Home Energy Savings, Do I Have The Right Insulation?

     When it comes to home energy savings, there are a lot of factors that play an important part of the equation. One major thing to know is that, a minor improvement to your home can go a long way. As a BPI®️ Certified Energy Auditor I perform a stream of tests on homes, the results are then put into a formula that provides an SIR (Savings to Investment Ratio). Based on these SIR’s, I would develop a scope of work for the most effective energy saving measures. In the industry, it is commonly known that insulation always provides an energy efficient improvement to your house, enough to get a favorable SIR. In this blog we talk about insulation in particular, so let’s get into it. We will start by going over the different type of common insulation, and there pros and cons. 

Common Types Of Insulation   

  • Fiberglass Batt              
  • Cellulose Insulation 
  • Spray Foam
  • Mineral Wool
  • Polyurethane 
Let us start with one of the most common types of insulation, often used a lot in the northern parts of the country, Cellulose Insulation. This Type of insulation can be applied in two different forms loose or dense packed. As we go through the blog you will better understand, why the two methods.

Cellulose Insulation: Made of old newspaper, this makes a very good insulator, this insulation is usually blown into the space in which you are insulating. If you are insulating a wall, to get the best R-value, this should be packed in the wall densely. If you are insulating an attic space, this can be blown in loosely. The approximate R-Value of cellulose is 3.5 per inch, with this you can factor the total R-Value of a wall or attic floor. One grave disadvantage of cellulose is that it holds moisture, so it is an obvious creator of mold in these situations. In addition, wet insulation will drastically lower the R-Value, Because it is made of shredded paper, it has no impact on the occupants of the home’s breathing. This is one of the highly rated insulations.

Fiberglass Batt: With this type of insulation, the name speaks for itself. The R-Values of fiberglass batt can range from R-8 to R-49, they can come faced with foil or kraft paper or un-faced. You can also find that this insulation comes precut or in rolls. Just a reminder insulation does not stop air movement it just slows it down, so compared to cellulose, fiberglass batt is less dominant when it comes to air infiltration and exfiltration. No long-term health effects should occur from touching fiberglass batt. Eyes may become red and irritated after exposure to fiberglass. Soreness in the nose and throat can result when fibers are inhaled. Asthma and bronchitis can be aggravated by exposure to fiberglass. I recommend insuring you are wearing the proper PPE (Personal Protection Equipment-Mask, Goggles, Body Covering, Gloves).

Mineral Wool: Known as a great soundproof insulator, this insulation has many more benefits. The R-Value of mineral is R-4 per inch, as you can see it performs a little better than the for-mentioned cellulose. This insulation is best used as an insulator in cold climates, because it has some enhanced thermal insulating qualities. Mineral wool is also a flame resistant product which brings an added fire safe quality. DON'T FEAR, this type of insulation doesn't have any known particulates that can affect indoor air quality. This insulation also comes with the ease of installing. This is also a product that can be placed in walls or in an attic. Some music enthusiast even use mineral wool to make soundproof panels. By now you should start to get a grasp on the different variations. Let's move on.

Spray Foam: Spray foam insulation is made by combining isocyanate and polyol resin into a foam. There are three primary types of spray foam that can be used for insulation and other specific purposes:
  •  High-Density. 3 lbs./cubic ft., closed-cell foam. R-Values start at 5.5 per inch* ...  
  •  Medium-Density. 2 lbs./cubic ft., closed-cell foam. R-Values start at 5.7 per inch* ...        
  •  Low-Density. 0.5 lbs./cubic ft., open-cell foam. R-Values start at 3.6 per inch*
You can also purchase this type of insulation in 1 part or 2 part. If you decide to insulate with spray foam, it is my recommendation that you hire a professional due to the fact that it is highly flammable. As you can see Medium-Density spray foam has the highest R-Value of the common insulation, because it allows for a lot less air. to move in and out. Spray foam should be done when you walls or ceiling is open to the studs or joist.

These types of insulations are the more common ones that you will see in an attic or a wall. If you feel that this scope of work is beyond your purview, I recommend hiring a professional. If you decide to take this on as a DIY project, as alway please work safe. Once again Thank You for your continued support.


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