Summer is drawing to an end and winter is quickly approaching. While none of us have need to turn on our heaters yet, it is time to consider whether or not you’re well-protected against the cold.
With the autumnal season comes cold weather and a big increase in energy bills. One of the most telling signs of a poorly insulated house is when you notice your energy bills are sky high, but your house remains chilly enough to warrant you wearing a sweater and slippers. If that was you last winter, it might be time to take a look at the condition of your home insulation before you start handing over your paycheck to your energy provider.
Properly insulating your attic and crawl space can save you quite literally thousands of dollars over the course of the next 10 years. On many occasions, our customers have found that their insulation job pays for itself over the course of one winter due to the decrease in energy required to heat their home.
The most common choice of insulation is batt fiberglass. It’s effective insular qualities and inexpensive prices make it a popular option for insulation. In other words, it has quality enough to do its job, without costing a fortune at the onset. With an R-value per inch of 3.1 – 4.3, fiberglass insulation will keep your home energy efficient and toasty warm.
Downside to Fiberglass Insulation:
Fiberglass works best in large flat areas that do not have multiple cross beams or obstacles such as wires or outlets, as these will create air pockets and gaps that will diminish its effectiveness as insulating your home. At AtticFiveStars we can counteract this at times by combining blown insulation in addition to the batted rolls.
Also, fiberglass that’s exposed to moisture will have its insular qualities greatly diminished. The water will take the place of air in the gaps between the fibers. Because water so easily conducts heat, it allows the heat to escape from the home.
Spray Foam Insulation:
Spray foam insulation is the most effective insulation on the market today. It has the highest R-value, coming in at R-6 per square inch. Spray foam insulation (we recommend the closed-cell type) also provides an air seal and moisture barrier.
As the insulation is sprayed onto the surface of an area, it expands to fill all nooks and crannies. This makes it ideal for areas that have many obstacles that would get in the way of batt rolls. Its rigidity also provides a structural support for your building.
Downside to Spray Foam Insulation:
Unsurprisingly, considering it’s top-notch insular qualities and moisture barrier capabilities, spray foam insulation is the most expensive type of insulation on the market, costing up to 2-4 times the amount of other types of insulation. We feel that this is well offset, however, by it’s greater capabilities and the fact that it so frequently outlasts other types of insulation.
We can also use a hybrid approach for clients. We recommend to use spray foam insulation on the first two inches of the area to get the benefits of the air seal and moisture barrier. The remaining area may then be filled in with less expensive insulation, such as fiberglass or cellulose.
Cellulose and Cotton Insulation:
The most common forms of natural fiber insulation is cellulose, which is made from recycled plants fibers such as newspapers, and cotton, which is most commonly made from recycled denim.
This type of insulation comes in batts and as blown-in insulation. It’s R-value ranges from 3.5-3.8 per inch. Because both cellulose and cotton insulation are made from primarily recycled materials, it is a common choice for homes that want to be eco-friendly.
Because this insulation is blown-in, it is a common choice for areas that have many obstacles, such as wires, outlets, etc. It is also frequently used to fill wall cavities in homes that do not have or have had to remove insulation from the walls. A hole can be cut into the wall and the insulation blown in to fill it.
Downside to Natural Fiber Insulation:
Both types of insulation should not be exposed to moisture. The fibers will wick up water and are very difficult to dry. Additionally, cotton or cellulose insulation will develop mold or mildew if the damp areas are not dried out completely or removed.
Foam Board Insulation:
This insulation is actually made from materials similar to that of spray foam insulation. It has a very high insular value, ranging from R-4.5-6 per inch. It is impermeable to moisture, similar to the spray foam insulation. It can be easily and quite cheaply installed, and is excellent for use in large, flat areas, such as wall cavities or between floors.
Downside to Foam Board:
The large sheets of foam board can make it difficult for an area that has accumulated moisture, whether airborne or from a leak, to dry out. (Foam board does not provide an airtight seal like spray foam, and thus air borne moisture is a factor.) This makes it important for builders and insulators to ensure that the area in which it is installed is protected from moisture.
Also, foam board is arguably one of the least environmentally friendly options on the market currently. To offset this, however, many programs and recycling facilities have developed recycling and repurposing programs to help limit foam boards’ impact on the environment.
AtticFiveStars has a long history of keeping clients satisfied with a job well done. We are glad to work within your budget, providing cost-saving ideas and information on possible rebates through utilities providers in your area.
We’d love to offer you our professional advice regarding your insulation needs. If you’d like a free quote, submit the quote request form you will find on our homepage and specials page. We’ll call you to schedule an appointment and get your home fit for winter weather in no time!