Everything You Need To Know About Insulation And How It Helps Save Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy stated that 49% of an average American home’s utility bill is spent on heating and cooling.
It goes without saying then that your energy bills are skyrocketing because your home is not adequately insulated.
Insulating your home can make it energy-efficient and reduce your power bill. If you wish to be more comfortable at home while also saving energy, here’s all you need to know about insulation.
What Is Home Insulation?
Home insulation reduces the transfer of heat into or out of your home. It keeps your home at your desired temperature at all times. Materials like fiberglass, polystyrene, mineral woods, etc. are used for the purpose.
Insulation protects your home against the excess cold in the winter and heat in the summer. The recently built modern houses often meet good insulation standards.
But the older houses need some work. The insulation measures to incorporate will depend upon the age of your home.
A typical house loses around 30 to 40% of the heat through walls. Hence, it’s best to insulate the walls first. Then comes the roof accounting for 25% of the heat loss, followed by windows and doors at 20%, and finally the floor.
How Does Insulation Work?
When our house isn’t insulated well enough, it gives way for heat to escape in the winters and enter during summers. Insulation traps the tiny pockets of air to slow the movement of heat in and out of our houses.
How well the insulation works is measured by a number called “R-value”. The R-value depends upon the type, density, and thickness of the material being used for insulation.
The higher the value, the better is your insulation at resisting heat transfer.
Insulation Cost Vs. Energy Saving
The expense of quality insulation might seem appalling at first. Upgrading an attic alone can cost up to $1000. But considering the saving you’ll make in your utility bills over the years, it’s worth the price.
A homeowner can save up to 15% on heating and cooling costs on average – simply by insulating their attics, crawl spaces, and basements. In colder regions, the savings can increase by up to 20%.
Over time, your savings will exceed the initial investment made.
Another good reason to get your home insulated is to increase its market value. Besides, insulation will make your home comfortable in every season. A well-insulated home is also quieter and more peaceful.
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What Type Of Insulation Should You Use?
Different types of insulations have their own advantages. The choice ultimately comes down to the cost or difficulty of installation. But either way, the result is a warmer house and a reduced energy bill.
The most commonly used types of insulation are as follows.
Batts are like thick blankets made up of fiberglass, wool, mineral, or other fiber blends. They can be used anywhere, on floors, walls, attic, or ceilings.
Their low cost, effectiveness, and ease of installment make them extremely popular.
Blown-in insulation is made up of small, loose shreds of cellulose, fiberglass, or mineral wool.
As the name suggests, these insulators are installed and blown using an air pump or large hose so that they fit in every nook and cranny of the house.
Blown-in insulators are ideal for finished walls and hard to reach areas like attic or wall cavities you don’t want to open up.
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation is a great option as it provides a superior R-value per inch, but it has a price tag to match. These durable foam sprays are the best choice for sealing air leaks.
Latex or polyurethane spray can help seal areas around windows and doors, basements, and crawlspaces.
Rigid Block Insulation
These are also called foam board insulation and come in rigid blocks made of polystyrene and polyurethane. They provide better R-values than batts or blown-in insulation.
But since they are rigid, it’s often difficult to add them to existing structures. They’re best suited for new construction to make them more energy-efficient.
Does My Home Have Enough Insulation?
The colder the climate of your house, the more insulation it needs. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends insulation guidelines across eight different climate zones.
These recommendations are measured on R-values. To meet the guidelines, you have to consider the R-value of the different insulation material you plan to use in your home.
Generally, the R-value ranges from 3.1 to 4.3 for most materials. The denser materials like polyurethane have a higher range (5.5 to 6.5).
You can also check the physical signs of poor insulation in your home. If the temperature varies greatly from room to room, you’re definitely under-insulated.
Other signals of under insulation include high bills for heating or cooling your home.
If your attic isn’t adequately insulated, chances are you may wake up to icicles hanging from your rooftop in winter. Also, look out for drafts. They are the classic sign of air leakages, especially around windows.
Nothing is better than a professional home energy audit to identify all the loopholes and prevent energy wastages in the future. A typical home energy audit takes anywhere around 30 minutes to 4 hours.
The sooner you go for an audit, the more money you save on your utility bills.
Where To Install Insulation In Your Home?
Once you conduct an energy audit of your home, you’ll get a better idea of where to focus your insulation upgrades. But for older homes, the attic is generally regarded as the best place to start.
Insulation should be done on all exterior walls, interior walls, crawlspaces, and other unheated spaces. Do not forget to seal any drafts, especially those around windows or door frames, or from your dryer vent or fireplace.
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