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Choosing the right insulation for a home can have dramatic effects on the costs associated with heating and cooling the home. The right insulation can save homeowners hundreds of dollars a year in heating and cooling costs. It can also minimize the wear and tear on the home’s heating and cooling unit. Before purchasing or installing attic insulation there are some insulation basics of which homeowners should be aware. This information can help homeowners ensure they choose the insulation that will be appropriate for their home and adequately meet their needs.
How Does Insulation Work?
There are three methods by which heat flows from warmer to cooler areas in the house. These 3 methods are: conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction occurs when heat flows through a solid and delivers heat to the solid. In other words, conduction is the process by which a warmer object transfers heat to a cooler object. Radiation occurs when a warm object passes heat toward a cooler object. Sunlight is a form of radiation.
The purpose of insulation is to keep a home cooler in the summer months and warmer in the winter months. Insulation is designed to curtail the effects of the three aforementioned methods of heat transfer. Insulation accomplishes this task by minimizing the heat effects of convection, radiation, and conduction. Insulation can effectively slow the movement of heat from an area of the home that is hot to an area of the home that is cool. This is because the insulation absorbs heat and resists the flow of heat.
What Types of Insulation are Available?
There are 4 types of insulation: loose fill, batts and blankets, spray foam, and rigid board. Loose fill insulation includes things such as cellulose fiber, fiberglass, and rock wool. In most cases, loose fill insulation has an R-value of 3 to 4 per inch of insulation. This type of insulation can be installed by using a dry-pack process, moist-spray method, or by a blowing technique.
Batt and blanket insulation is made from things such as fiberglass and rock wool. This type of insulation fits between the wood-framing structures of the house. This type of insulation can be purchased lengths of up to 8 feet and cut to desired lengths. The R-value of this insulation is approximately 3 per inch of thickness.
Spray foam is comprised of a polymer and a foaming agent. This attic insulation will be sprayed into the attic space. It is ideal for homes that are irregular shapes, but it typically needs to be installed by a professional.
Install Attic Insulation?
This will provide a safer, easier working environment. Attic insulation should be installed from the edge of the attic toward the center. Make sure that the joist cavities are filled with insulation to the top. Homeowners will want to ensure that the insulation covers the tops of the insulation covers to the tops of the exterior walls without blocking the eave vents. Homeowners need to ensure that the insulation is kept at least three inches from items such as recessed lighting fixtures, metal chimneys, and gas water heather flues.