Understanding the Differences in Types of Insulation

In the winter, heat from your heating system rises to the top of your house. An under insulated attic will allow heat to pass right through your roof. If you’re under-insulated, you are losing heat, and cold air can easily enter.

Air sealing is the first step in proper insulation. Air sealing is the practice of checking for and sealing air leaks in common trouble spots in your home, such as door and window frames. To properly air seal, use caulk and weather stripping. Air sealing prevents excessive air exchange from inside to outside and vice versa. Placing any kind of insulation without air sealing is malpractice. All homes should be air sealed regardless of what climate they are in.

Air sealing alone will reduce your energy bills by as much as 40%! Don’t waste your money on insulation without air sealing your home.

 

Let’s Talk About R-Value

Insulation levels are specified by R-value. R-value is a term used to measure the insulations ability to resist heat traveling through it. The map below shows the levels of insulation that are cost effective for various regions across the US, as recommended by Energy Star.

 

What Types of Insulation Are Available?

It’s important to know the R-value of the material used in the insulation of your attic. The higher the R-value, the better the material is at resisting heat flow.

FIBERGLASS

R value: 3 per inch

R-values can be increased by increasing the thickness of the insulation. However, the framing of the house can limit you in how much insulation you can add in certain areas. The fiberglass batting also has to be perfectly placed. R-values are given when the insulation is evenly touching all sides of a structure. A gap of as little as 4% will cause the R-value to drop by about 30%. Fiberglass insulation can also trap dust, dirt, and allergens. It can also trap moisture which can lead to mold growth.

CELLULOSE

R value: 3.7 per inch

Cellulose is blown into an area filling in all gaps and crevices. Cellulose can be blown in at a depth of up to sixteen inches, completely covering the wood floor joists. This material is often treated with pesticides. It is also resistant to moisture and won’t allow fungus to develop. It is also treated with a fire retardant. Homes with furnace duct systems can expect some of the cellulose dust to circulate throughout the air of the home. Cellulose also settles into areas by as much as twenty percent which means more cellulose will have to be added over time.

SPRAY FOAM

R value:  6-7 per inch

Spray foam insulation expands as it is placed into a cavity. This allows it to evenly fill the space with no gapping whatsoever.  Because it is impermeable to air flow, spray foam offers a lower, long-term cost of insulating your home than fiberglass. It is also impermeable to moisture which means it won’t promote mold growth. Spray foam is environmentally safe and class one fire rated.

 

How do you know if you have enough insulation? Do you know if your home has air leaks? Is the type of insulation that you have doing its job or is it costing you money on your energy bill each month? If you have these questions and more, our trained, certified, and expert technicians can conduct an energy audit on your home. This will ensure that you are achieving maximum comfort and efficiency throughout your entire home. It will also ensure that you aren’t wasting money due to inefficient systems inside of your home. Stop wasting money on your energy bill and give us a call today at 888-483-5740. You can also schedule online by clicking below.