4 Types of Insulation for Your House (Pros & Cons)

Insulation is hugely important and the right insulation for your home can save you a lot of money in the long run with retaining heat. Read about the four types of insulation for your home here.
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House diagram of heat escaping the home

Installing an insulation system can drastically reduce energy consumption in your house. This is the best way to keep your house cool in the summers while keeping it warm during the winters.

However, most of the modern homes are designed to be energy efficient themselves, and there is no point in installing the system then. Therefore, before installing an insulation system in your house, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Whether or not your house needs insulation?
  2. If you already have an insulation system installed, what type it is?
  3. How much thickness or depth of the insulation your house has?

Heat Loss Statistics

  • On average, heating and cooling comprise 54% of a home’s annual utility bills.
  • Wall insulation can reduce a home’s heat loss by 67%, while attic insulation can lead to a 40% decrease in heating and cooling costs.
  • 10% of your home heating bill costs stem from uninsulated floors.
  • Insulating basement walls or slab foundation can reduce heating costs by10% to 20%.
  • A home that is well insulated against heat loss can recoup the costs of implementing insulation within 5 to 6 years from the resultant energy savings.

Where does heat loss happen the most in your home?

  • 26% of heat loss is via the roof.
  • 33% of heat loss happens through the walls.
  • 8% of heat loss is through the floor.
  • 3% of heat loss is through gaps in or around the door.
  • 18% through gaps in and around windows.
  • 12% via ventilation & draughts.

4 Types of Insulation

There are 4 common types of insulation that can alter the heat inside your house depending on the weather conditions outside. They are as follows:

1. Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation

This kind of insulation is done with aid of spray holders. Foam is sprayed from the containers in specific places of the house. The best places to install this kind of installation are new wall spaces, unfinished attics or existing walls. Although the foam is sprayed using spray holders, they can also be applied in large quantities, using the foamed-in-place method.

However, it should be kept in mind that this kind of insulation is much more expensive when compared to fiberglass insulation. In addition, it can also be a messy process. Also, the foam is made up of chemicals, which if inhaled can cause respiratory problems. Therefore, it is always advised to hire a handyman experienced in this task because you should make sure that the foam spread should be equal in every place.

2. Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation

This is the commonest form of insulation. They are available in either loose fill or batts. The best part of insulating your house this way is that this is way cheap and is also the easiest way to do insulation for your home. Also, fiberglass insulation does not let your house get damaged from damp. This is non-flammable and thus it protects your house. All these characteristics make it preferable for householders to use this type of insulation for their homes.

Fiberglass insulation is done mainly between joists, beams, and studs.

However, you should be careful while installing this kind of insulation for your home because they can affect your lungs and skin. The best idea is to stay away from the place during installation. This material, unless sealed with plastic, must have a vapor barrier to protect the material from moisture. In addition, fiberglass tends to sag over time, and therefore should be re-installed from time to time.

3. Mineral Wool Insulation

Mineral Wood Insulation

Mineral wool insulation is also known as rock wool insulation. This is almost similar to fiberglass insulation. Mineral wool is easy to install. They come in loose fills, which can be poured directly from bags or be blown to a certain area. The best part of this kind of insulation is that it can tolerate higher temperatures, as in up to 1000oC than the other forms of insulation. The house also remains soundproof when insulated with this material.

However, it is much more expensive when compared to fiberglass insulation and is also not found in the market commonly. One should also wear protective gear while installing it because the slivers in the loose fill are tiny enough to get into your nose and can also cause cancer in the lungs.

4. Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose insulation

If you are looking for some organic way to insulate your home, cellulose insulation will work best for you. This type of insulation is mainly made from recycled paper, mainly newspapers and sometimes cardboards and other kinds of papers, and comes in loose fills. Cellulose insulation materials are treated with chemicals to make them better in protecting the home from moisture, heat, and pests.

However, it should be remembered that as this kind of insulation absorbs moisture, they can get damaged with time. Therefore, experts advise that you should re-install it every five years. In addition, the overall installation costs for cellulose insulation for your home will be much higher as compared to the conventional fiberglass insulation option. Also, when installed, this kind of insulation is likely to create a lot of dust. Both in the case of dry or wet blown cellulose, it is important that there is a vapor barrier.

Insulation Pricing

Generally, insulation installation costs depend on the R-value of the material. It also depends on the material itself and how lasting it is. For example, if you plan to use fiberglass for insulating your home, it is much cheaper an option than the others.

  1. Cellulose:
    • Loose-Fill: $0.50 to $1 per square foot
    • Damp-Spray: $0.60 to $1.80 per square foot
    • Dense-Packed: $2 to $2.25 per square foot
  2. Fiberglass:
    • Batts: $0.50 to $1 per square foot
    • Blown-in: $0.50 to $1 per square foot
  3. Foam:
    • Open-Cell: $0.44 to $0.65 per square foot
    • Close-Cell: $1 to $1.50 per square foot
  4. Mineral Wool:
    • $0.77 per square foot

What is the best insulation?

One way to assess what is the best insulation is by a measurement called an R-value.  R-value is a measurement based on a material’s ability to resist heat flow.  The higher the R-value, the better that material is for insulation.

Below is a chart and details setting out the different insulating materials and associated R-value.

  • Polyisocyanurate: 7.2 R-value
  • Polyurethane: 6.25 R-value
  • Extruded Polystyrene: 5 R-value
  • Expanded Polystyrene: 4 R-value
  • Rigid Fibreglass: 4 R-value
  • Fibreglass/Rock Wool Batt: 3.14-4.3 R-value
  • Cellulose Blown: 3.3-3.7
  • Fibreglass Blown: 1.05 to 3.7 R-value

 

What is an R-Value regarding home heat loss

How to Reduce Heat Loss

  • Insulation: Insulate your walls and roof well.
  • Chimneys: A removable chimney ballon can prevent excess heat from escaping when you don’t have a fire.  If you never use the chimney, get it capped.
  • Windows: Put draughtproofing strips around the windows to prevent heat escaping through thin gaps.  New windows can help tremendously.
  • Doors: Draughtproofing strips are also good around doorframes internally and externally.
  • Radiators:  If you have cold spots on your radiators, have them bled so that trapped air is released and your heating system is optimised.  Also, position a shelf just above your radiators so that heat is thrown forward into the room.
  • Curtains: Heavy-duty curtains are good at keeping heat within a room.

how to reduce heat loss in the home

 

Author Bio: Ralph Hughes is an interior designer, architect, builder and the founder of Hughes Design and Construction Inc, Inc located in Arkansas. A graduate of the University Of Arkansas School Of Engineering, Ralph enjoys assisting in the design of your project from conception to completion.

Graphics provided by Senator Windows.









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