How to Insulate Your Home to Save Energy
Building in extra insulation, or replacing old home insulation, is an excellent way to save energy and money on heating or cooling. In fact, improving home insulation is one of the most efficient ways to increase home value. These tips help homeowners understand how to decide if they need more insulation, and which kind might be best.
When Does a Home Need More Insulation?
There are a couple of ways homeowners can determine that they need more insulation. The first involves an analysis of the home's heating and cooling, and the second concerns the actual condition and thickness of the existing insulation. Homeowners may already have some sense that their insulation is not up to par. Certain rooms feel uncomfortably hot or cold, and using the HVAC system does not seem to make a difference. Using an infrared thermometer may be an easy way to identify certain thermal irregularities in the walls.
For a more complicated and thorough inspection, homeowners can get into their home's insulation and see if it meets local standards. The attic insulation is a good place to start. Every type of insulation has a different level of protection, known as R-value. Homeowners can find the R-value that is needed for new construction in their area, and determine if they have enough insulation to suit. If they do not, they should consider adding more.
How Does R-Value Work?
All insulation is measured in what is called “R-value.” The R-value of any particular type of insulation depends on how well it slows the process of heat transfer. When there is a permeable barrier that puts warmer air on one side and cooler air on the other side, eventually the temperatures will balance out. Insulation helps to make this process take longer, so that cooled or heated air inside the home lasts longer. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation material does. R-value is usually measured by the inch or centimeter, so several layers or inches of a particular type of insulation may be needed to meet local guidelines.
What Types of Insulation Are There?
Insulation comes in a variety of materials and forms. Homeowners usually do not need to stick to one type of insulation, and they may even be able to put one material next to another. People can choose from:
- batts and blankets
- loose fill
- structural insulated panels (SIPs)
- spray foam
Common materials used for insulation include fiberglass, cellulose, polyurethane, rockwool, and cotton. The type needed depends on the amount of necessary insulation and the skill of the person putting it in. Spray foam requires more care than it may take to cut batts and place them, while SIPs tend to be more expensive.
How Can Homeowners Increase or Improve Insulation?
Although insulating the home may seem like a very complicated maneuver, it is a task that homeowners could consider doing on their own or hiring a professional. If homeowners decide to DIY the project, they should be sure that they know what they will find behind their walls. Older homes built before the 1970s or 1980s may need asbestos testing before putting in new insulation. Asbestos was a popular and effective form of insulation used in the mid-20th Century, however, disturbing asbestos can lead to serious health effects. If homeowners are unsure what kind of insulation is in their older homes, they should consult an expert.
Adding more insulation to the home is a great improvement for comfort and value in any North Myrtle Beach home. When homeowners consider their home insulation options, they can make a choice to increase their energy efficiency.