You don’t have to be a builder to know that all homes require insulation. However, it’s less clear exactly why this is; surely, a bit of foam doesn’t make that much difference, does it? Well, you might be surprised just how important insulation actually is.
A properly insulated home can save you money, protect your health and provide a more comfortable living space. Let’s take a look below.
What is insulation?
Insulation can come in many shapes and sizes. It’s made from a variety of materials, and its main role is to keep your home within a desired temperature range all year-round. Simply put, it prevents your home from getting too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. Proper insulation means a house doesn’t require too much additional heating or cooling, no matter what the outside conditions are.
However, if your home is poorly insulated, the inside temperature will quickly rise and drop with the outside temperature, causing you to have to crank up the AC or heat to offset the change. Additionally, a house with poor insulation may experience problems with dampness, which can lead to mildew and mold.
How does insulation work?
Heat will always flow from warmer areas to cooler areas, and insulation acts as a barrier that prevents air from escaping your home. If it’s cold outside, for example, poor insulation will allow the hot air within your home to escape and be replaced with colder air. Similarly, if it’s hot outside and cool inside, the hot air will enter your home. Insulation slows this airflow, which helps keep your home at a consistent temperature throughout the year.
It’s important to identify any areas in which air can flow and insulate them. Insulation is mostly used in the roof, walls, and floors, but windows and doors can also be built in a way to improve the insulation of your entire home.
What’s the best way to insulate my home?
Because hot air rises, ensure your attic is well-insulated. Install insulation immediately under the roof or immediately above the ceiling of the floor beneath the attic. Although it’s typically more expensive, it’s best to use a high-quality insulator directly beneath the roof. Not only does this ensure that the airflow is resisted, but a moisture-resistant insulator will also prevent issues with dampness – including mold and rot – which often go undetected for years, and can be a risk to your health.
The walls are another important area to insulate well; pay particular attention around door and window frames. Additionally, double-pane windows are far better insulators than a single sheet of glass, but you still need to be sure to check that the weather stripping is well-maintained.
It’s also a good idea to insulate underneath the floors of your home. But, if you don’t want to take on a large renovation job that involves lifting the flooring to insert new insulation, just add carpets or heavy rugs, which can also act as insulation.
The level of insulation your home will require is determined by a number of factors, such as climate and location, and different areas require varying types of insulation.
Insulation materials are rated by their thermal resistance, which is known as an R value. The greater the R value, the more resistant it is to heat flow. R values are calculated by taking into consideration the thickness, density, and type of material used in the insulation. Homes that experience extremes in temperature and climate should utilize insulation with a higher R value, while those in milder areas can normally get away with lower-rated insulation.
The main benefits to insulating your home properly include:
- Lower energy consumption: This results in lower energy bills and a smaller carbon footprint.
- Improved comfort and air quality: A consistent temperature in your home throughout the year is more comfortable than fluctuations. Good insulation goes hand in hand with good ventilation, ensuring better air quality.
- Better soundproofing: As a bonus, good insulation can drastically reduce noise from outside.
- Less risk of dampness: Moisture causes mildew, mold, and possible water damage. Besides resisting airflow, high-quality, moisture-resistant insulation will keep moisture outside of your home, preventing these issues.
- Reduced risk of ice-dam formation: A tell-tale sign of problems with the insulation in the roof is the formation of icicles in winter. Good insulation will prevent this issue, which can often escalate into a bigger problem.
Improving your insulation might seem expensive at first, but, in the long run, it will almost certainly save you money on energy bills and potential issues from moisture. At the same time, it will also make life much more comfortable and healthy!