Did you know that it is estimated that 9 out of 10 homes in the US are under-insulated? It’s not that your builder skimped on the job. Rather, they’re insulating your home to meet the required standard (i.e. the absolute minimum) without keeping energy efficiency in mind.
In this blog, we’re going to detail the basics of home insulation so when the time comes to update or improve yours — you’ll know what you’re talkin’ about!
Insulation 101: What, Where, Why?
Before we even get into that, we need to have a quick talk about what is known as insulation’s R-Value. Simply put, the R-Value is a material’s ability to resist the transfer of heat or heat loss.
A material’s R-Value is typically affected by the following four factors:
- Material type
- Material thickness
- Material density
- Where and how the material is to be installed
The general rule-of-thumb is the higher the R-Value, the better that material is at resisting heat loss or transfer. Now, you might think “GIVE ME THE HIGHEST R-VALUE INSULATION AVAILABLE!” Well…hang on — keep in mind that insulation works in two ways: to keep air where it is and to help your house breathe (and yes, your house does, in fact, breathe.)
There are a lot of different types of insulation to choose from, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a short list for you to consider when you’re looking to update or add onto your home. When you decide which ones you want to use, be sure you keep the R-Values in mind before purchasing!
- Blanket batts and rolls: these are the most common and most cost-effective forms of home insulation. Typically made with fiberglass, this format is designed to fit standard widths between wall studs and floor joists, making installation pretty easy.
- Blown-in/Loose Fill: using an insulation blower, this type can be used in attics or for adding more insulation to finished areas.
- Foam Board or Rigid Foam Panels: These are typically used for unfinished walls, like the foundation and basement walls as well as in between floors. These are the most dense (higher/est R-Values,) which means they’ll reduce energy consumption considerably better than any other insulation out there.
- Spray Foam: You have two choices here – closed-cell and open-cell. Closed-cell has the highest R-value of any other insulation, but is more expensive than open-cell. Because this type of insulation requires some skill and finesse, we strongly recommend hiring a professional to come install it for you.
- Reflective or Radiant Barrier: Typically used in warmer climates, these work a little differently than regular insulation, so there is no R-Value for them. This kind of insulation aims to completely deflect heat away from your home. Homeowners in warm climates install these in the attic between joists.
To see Energy Star insulation R-Value recommendations based on where you live, click here.
On a Related Note…
We can’t talk about insulation without talking about air sealing, and while we don’t go into much detail about that here, some may be compelled to want to completely close off their house to outside airflow. It isn’t the wisest idea, especially when it comes to attic insulation, in a couple of ways:
- Too much insulation can cause some serious health problems, especially for those who are already affected by allergies.
- It can also restrict airflow to the point that captured moisture can’t evaporate, leaving you wide-open to mold and air quality issues throughout your home.
What Energypro Can Do For You
So, if you’re thinking your home insulation is insufficient and may be costing you more dollars than you’re willing to part with, call the experts at Energypro to help you figure it all out. Not only can we help you with all your insulation questions and concerns, but we offer energy efficiency packages to help bring your power costs down even more.
Energypro packages can provide:
- Energy efficient upgrades like an LED light bulb package, a Google Nest Thermostat, attic tenting, and so much more.
- A detailed report on the condition of all major systems within your home, such as the insulation, ductwork, furnace, air conditioner, lighting, and water heater.
- Recommendations on other types of energy-efficient improvements you can make, as well as free estimates for those improvements.