Saving Money Through Updating
Properly installed insulation improves comfort while saving energy. In addition to air sealing, one of the keys to a comfortable, energy-efficient home is insulation. For most homes, simply having the right amount of insulation is not enough. Attics require proper air sealing, the right quantity and placement of insulation, and a balanced ventilation system. Attic insulation is considered one of the best investments for your home in terms of resale value and energy savings.
If attic insulation is not properly installed, a home can have excessive heat gain during the summer and heat loss in the winter—forcing the heating and cooling systems to work overtime. Properly installed attic insulation will completely cap the ceiling—without gaps or voids. Oftentimes, this is accomplished with a blown-in insulation system like cellulose or fiberglass.
Benefits of Adding Insulation
Improved Comfort – The most noticeable effect of insulation upgrade is overall comfort-ability in your home. Reduced drafts and disproportionate heat zones between second and first floor. Increased efficiency of the furnace and Air Conditioner means a warmer winter and a cooler summer.
Savings on Utility Bills – Increase in home performance shows up on your utility bills also. Most homes use half of the total consumed energy in heating and cooling of their home. Keeping your home from losing its heat in winter and not allowing the sun to warm up the home in the summer keeps your utility bills in check.
Less Condensation – When insulation installed in accordance to manufacturer’s specifications and guidelines, the possibility of moisture filled conditioned air entering the attic is reduced. This usually happens around areas of open voids and penetrations. This also helps protect the home and structure from mold and mildew growth.
Improved Resale Value – All of these items listed above can translate into higher resale value for your home.
Types of Insulation
There are many types of insulation materials that can be used in a multitude of applications. All insulation can be effective if it is properly installed and coupled with a continuous air barrier. Insulation materials are rated according to their ability to resist heat flow. This thermal resistance rating is commonly known as an “R-value”. The higher the R-value, the better the material is at resisting heat flow.
Blown-in Insulation – typically made from fiberglass or cellulose and is literally blown into the walls and attic through a large hose. Blown-in insulation should be installed at an even thickness throughout the attic. Code requirements in Wisconsin dictate a minimum R-value of 30 where there are no attic space, R-38 for those with attics but they suggest R-value of 49 where it can be accomplished. Blown-in cellulose is the most common product we install for insulating large attic spaces.
Batt Insulation – typically made from mineral fiber (fiberglass or rock wool) and manufactured in blankets of various sizes and thicknesses. Batt insulation is typically fitted between ceiling joists and should fill the ceiling cavity without any gaps, voids, or compression. This is a less common solution in a retrofit application as it requires multiple layers to accomplish desired R-values.