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Insulation

 

Home insulation is so important that it’s not optional anymore and it can be considered a necessity due to the escalating cost of non-renewable energy such as petroleum. If your house is more than 15 years old or if you are renovating your house, you might want to consider home insulation as part of the work.

If you are spending too much on your monthly energy bills, it might well be due to your home’s insulation isn’t up to snuff. According to the Department of Energy, 44% of the energy used in the average American home goes toward heating and cooling. The culprit may well be at your house attic, walls or floors which are under-insulated. If you are not doing enough insulation at these parts of your house, a large part of your costly, conditioned air may be making a beeline for the great outdoors.

Here comes InsulationInfo.org for your rescue. At InsulationInfo.org, you could find free resources on home insulation, insulation tips and guides, home insulation methods and how to save on insulation cost.

Before going further, the following are a couple of quick guides on home insulation, types and methods.

Why proper insulation is important for your house?

Take for example, fiber glass insulation keeps your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter because insulation resists the flow of heat. Heat is a form of energy that flows out of the home in the winter and into the home in the summer. By reducing heat flow, a properly insulated home uses less energy for heating and cooling which save you on your electricity bill.

In addition to being an energy saver, fiber glass insulation also acts as a sound absorber. When installed in walls and ceilings, it can reduce the transmission of sound from one room to another or from the outside. In today’s noise-laden environments, more and more homeowners are soundproofing their homes. A well-insulated home increases the overall comfort of the home and adds to its resale value. It pays to insulate your home no matter what your house value is.

What areas of my home should be insulated?

There are a few areas of your house that should be insulated in particular. For example, your house attics and walls are important areas that should be insulated. The attics and walls insulation gives the best deal on your return on investment (ROI) value. Other areas of your house that should be insulated as well include your house ceilings with unheated spaces, basement walls, floors above vented crawl spaces, cathedral ceilings, floors over unheated garages or porches, knee walls, and in between interior walls (especially bathrooms), ceilings or floors for extra sound control.

How do I know how much insulation I need for my home?

The amount of insulation in a home varies depending upon where you live. NAIMA has developed recommended levels of insulation for various climate zones. These recommendations are based on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Energy Conservation Code which is the model building code for the United States.

FindWhat is R-value?

Insulation effectiveness is measured by R-value. “R” stands for resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value is for a material, the greater the insulating power for that material.

In addition, manufacturers of insulation products print R-values of their products either on the bags or on the labels. In most cases, R-values are also printed on the facings of fiberglass batts and rolls.

What are the options when choosing which insulation should you be using?

There are a variety of insulations to choose from including fiber glass, mineral wool, cellulose, foam and cotton. The most common types of insulation for residential applications are fiberglass and cellulose. There are several things to consider before making an insulation decision:

• Thermal Performance – Installed R-value

• Lifetime Performance

• Fire Safety

• Moisture

• Air Infiltration

• Environmental Benefits

Should I remove existing insulation to my home before installing a new one?

Since R-values are cumulative, there is no need to remove what you already have. By layering two different batts together, you get the combined R-value of both batts. For example, two layers of R-19 batts will give you a total of R-38. Be sure to use unfaced R-19, R-25 or R-30 fiber glass batts and lay them cross-wise to the existing insulation covering the joists. Do not put a product with a vapor retarder or facing on top of existing insulation. If there is no insulation in your attic, use R-30 or R-38 full width, faced batts, or fiber glass loose-fill installed to the required R-value.

Attic not only needs to be insulated, it also needs to be ventilated. Attic ventilation is important to keep the attic dry and clean. Attic ventilation is necessary for attic to ensure moisture is not collected in the attic which can cause wood rot and ceiling leaks. This is the reason you won’t find insulation packed right up to the roof or being applied between rafters. If your attic has insulation actually attached to the roof surface, you may want to remove it and replace it with insulation on the attic floor.

For attic that doesn’t appear to have enough vents (the attic is hot and there is no air movements inside), you may want to consult a contractor. They will be able to tell you where to add vents, and the type of vents to add, to solve your problems in the most effective ways. One popular method is the stainless-steel mushroom-shaped “whirlybird” vents that you often see rotating on their “stems” on the back sides of roofs. These turbine require no power, but do an excellent job of pulling air out of attic spaces when there’s even the smallest breeze blowing.

The following are a couple of popular vents for attic ventilation which you could consider installing.

Roof Vent

If you are comfortable working on your roof, and the roof is a standard asphalt shingle style without a high pitch, you can install a roof vent yourself. Otherwise, get a contractor to help. It should not be an expensive job and it can make a big difference to the health of your house.

You can first determine how many vents you need, depending on how large your attic is and how much air the vent can move. You could get this information from the place where you purchase the vent. The staffs there should be able to tell you. The vents should be placed fairly close to the ridgeline of the roof, between roof rafters so that you are not cutting through the rafters to install the vent. It should be spaced away from vents in the gables or the eaves so that the attic will be ventilated evenly.

You could refer to the instruction or a template that often comes with the installation kit to determine the hole you need to cut. It doesn’t matter if you are installing a flat vent or a whirlybird vent, the installation kit should have the information you need. Read through the entire instruction list before you do anything else, and ensure that you have all the pieces that should be in the kit, including the vent itself, the template and the flashing that will create a waterproof seal between the vent and the shingles surrounding it. The vent and the flashing are often an all-in-one style.

Some tips which you can apply when installing the roof vents are you should avoid climbing on the roof during hot days. Not only will you feel uncomfortably hot, but you can also damage the asphalt shingles. Their surface becomes soft when they heat up and stepping on them can loosen the surface granules.

Soffit Vents

If you have wooden soffits without vents, you can add soffit vents. You could add about two to three along the longest sides of the house. Locate the vent position in the attic, between two rafters, and drill a hole or hammer a nail through the soffit to mark it. Head outside, and use the hold or nail to help position the vent. Cut a hole through the wooden soffit to match the vent opening that’s required, and then screw the vent into place over the opening. The vent should have a screen incorporated into it to prevent animals or birds from entering the attic.

Attic Baffle Vents

Baffle vents prevent insulation from covering or falling into soffit vents, ensuring airflow is maintained in the attic. Sometimes it can be difficult to keep attic insulation away from soffit vents, especially if you have the type of soffit that is self-venting with slit-like holes running all along it. To solve this problem, use plastic baffles that fit between the rafters against the roof surface, and guide the air from the soffits up toward the roof.

In conclusion, attic ventilation is as important as attic insulation. The attic ventilation methods that had been discussed above are the most popular types of methods in used today. Your house attic is a very important part of your house. The return on investment (ROI) for work done in the attic will pay off in the long run.