Are you looking for significant ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home and drastically reduce your monthly electricity bill? Upgrading your home insulation can have a large impact on your energy costs and provide a comfortable indoor climate for your home. When you increase or replace the insulation in your home, there will be less air leaks throughout the entire home, thus helping you rely on your heating and cooling system much less and saving you money on your electric bill. There are plenty of ways to DIY home insulation, and other times when a professional contractor will really come in handy. Learn more about five different home insulation types for a more energy efficient home.
5 Types of Insulation for the Home
Properly insulating your home will not only lower your energy bills, but will also provide sound control, increase energy efficiency and aid in moisture control. Some of the main areas in your home that could use more insulation are the attic, basement, crawlspace, exterior walls and floors, garage, knee walls, and any cracks around windows and doors. As you review the following home insulation types to see which combination is best for your home, keep a product’s R-value in consideration, as it measures resistance to heat flow, and the higher the R-Value, the better the insulation is at reducing energy loss. Read below for information on 5 common types of insulation for your home.
1. Blanket Insulation: Batts and Rolls
Blanket insulation is the most popular and inexpensive type of DIY insulation for unfinished walls, floors, and ceilings, and comes in the forms of batts or rolls. This type of insulation is typically made from fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibers and natural fibers, and are available in pre-cut widths suited to fit between standard spacing of wall studs, attic rafters, and floor joists. They can also be purchased in continuous rolls if you want to hand-cut and trim it to fit spaces in your home. Blanket batts and rolls often have foil, foil-kraft paper, vinyl or flame-resistant facing attached to them to act as a vapor or air barrier and help with fastening during installation, but they are also available without this attached facing. Standard fiberglass blanket insulation has R-values between R-2.9 and R-3.8 per inch of thickness, while high-performance (medium and high density) fiberglass blanket insulation has R-values between R-3.7 and R-4.3 per inch of thickness.
2. Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation is best used with existing finished, irregularly shaped or hard-to-reach spaces, such as small gaps and cracks around doors, windows and vents. It sets quickly and can be trimmed, painted, or stained. Liquid foam installation, often made up of polyurethane, is sprayed, injected, or poured into the cavity of the wall, where it expands and hardens into a solid foam to seal air leaks and gaps. Pressure sprayed (foamed-in-place) insulation is available for covering large areas such as walls, attic surfaces or under floors. Open-cell foam is the more affordable and DIY friendly type of spongy spray foam, has an R-value of R-3.7 per inch of thickness, and should not be installed below ground level where it could absorb water. If you want to go with more expensive and denser closed-cell foam with an R-value of 6.2 per inch of thickness, it is best to hire the services of a professional.
3. Blown-In Insulation
Blown-in insulation is best for when you need to add existing insulation to finished, irregularly shaped or hard-to-reach spaces. It is applied using a machine that blows a paper-like material such as fiberglass, rock wool, or recycled newspapers or cardboard, all of which confirm to fit any time type of obstructed space. R-values for blown-in insulation range from R-2.2 for fiberglass and up to to R-3.8 for dense newspaper or cardboard, otherwise referred to as cellulose. While simple jobs can be accomplished on your own, it is best to consider using a professional for higher quality results.
4. Foam Board or Rigid Foam Panels
Foam boards and rigid foam panels are great for insulating the entire exterior and interior structure of your home, from unfinished walls , such as foundation and basement walls, to the roof, floors and ceilings. These rigid panels of insulation are commonly made up of polystyrene, polyisocyanurate (polyiso) or polyurethane. This type of sheathing helps reduce heat conduction through structural elements like wood and steel studs and also provides good thermal resistance. The R-values of foam boards typically range between R-4 and R-6.5 per inch of thickness, showcasing that they reduce more energy consumption than other types of insulation.
5. Reflective Insulation or Radiant Barrier
Reflective or radiant barriers are best for attics, unfinished walls, ceilings and floors in hot climates, particularly when cooling air ducts are located in the attic, as they can lower cooling costs by up to 10%. While standard insulation aims to reduce heat flow in a home, reflective insulation instead reflects the heat away from the home to prevent heat gain and radiant heat transfer to cooler surfaces indoors. This type of insulation is constructed using a reflective barrier, such as aluminum foil, placed over a substrate material, like polyethylene bubbles or kraft paper. It is recommended that homes in warmer climates have reflective or radiant barriers installed between the joists, rafters and beams in the attic since this is where most heat enters the home. Homeowners can install this type of installation on their own without the help of a professional.
Install a Variety of Insulation Types in Your Home Today!
Whether you want to go the DIY insulation route and install blanket batts and rolls or try your hand at spray foam insulation, or you want to shell out for a professional contractor to come to your home to install blown-in insulation, any improvement in your home insulation will help increase your home’s energy efficiency. If you want to start with filling in the wall cavities around your home or want to do a full blown attic insulation, your energy bill will be grateful for the upgrades! Try one of these insulation types on your home and start saving money on your energy costs today!
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