Why Insulate? — An Introduction to Insulation
Although insulation is an important part of a building, it is often the least understood. Many people aren’t aware of the many places energy is lost in a home. As an Owens Corning™ Certified Energy Expert®, Home Comfort understands the science behind the building envelope. So, you can turn to us to learn more about the benefits of insulation.
Insulation lays a foundation of energy efficiency for residential, commercial and industrial structures. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to save energy and reduce monthly energy bills. Whether you are remodeling a home or building a new business, there are many benefits of insulation:
- Increased, more consistent interior comfort all year long
- Reduced energy usage
- Lower heating and cooling costs
- Less wear and tear on HVAC equipment
- Reduced noise transmission for a quieter space
- Improved air quality
- Reduced moisture intrusion
- Less overall environmental impact
How Insulation Works
Heat flows from higher temperature areas to lower temperature areas, creating temperature fluctuation within a space. Insulation wraps your home in a protective blanket, reducing heat flow in order to keep the heat out during warmer months and the heat in during cooler months. Insulation is an excellent noise absorber and helps to reduce sound transmission from both outside and within a home, creating a quieter space with less reverberation.
Insulation also allows other energy-efficient components, such as air sealing, to do their job, forming a complete insulating system that helps maintain consistent temperatures and moisture levels, reduce energy usage and increase monthly energy savings.
What Is R-Value?
You will often see the term “R-value” come up when researching different insulation materials. The “R” in R-value stands for resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the higher the level of resistance and the greater the insulating power. R-value requirements vary depending on climate and building type.
Below is an example of how R-value relates to the amount of insulation used in a typical attic. The thicknesses listed are for Owens Corning® PROPINK® L77 Loosefill Insulation blown in the attic and not a general rule of thumb for any other brand/type of insulation in any other areas/applications. We can provide you the correct amount of insulation for your project based on its specifications.
Where to Insulate
Insulation is applied to many different types of residential and commercial structures. In a home, insulation should be installed in the walls, floors, attic space, basement and crawlspace.
A more detailed list includes:
- Ceilings with unheated spaces above, including dormer ceilings
- Knee walls of attic spaces finished as living areas
- Sloped walls and ceilings of attics finished as living areas
- Cathedral or vaulted ceilings
- Around perimeters of slabs
- Floors above vented crawl spaces
- Floors over unheated or open spaces such as over garages or porches
- Basement walls
- Band and header joists
- Interior walls, ceilings or floors where extra sound control is desired
- Floors over unconditioned basements
Insulation Types & Materials
Insulation is manufactured in a variety of forms and materials to suit a range of efficiency, structural and budgetary needs. Each option brings its own level of durability, versatility, R-value and cost. Learn more about the types of insulation and related materials we install:
How Much Insulation Is Enough?
The amount of insulation needed varies depending on location, building type and materials. We will consult with you on your specific needs to develop a recommendation.
Things to Consider When Insulating
- What type of insulation is being used?
- Does the insulation meet or exceed local building codes and national recommended insulation levels?
- How effective is the insulation (thermal performance, acoustical performance)?
- Is the insulation resistant to moisture, fire and settling?
- Is the insulation material safe and sustainable?
- Is the insulation cost effective?
Your House as a System
Though insulation is one of the most essential and cost-effective ways to create overall energy efficiency, there are many factors to take into consideration. Insulation and air sealing combined with energy-efficient appliances, windows, doors, lighting and HVAC equipment build a whole-house efficiency system that will be beneficial for years to come.
Contact Home Comfort Insulation to learn more about how insulation can save you both energy and money. Also be sure to check out this Home Comfort Quiz from our friends at Owens Corning. This will help you identify areas that may need additional protection against unseen energy loss.