Home Insulation Facts
Merely mentioning the word insulation conjures up the feeling of comfort and safety. Your home insulation should have the same effect along with the added benefit of lowering your heating/cooling costs.
To achieve the required home insulation results, check your insulation in the attic, ceilings and floors, crawl spaces, basements, and exterior walls to see if you currently have the right amount of insulation or R-value.
R-value is the thermal resistance rating of insulation, in other words, how well it resists heat flow. R-value depends on the type of material, its thickness and density. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.
A few notes and tips about insulation:
So, based on your location, how much insulation do you need? Below is the DOE recommended values for insulation:
Now, the types of home insulation:
- Rolls and batt insulation - Often made of fiberglass or rock wool, and available in widths to fit in the spaces of walls, studs, attics, and floor joists. (2x4 framed walls can hold R13-R15, ad 2x6 walls can hold R19-R21)
- Loose fill insulation - Cellulose, fiberglass, and rock wool blown in with special pneumatic equipment. Since the material can fit cavities, it's a good choice for areas that are hard to insulate.
- Rigid Foam insulation - Foam boards that have about 1 1/2 to 2x higher insulation value per inch, so they are very effective in areas with limited insulating space.
- Spray Foam insulation - This type of insulation comes in many varieties (closed and open cell) and is not only high in R-value per inch, but also effective in air-sealing.
Those that come in foam spray cans are excellent options for window and door frames, etc. Open-celled foam allows water vapor to move through the material better than closed-cell foam, but generally has a lower R-value compared to closed-cell foams.
- Reflective insulation - These are aluminum foils with a backing such as paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles, or cardboard. This type of insulation is usefule in reducing downward heat flow.
Reflective systems are usually placed between roof rafters, floor joists, or wall studs.
- Radiant barriers - This type of insulation reduces summer heat gain and winter heat loss. In new buildings, select foil-faced wood products for roof sheathing (installed with the foil facing down into the attic) or other locations. For existing buildings, fasten across the bottom of joists.
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