Insulation is easily the most important part of any home. With so many places to insulate it can be overwhelming to decide where insulation should be installed first. This article will cover the most critical places in your home that need insulation, and which type is the best for each project. Excellent places to begin include basements, crawl spaces, and attics. Hopefully, the walls inside your house have already been well insulated during construction, however, in some instances, the interior walls of your home may need to be lined with additional insulation.
As every home should be insulated all the way from the tippy-top down to the very foundation, attics can be a great place to begin. The insulation in your attic is not only important in protecting the roofing on your house but also plays a critical role in keeping your home cool during the summer months. Blown-in, batt, and spray foam are all potential options for insulating your attic.
Blown-in insulation is great for insulating attics with open, incomplete floors. A special machine is used to blow the small lightweight pieces of insulation right into place. It can have a variable R-value and range in price depending on the materials you choose, and who you hire to install it. Blown-in is a popular option as it is one of the most affordable types of insulation and can also be very eco-friendly.
Batt insulation typically comes in sheets made from fiberglass. It can have an R-value up to 3.8 per inch. As opposed to blown in, it doesn’t require any special machinery for installation, and can easily be installed by the homeowner. Just cut sheets to size and place them in the desired area.
Batt insulation can also last a bit longer than blown-in insulation because it is not prone to settling. It can be a little more expensive than blown-in, however, you could potentially save a few dollars if you do the installation yourself.
If you live in an area with a very hot climate, you may want to consider using a radiant barrier in addition to fiberglass batts in the attic. A radiant barrier is designed to reflect heat, so It can work well to better regulate the temperature in your attic and keep it cooler.
While spray foam insulation is the most expensive it is also the most effective with an R-value; up to 6.5 per inch. It needs to be installed by a professional but it will last a lifetime and comes with the added benefit of providing a very effective barrier against water, protecting your home from the damage that might occur as a result of a leaky roof.
Many people don’t realize the importance of insulating the ducting in your home. If you have ductwork within the walls, attic, or basement of your home it may be necessary to add insulation around them. Keeping your ducts insulated will make heating and cooling more effective and prevent transient energy losses. While it’s best to have this done during the initial building of the home, if you find that you need additional insulation for your ductwork you can find various insulation wraps at your local hardware store that can easily be installed without the help of a professional.
If you have cathedral ceilings in your home, they can be a great place to add additional insulation because as everybody knows, heat rises. Foil-faced batts can work well for this because they can fit nicely between the rafters. Blown-in insulation can also be used to fill any dabs or voids. You just need to be sure that there are no leaks in your roof and that it is well sealed, as the accumulation of any moisture will be a detriment to your insulation. For this reason, spray foam can also be a great option.
If you find that your home is uncomfortable during periods of extreme temperatures, such as during the dead of winter or in the peak of summer, and your attic is already properly sealed and insulated, there’s a good chance that you will need to add insulation to your exterior walls.
The outside facing walls of your home should have hopefully already been insulated during the initial construction, and if you find that you do need to add more it could end up being a big job as you may have to tear out some walls to do it properly. However, the energy savings could be worth the effort and the investment if you happen to live somewhere where the weather is very cold.
The specifics of your situation will determine which type of insulation is best for this task. If you are just looking to add additional insulation to existing walls, blown-in insulation can be a good choice, using a pack-down technique to better fill any nuts and crannies. However, if you’re remodeling we recommend spray foam as it has can completely seal out air and water, and has the highest energy efficiency.
Floors Above an Unheated Garage:
If you live in a warmer area of the country and you have a garage, you know how hot it can get in there. The temperature inside the garage can be up to 20 degrees higher than the outside temperature, which means that in order to maintain a comfortable temperature in the garage and in any rooms that may be above the garage you are definitely going to want that extra insulation in order to keep all that extra heat out.
Blown-in insulation can be used under the floorboards of any of these rooms to keep them cooler and help regulate the temperature. Spray foam is even better for this purpose as it will provide an airtight seal keeping car exhaust and chemical fumes out as well as providing superior insulation power.
It may be beneficial to insulate your foundation if you happen to live in a colder climate. the ground can act as a major heat sink and quickly suck energy away from the central air of your home. If you have ever tried to sleep on the bare ground without a pad or a blanket you will know that the ground has the ability to suck the heat right out of you. It is important to have good insulation installed on your foundation if you want to ensure that all of your hard work insulating does not go to waste. Adding insulation to the foundation will also give you the added benefit of sealing out moisture and deterring pests.
Unfortunately, for existing homes applying insulation to the foundation is pretty impractical. This is best done during the initial construction process. If you are having a home custom-built, ask your contractor about the variety of options that may be available to you.
Basements are another place in your home that is easy to access but insulating it properly can go a long way towards reducing your monthly energy bill. If your basement is not insulated already you’ll want to make sure that it gets done, pronto!
Spray foam can be a great choice for basements as it will provide you with excellent energy efficiency and also prevent you from developing issues with moisture. As basements are notorious for developing mold and mildew, applying spray foam insulation can be an important part of protecting the investment in your home.
If your basement has any issues with standing water or problems with drainage, then it is absolutely critical that this issue be resolved before installing any insulation.
Besides the energy savings you will enjoy, a completed basement can increase the value of your home by giving you additional livable space.
Crawl spaces can be difficult when it comes to insulation projects because they tend to be very cramped spaces and because of their potential for moisture accumulation. Moisture and humidity will accumulate quickly in your crawl space in the absence of a good ventilation system. Mold can grow easily on many insulation materials, so it is important to make sure that your crawl space is well insulated before considering any insulation projects.
Keeping your home well insulated is essential for energy savings and maintaining a comfortable temperature. If you don’t have proper insulation installed already don’t fret! Insulation can be installed at any time. If you are building a new home or doing renovations, be sure to speak to your contractor early in the planning process and let them know your preferences so they can work with you to meet your needs.
While some parts of the home are difficult to insulate after completion of the build, others are much easier. Save yourself some headache and plan your insulation projects well in advance and make sure to coordinate with your other home projects.