11 Jan Why Energy Efficient Insulation Works
Insulation remains the most important home improvement project a homeowner should make. In particular, energy efficient insulation improves home comfort and reduces utility bills, while helping the environment.
GreenHomes helps homeowners because we provide unbiased information about the root causes of common home discomfort issues. For example, air leaks between your home and the attic, crawlspace, garage or outside, along with insufficient attic and wall insulation remain the likely root cause of many uncomfortable homes. Plus, these issues drive higher heating and cooling bills each month.
As a result, homeowners that install energy efficient insulation receive many benefits. For example, by air sealing and adding insulation, homeowners can install a smaller furnace when it is time for replacement.
Additionally, the primary reason homeowners contact GreenHomes America remains solving home comfort problems. Do any of these apply to you?
- Rooms in your home that are always hot in the summer and cold in the winter?
- Do you have cold floors or feel drafts in certain parts of your home?
- Are you generally uncomfortable in your home?
If so, then consider a comprehensive energy audit for your home. A comprehensive energy audit determines how much air leakage exists in your home, along with the current insulation levels and quality of installation. Plus, and most importantly, the audit informs you about how you can improve your home’s comfort.
How does energy efficient insulation work?
In simple terms: insulation blocks heat from entering the home in the summer and holds heat in during the winter, which results in a cooler home in the summer, warmer home in the winter, and lower energy bills year-round.
It’s that simple and it really works.
For any homeowner considering adding or reviewing their insulation, keep in mind that frequently the cost of the added insulation pays for itself through energy savings in less than a year or two!
As a solution, GreenHomes America recommends air sealing and insulation. The air sealing keeps the heated or air conditioned air in your home and prevents unwanted outside air from entering. Only after comprehensive air sealing of your home should insulation should be increased in a variety of places, such as:
- attics, basements and crawlspaces.
- spots with poorly installed insulation.
- areas with thinly installed insulation.
- exterior walls or floors over unheated spaces with little to no insulation.
Regardless of the location in your home, insulation should always be installed to be continuous and to the proper thickness (and ALWAYS after air sealing first).
INSULATE WHERE NEEDED!
Types of Energy Efficient Insulation
Depending on your home, there are different types of insulation that work to protect your home. For example, the type of attic insulation may differ from the best wall insulation. In order to determine the best type of energy efficient insulation, homeowners should find a quality energy auditor.
Here are a few of the most common insulation types that you should know about:
Cellulose insulation provides some notable benefits. Plus, it strikes the perfect balance with high-performance and cost.
Some of the advantages of cellulose insulation include:
- Cellulose maintains an R-value of about 3.8 per inch
- The density of cellulose makes it a superior sound barrier.
- In addition, cellulose is a recycled product, which maintains a very low embodied energy.
- Cellulose offers homeowners with an environmentally friendly energy efficient insulation option.
Fiberglass insulation is very common in the building industry and provides some noteworthy benefits. Some of the advantages of fiberglass insulation include:
- Purchase in rolls (or batts) or in loose-fill which provides flexibility.
- Not as dusty as cellulose during installation.
- Easily installed in many locations within the home.
- Purchase in many different widths and thicknesses that promotes easier installation.
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation helps provide lower heating and cooling bills, while enabling a more comfortable indoor environment.
Many energy efficient homes are insulated with spray foam. Spray foam insulation acts as the insulation resisting heat loss and the air sealing resisting air leakage in walls, floors and ceiling cavities. The foam is sprayed into open building cavities and expands to fill all the nooks and crannies. In open wall applications, the excess foam is scraped off the studs to form a uniformly insulated wall cavity.
Spray foam remains a good option for retrofits, such as:
- attic conversions.
- basement remodels.
- crawl space upgrades.
- intensive remodeling projects when walls are opened for other reasons.
Spray foam insulation makes it easy to completely fill open wall cavities with insulation and perform air sealing in the same step. As a result, this eliminates the need for separate air-tightness detailing.
Prior to the creation of energy codes, builders rarely put insulation in the walls. When they did, the wall cavity was only partially filled with insulation. Therefore, homeowners experienced comfort issues, higher utility bills and louder outside noises inside your home.
Many homeowners still misunderstand the important benefits of proper wall insulation. For example, homeowners experience the following advantages with proper wall insulation:
- Dramatically reduce drafts in the winter.
- Cooler rooms in the summer, particularly those facing west that receive intense afternoon sunshine.
- Quieter home – far less noise penetrates the walls.
- Lower utility bills – your heating and cooling equipment will run less often.
- In the event of a fire, insulation filled cavities will slow the fire advancement.
For existing homes, proper insulation typically includes filling the wall cavities with insulation from the outside of the home. Technicians remove small pieces of siding, drill holes and fill wall cavities with insulation. When complete, the technicians plug the holes and re-install the siding.
Additionally, the blown-in insulation, when installed properly, compacts tightly around wires, plumbing, and other penetrations. Dense-packed wall insulation provides an airtight blanket with a slightly elevated R-value -per inch.
Attic insulation reduces the heat in your home that is lost to the attic in the winter.
Heat flows naturally from a warmer to a cooler space. So, in the winter, heat moves directly from all heated areas to unheated attics, garages, basements, and even to the outdoors. It can also move indirectly through interior ceilings, walls, and floors — wherever there is a difference in temperature. During the summer, heat flows from the outdoors to the interior of a house and also radiates down from the attic where there is insufficient insulation.
To tackle these issues, GreenHomes America offers homeowners with expert advice in the sealing of air leaks, followed by installing new or additional attic insulation. GreenHomes typically recommends from R-40 to R-60 in attics to maximize comfort and utility bill savings.
The most important aspect of improving the insulation levels of your home remains proper installation of your insulation (and air sealing). Ensure your insulation work properly protects your home calling the experts at GreenHomes America! We've improved the insulation and comfort levels in thousands of homes across the U.S!