When we talk to our customers, we find that many people have a lot of misconceptions about insulation. It’s not just about cold weather, it’s something that affects your house year-round (especially here in New England).
Insulation Isn’t Important Just For Winter!
You may be surprised by this, however, a trusted contractor will tell you that insulation acts more like a thermos; keeping warm temperatures warm, and cool temperatures cool. With proper insulation, you’re likely to reduce your energy bills in the summer by 25% and cut your energy bills in half during the winter!
It’s More Than An Energy Saver!
Another misconception is that the only reason to consider insulating your home is to save on energy expenses. An additional benefit is that it provides soundproofing. This is an excellent solution for noisy neighbors or keeping the sound down from your children.
High R-Values Are Not The Only Answer
“The R-value is a measure of thermal resistance, or ability of heat to transfer from hot to cold, through materials (such as insulation) and assemblies of materials (such as walls and floors). The higher the R-value, the more a material prevents heat transfer.” (Source)
You could have the highest R-value and it wouldn’t matter if your home has conditions that undo the purpose of your insulation. Moisture leaks or cracks can let unwanted air in or out. So instead of saving money you could be losing money if you aren’t properly sealing cracks and helping to prevent leaks.
The Department of Energy and local building codes will recommend fixed R-values. The local building code requires an R-value of 38 for ceilings but the Department of Energy suggests using an R-value of 49. Walls may vary from R-value 14-19. Your home’s floors are best insulated at a minimum of R-value of 19.
Remember that no matter how high the value, it’s going to be wasted if you aren’t certain that the installation is done correctly. Ask your contractor how they are ensuring proper seals and how they are resolving air infiltration and moisture occurrences.
Fiberglass vs. Spray Foam
If you’re looking to save money on insulation, you may be considering fiberglass instead of spray foam insulation. However, you get what you pay for, and spray foam insulation is a much better option and is more effective in extreme cold temperatures. We all know how important that is in Massachusetts in winter!
- Fiberglass insulation works by trapping air inside with its glass fibers, which slows the transfer of heat.
- There are 2 types of spray foam: open and closed cell. Open cell spray foam functions mostly as an air barrier, while closed cell spray foam is used as a vapor barrier, blocking out air and moisture.
Air leakage will occur with fiberglass insulation, as well as with open cell spray insulation, but will not happen with closed cell insulation. In extreme cold, fiberglass insulation will lose quite a lot of heat.
Insulation Is Especially Important In Older Homes!
If you live in an older home you’re likely in need of an insulation update – you could be losing thousands of dollars every year! Most people avoid installing insulation because they think they’ll have to tear up their walls. Spray foam insulation is a great alternative, which expands before it solidifies. This increases the reach of the insulation into the smallest of places.