Home construction technology has allowed advancements in comfort that our ancestors could not have imagined. No longer satisfied with drafty homes, homeowners now have an advanced “wrap” around their perimeter that includes an air barrier to stop winds, insulation to keep conditioned air in and a vapor barrier to protect the home’s structure from moisture.
The insulation, in particular, is a complex system in itself that is manufactured with a variety of materials and differing densities, which impact the ability to stop heat loss. It’s important for homeowners to know how to select insulation in order for it to work as part of the system.
There are several types of insulation material a homeowner can choose from:
- Batt insulation is constructed from fiberglass, wool or cotton. Shaped like a blanket, it works well in between wall studs, and it can soundproof the home and resist fire.
- Loose-fill insulation is generally made from fiberglass, mineral or cellulose, and it’s light in weight. This insulation is blown into spaces, and is a job for the professionals, as poor installation can cause insulation to settle incorrectly.
- Board stock insulation can be constructed from a number of materials, including polystyrene, fiberglass or mineral, and this material is stiff. It’s often ideal for covering larger spaces.
- Spray insulation consists of cellulose, and light- or medium-density polyurethane. A specialized job best left to experts, it fills hard-to-reach spaces well.
The R-value of insulation determines how well it resists heat, and each of the above insulation materials will vary in terms of R-value. It’s best to consult with with a professional to evaluate insulation needs, based on the home equipment you’re using and how to best address retrofitting insulation.
In order for insulation to work well with the air and vapor barrier, keep in mind a few guidelines:
- Insulation should not be compressed.
- There should be no spaces around the insulation.
- Keep thermal bridges, which allow heat to escape, at a minimum.
With these tips in mind, you can upgrade your household insulation to peak efficiency. For a free consultation, contact the experts at Air-Tro.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about insulation systems and other HVAC topics, visit our website.
Air-Tro Inc. services the greater Los Angeles area as well as the metro areas of Riverside and San Bernardino County.
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