Insulation is used in homes to keep the interior living spaces comfortable throughout the year. There are some helpful guidelines when considering adding initial or more insulation products that all homeowners should seriously consider before performing the task.
The right choice of insulation material can save homeowners a lot of money on their monthly energy bills. Additionally, proper insulation can help prevent humidity and unwanted moisture from causing water damage or mold and mildew growth if the conditions are right.
There are many facets to understand regarding the best choices in home insulation that can help homeowners choose the right materials that will get the most bang for their buck. Also, it is crucial to know just where to place the insulation so that it works in the recommended manner.
Read on for some facts that every homeowner should know about insulation.
Learn the Different Main Types of Insulation
There are a few main types of insulation that homeowners can install in an attic or other locations inside their homes. These include:
Spray-Foam Insulation Details
Homeowners wanting to get better insulation in smaller spaces, like cracks and crannies, often noticed around doorways and windows, will usually be pleased with the spray-foam type of insulation. This insulation is sprayed on when wet and expands as the foam dries, making it reasonably simple to apply.
Another benefit of this insulation type is that it repels moisture, thereby preventing possible mold and mildew infestation in the future. One drawback is that this insulation tends to be the most expensive.
This type of insulation is ideal for insulating attics and other chilly spaces, and you can use it over top of already installed insulation materials in most cases.
This product is made from smaller pieces of cellulose or fiberglass. The product is then blown into the desired location using a larger hose. The insulation pieces tend to fill in open spaces and give the treated area a thicker layer of protection.
Batte Insulation Uses
Insulation sold as battes tends to be longer insulation strips designed for areas that don’t have many obstacles that get in the way. These battes come in multiple sizes, materials choices, and thicknesses.
This product tends to be less expensive, but it will not be enough to seal off an entire attic in the majority of cases. Consumers can choose from wool, fiberglass, cotton, and cellulose.
What Is the R-Value of Insulation?
Consumers will often see the term R-value when shopping for insulation products. Insulation is used to slow heat as it travels through the insulation layers. The R-value is a measurement that seeks to indicate the amount of this heat transfer and helps consumers pick the correct amount of insulation for their desired purposes.
It should be noted that insulation is not meant to block airflow completely; instead, it slows heat transfer from one space to another. The type and R-value designation will be different depending on the climate and other factors where the insulation will be used.
How to Determine if Your Home Has Enough Insulation
The Department of Energy and other reliable energy research organizations estimate that 90% of residential homes do not have the recommended amount of insulation. This statistic is especially true when someone has bought an older home or building.
Building codes often require a specific amount of insulation, and many older structures do not meet these numbers. View these helpful tips for determining if your house has enough insulation throughout. These include:
- Energy bills are higher
- Hot & cold spots noticed throughout the home
- Presence of ice-dams on rooftops
- Exposed floor joists evident in attic space
- The house feels drafty
How Long Should Insulation Last?
Once installed, most forms of insulation should last up to 100 years, depending on other factors inside the home. If a roof leaks or airflow is obstructed, the insulation won’t work in the manner that it was meant to by the manufacturer.
If your home inspection indicates a need for further insulation, you may be able to add to what insulation is already there.
The Dangers of Asbestos in Insulation Materials
Many health experts warn that homeowners should be wary of removing or disturbing building materials like insulation that might be contaminated with asbestos. This contamination was a common occurrence before about 1990 in certain types of insulation used in building materials.
If you suspect asbestos, never remove the insulation yourself. A professional asbestos removal specialist is necessary to perform this task safely. Be alert for insulation colored a silvery grey or gold hue that resembles small pebbles or look like popcorn.
Seal Off Air Drafts Before Installing Insulation
Since insulation works by slowing down heat passage through its layers, very drafty areas might need to be sealed off before installing it. There are also barriers that builders often recommend in potentially damp areas that may or may not be necessary.
Some Additional Benefits of Proper Home Insulation
A home with the right level and type of insulation should remain cooler during hot summer months and warmer come wintertime. Insulation can also create a more comfortable indoor temperature that is consistent throughout the home.
People with allergies or other breathing problems often find symptom relief when their air circulation system is sealed off from airborne lung irritant particles. The proper attic insulation can help to lower the number of irritating lung particles from getting inside in the first place.
Insulation can also be a deterrent to moisture leaks known to cause mold or mildew growth.
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