The United States Department of Energy (USDOE) estimates that more than 50 percent of the energy used in an average American home is spent on heating and cooling. As a result of poor insulation, energy wastage is prevalent and this increases the carbon footprint. Using the right insulation has been found to reduce energy costs in a home by about 20 percent. In insulation, resistance is provided to heat flow and the greater this resistance, the lower will be the heating and cooling costs. The principle that heat flows naturally from a warmer place to a cooler one is made use of here.
The United States Department of Energy (USDOE) estimates that more than 50 percent of the energy used in an average American home is spent on heating and cooling.
1.Where to Insulate
The USDOE offers guidelines on where to place insulation in an existing home as well as one that is being constructed. It also has charts indicating the levels of insulation required depending on geographical area. Attic spaces, cathedral ceilings, exterior walls, floors above unheated garages, foundations, basements, and crawl spaces are some areas to which special attention must be paid during insulation.
Doing some research on the subject can be beneficial when taking a decision on how to insulate your home adequately. If you have a new house then the builder may be able to help you with this. If you want insulation done for an existing house, you could think of having an energy assessment done. Also, a home which is older than 10 years will need more insulation than newer homes.
3.Air Leaks and Insulation
If your home has air leaks, sealing them off is the first step before insulation. This can be done by caulking and weather stripping all seams and cracks. Existing insulation should also be inspected for leaks and mold. Foam sealant can be used around large gaps such as around the kitchen exhaust and dryer vents. Fireplace chimneys and furnaces are some other places that need to be checked for leaks.
4.Wall and Floor Insulation
If you insulate the exterior walls of your home, it will help stabilize the indoor temperature. When there is an unheated space like a garage, the floor above it should be insulated to prevent any heat loss. The insulation should be such that there is no space left for air or moisture. While improving your insulation, you could also try to improve your ventilation system.
5.Types of Insulation
Blanket insulation can be of fiberglass, mineral, plastic fibers, and natural fibers. These are ideal for unfinished walls such as foundation walls, floors, and ceilings. The ideal method of installation is fitting them between studs, joists, and beams. Concrete block insulation is made of foam beads or liquid foam and besides walls is used in new construction and major renovations. Foam board or rigid foam can be used on walls, floors, and ceilings as well as unvented low-slope roofs. These afford high insulation value at comparatively little thickness. Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) consisting of foam boards or foam blocks can be installed as part of the structure. Loose fill insulation is of cellulose, fiberglass, or mineral wool. It has to be blown into place or poured in.
6.Factors to Consider
When selecting insulation for your home, you must keep in mind some factors like the design and size of your home, the climatic conditions in the area, and your budget. If you have cathedral ceilings then using higher R-value insulation may be a good idea. If you have to place insulation in the vicinity of a light fixture, make sure it is at a safe distance to avoid any kind of fire hazard. Despite insulating and air sealing your attic, if your home is still losing heat, it might mean that you need to add more insulation to the exterior walls. Most state and city building codes now have specifications about the minimum insulation requirements for an energy-efficient home. Insulating more than the minimum recommended value is the best option. The ‘whole-house systems approach’ is considered ideal when designing and building such a home.
7.The Best of Both Worlds
In most cases, you do not have to take down any interior walls or bring about any major changes to upgrade the existing insulation in your home. An alternative to taking down walls to complete this episode is spray insulation and this is usually quite effective too.