Energy efficiency is the key to reducing your energy bill these days, particularly in the winter months when you have to run your heater. With the insulation options these days, you should have no problem retaining the heat in your home to reduce your dependency on energy options. Insulation’s primary function is to slow down the heat flowing into and out of your home. In summer months, insulation keeps the outdoor heat from creeping inside while in the winter months, it traps heat inside the home to prevent it from escaping.
Choosing the right kind of insulation and knowing how much to use is important. You also need to know how it should be installed in the attic, walls and ceilings and even the foundation and floors of your home. When you can ensure there are no air leaks in your home and add proper insulation, you can greatly reduce your energy bill and reliance on fossil fuels.
Four Basic Kinds of Insulation
Four basic kinds of insulation exist: liquid foam, loose fill, rigid foam and rolls or bats (blankets). The blanketed and loose fill is most often used in homes, particularly in attics, between floor joists, in the walls and between rafters in the roof. Liquid foam is primarily used in walls as it is a perfect material to seal any potential air leaks and create an airtight home. Rigid foam resembles sheets of foam and is usually used in the out walls of a home and other outdoor applications.
When you choose insulation for your home, there are several factors you must contemplate. First, will the insulation pose any type of danger to your family? Is it composed of materials that are harmful to the environment, specifically your home? Consider the long term performance your insulation will provide. You want its insulating properties to last for years.
If you already have insulation but you are replacing it or adding more, you must find out how much is already there. Measure the thickness of the insulation already present so that you can get an R-value from the home improvement store and decide whether you need to add more insulation and how much. The R-value fluctuates depending on where you live as well as what heat source you use – gas or electric. Your goal is to strive for a higher R-value than what is required by your area to ensure optimal insulating properties.
You will notice in your insulation shopping that there are a variety of materials to choose from. Fiberglass is by far the most popular in the rolls of insulation that you lay out but it is tough to work with because the glass-like fibers can get into your skin. Special protective gear is must when working with fiberglass. Cellulose, cotton, mineral wool, lamb’s wool and recycled paper and fabric are also used as insulation.
Each type of insulation material has a different R-value so you must keep that in perspective when shopping for not only the type of insulation but the material it is made from. Of course, where you are using the insulation is another mitigating factor in your decision.