from leaking cool in the summer, and heat during the winter, it also means your air conditioning system needs to work less hard to keep up. The ability to stay cool in the summer is one that your family will surely appreciate.
However, instead of trying to do the job yourself, this is one that is best left to the professionals. As mentioned, if it is done well, the investment will pay for itself rather quickly.
For your home to be well-insulated, it needs to be done correctly all over. To ensure that is the case, the pro has measuring tools that will allow him to see where there are temperature differences coming from your house, which indicate that it is not air-tight. Using this equipment, they will not only be able to see where air is leaking from, but also how much heat a wall is leaking, both before and after the insulation has been added. If the wall of your home is close to the same temperature as there is outside, it means that the insulation is doing what it is supposed to. It also means that it is in fact not just your walls that need good insulation but your entire home, including the roof.
The type of material that is chosen will vary on different factors, including which part of the home it is you’re trying to insulate.
Insulating the Attic
The attic and roof are often places where a lot of heat escapes through. As you probably know heat rises, meaning if it can, it will try to get to the attic. If however, the attic is poorly insulated or not at all, most of this heat will simply leave your home, letting you heat for the birds.
A popular type of insulating material that is commonly used in the attic is loose fill or batt insulation. If installed properly, it not only ensured good insulation, but also at a very low price.
The home insulation contractor will start by finding any potential air leaks and sealing those off. If there are any leaks in the roof, those need to be fixed to make the insulation as effective as possible and provide the best return on investment.
Insulating the Air Ducts
Most people will not think twice about the importance of insulating air ducts. These carry all the cool and heat, and if they pass through areas of the house that are not insulated well, as well as the ducts not being properly insulated, the consequence is a massive loss of heat. Making these alterations not only ensures that your room stays the desired temperature but that the process of moving the air there is done in an efficient manner.
Insulating the Ceiling
The previous section talked about how air rises, and this section emphasizes the importance of insulating your ceiling. By insulating your ceiling you make it more difficult for the air to leave your home.
Insulating the Walls for Remodeling and New Construction
When you are remodeling your house, but the house has already been built, the most common insulation material is blown-in insulation. Although you might think it’s the same as spray-foam, it actually isn’t.
While blown-in insulation is usually made out of either fiberglass or cellulose, spray-foam is made from polyurethane. When spray-foam is used, it will expand once it lands on the surface it’s supposed to expand on and become ten times the size it was, and it will need to be applied by an experienced professional.
The easiest solution is simply to properly insulate your home when you are building a new home it since it will leave your options open and you won’t have to tear down any walls. As soon as the walls are up, your options become more limited. When you are looking at how effective a material is for insulating, it’s the R-values of the material you are looking for.
Insulating a Home Foundation
You might not think about it, but insulating the foundation of your home is also crucial. It will not help in making sure heating and cooling stays within your home, but it can also make it harder for insects and pests to enter.
When you’re constructing a new home, the process of insulating the foundation is one that takes place right before backfilling happens, which is when the soil is being put back after excavating.
Insulating the Basements
When you are looking to insulate the basement better, you will start off by seeing if it has been done before, but poorly. Whether it has or not will help you determine what kind of insulation to proceed with. When a basement has been poorly insulated, there are several issues that it may lead to including problems with condensation and moisture, which may lead to the development of mold. Properly insulating your basement helps minimize the risk of these issues that would otherwise need to be addressed with expensive repairs later on.
Local building codes may impose certain limitations on the type of material that you are able to use for this specific type of insulation. A good home insulation contractor will be able to give you recommendations catered to your basement needs, and will know what types of material will not get the job done.
Moisture in the basement is a serious concern, and if you think there is the possibility of mold building up, you should talk to a contractor. By insulating the basement, you limit the thermal bridging and save a lot of money. As cold sinks, the expensive air conditioning system that you have running, may currently simply be helping cool the ground through the basement.
Insulating the Slabs
Did you know that the concrete slabs in your home could be acting as a thermal bridge, and thus costing you money in poor insulation? When you are working on insulating the slabs, this is done using foam boards to surround them with, thereby minimizing their exposure to heat and cool from your house. To do this, you will need to dig around them before being able to install the foam boards.
With a new building being built, the foam boards should be added to the slabs during the construction process, rather than having to dig around the slabs again afterwards. Again, the best practice is that which will be recommended by the insulation installer.
Types of insulating material
There are 5 major types of insulation material that are commonly used. We will briefly go over each one of them.
This can either refer to glass wool, rock wool or slag wool, and in the most common type in the United States, when someone says mineral wool, is that they mean slag wool. This is available in two forms – either loose or as batt. If there are very severe weather conditions with temperatures reaching well over 90 degrees, this is not the type of material to go with, since it is not fire-resistant.
The main components tht go into it are recycled cardboard, paper and other loose materials, and it could in fact be good in lowering the risk of fire damage. This material is so dense that it can help limit the damage of fire because of its lack of oxygen. It is not for everyone, as people that are prone to allergy my have issues with this material.
For those people wishing to be environmentally friendly, cellulose is a great material. It is not only cheap but also pretty fire-resistant.
Polyurethane Foam (SPF)
SPF, or spray foam insulation is great for holes that would otherwise be hard to seal. You simply spray it on, and upon contact it expands.
This is great for wall insulation. Because the material is flammable, it needs to be coated with something that makes it more fire-resistant.
Fiberglass has the advantage that it does not absorb water, and can therefore act as a moisture barrier, and given it’s many features is the normal insulation material to use for a lot of scenarios. It is great material that insulates very well, but can be dangerous to handle if the appropriate safety equipment is not worn in the process. Needless to say, you should not touch this without being a pro. It has great insulation capabilities and is not expensive, but needs careful handling.
We always encourage you to ask the home insulation companies to give their recommendations on which type of material they believe you should choose.
Proper Insulation is Important
As you can probably see from this article, making sure that your home is properly insulated should be one of your main priorities. During extreme weather conditions, including both heat waves and blizzard storms, a poorly insulated home will be nothing but a money pit.
If you have a noisy air conditioning unit, there is also the added benefit that good insulation could help lower the noise level, simply as your unit will need to do less work, which would also lead to more infrequent needs for repair.
No matter which type of insulation material you choose to use for this job, the idea is the same – limiting the thermal bridging and lowering your AC bill. How well they are able to do this is measured as an R-value. What you will want is for the R-value to be as high as possible to maximize the effect of the insulation. Although a specific material may have a high R-value, to ensure that it gives you the best result, it will need to be installed by an insulation installer who knows what he is doing. If not done correctly, you not only spend money on the job, but you don’t see those savings on your bill that are a large driver in you going forward with this project.
Free Estimates & Quotes For Your Insulation Needs
To make matters easier, we have created a free-to-use service where homeowners can easily get quotes from competing contractors. Doing so will not only put you in touch with screened contractors and have each of them provide their input, but it will also save you money as they know they’re competing, and time since it will save you a lot of work.