Misconceptions about insulation are common among most people. Often people correlate the need for insulation with plummeting temperatures.
Insulation is not in fact only 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. You are likely to reduce your energy bills in the Summer by a quarter and nearly cut your energy bills in half during the winter by upgrading the insulation in your home!
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 would account for little to nothing 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 up to 50% you could in fact be losing that amount if you aren’t properly sealing cracks and helping to prevent leaks.
You will find that the Department of Energy and codes for local buildings will recommend fixed R-values. The code for buildings require 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. Feel confident in asking your contractor how they are ensuring proper seals and how they are resolving air infiltration and moisture occurrences.
Fiberglass vs. Spray Foam
If you are looking to save money on insulation, you may have been considering fiberglass instead of spray foam insulation. However, you get what you pay for, and spray foam insulation is especially effective in extreme cold temperatures.
Fiberglass insulation works by trapping air inside with its glass fibers, which slows the transfer of heat. 2 types of spray foam exist, which are open and closed cell. Open cell spray foam insulation functions mostly as an air barrier, while closed cell spray foam insulation is used as a vapor barrier, blocking out air and moisture.
There is air leakage that occurs in fiberglass insulation and little with open cell spray insulation, but none with closed cell insulation. In extreme cold, fiberglass insulation loses quite a lot of heat, while both open and closed spray insulation performs the same in regular conditions.
Insulation is not only for new homes!
If you live in an older home in need of an insulation update, you could have been losing thousands of dollars over the years! Most people avoid installing insulation because they think they may have to tear up their walls. Spray foam insulation is a great alternative, by expanding before it solidifies. This increases the reach of the insulation into the smallest of places.