Most of the energy costs spent to keep a Old Mill home warm in the winter and cool in the summer end up leaving through the attic. In the summer, the sun’s heat pours in through the attic and in the winter, warm air rises past the ceiling and out of the home. Saving on energy costs starts in the attic, but how much insulation is enough?
Are You Trying To Find House Insulation Companies For Your Old Mill House?
Although spray foam insulation as we know it today truly emerged in the 1980s around the Old Mill area, spray foam actually has its roots several decades further in the past, beginning with the development of polyurethane foam in the 1940s by Otto Bayer. Otto Bayer, an industrial chemist, actually began working with polyurethane in Germany during the late 1930s. This technology was brought to the United States in the early 1940s by David Eynon, the president of Mobay, a war effort conglomerate created from the partnering of two chemical industry giants, Monsanto and the Bayer Corporation.
- With the cold season upon us, we thought it is important to write about insulation in the home. It's something that most people never give any thought to, but hidden in the walls of your home is an added layer of protection from the outdoor elements. One recent report by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association stated that approximately 90 percent of all existing homes lack enough insulation. Jonathan Levy, a professor of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health stated, "If all U.S. homes were fitted with insulation based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), residential electricity use nationwide would drop by about 5% and natural gas use by more than 10%."
Choosing the right type of insulation for your home will depend on your local climate, home design, how it is used and your budget. If you have an attic, crawlspace or basement, then adding additional insulation to the space can be a cost-effective way to save more on your energy bills.
Types of Insulation
While there are a variety of materials that insulation can be made from, it typically is available in four different types:
Foam-in-Place: Foam-in-place is an easy do-it-yourself project for homeowners that can be done with a small pressurized can. It is typically used to fill in small holes and cracks around door frames, windows, plumbing or electrical.
Loose-Fill: Loose-fill is primarily made up of rock wool, fiberglass or cellulose that are in the form of fiber pellets or loose fibers. Special pneumatic equipment is utilized to blow the loose-fill insulation into place.
Rigid Foam: Typically the most expensive of all insulation types, rigid foam can be an effective option and also provides greater insulation. This type of insulation is most commonly used for special applications as well as interior or exterior wall sheathing.
Rolls and Batts: Also known as blankets. This type of insulation is made from mineral fibers and is available in sizes that fit the standard spacing of wall studs, attic joists or floor joists.
What is the R-Value?
The R-value is a measurement to determine the insulation's resistance to heat flow. The recommended 'R-value' will vary from one home to the next as climates and heating/cooling systems differ. R-values range from zero to forty (sometimes even higher). The higher that the R-value is, the greater the insulating effectiveness it provides. The United States Department of Energy estimates that nearly half of a typical home's utility bills are spent on cooling and heating. Ensuring that air is not leaking into your home through windows, doors and other openings can significantly help cut costs on utilities. Additional benefits of a well-insulated home include better humidity control, less dust, pollen and insects as well as noise reduction. When all of the gaps, leaks and holes are added together in a typical home's envelope, it is the equivalent of having a window open each day of the year. If you are curious about how much insulation your home needs you can look it up on the U.S. Department of Energy Recommended Total R-Values for New Wood-Framed Houses here (http://www.energy.gov/energysaver/tips-insulation). Additionally, if you have an attic in your home, you may be able to save more money on energy bills. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that between 10 to 50 percent can be saved off of a heating bill just by having a properly insulated attic. It's worth having a professional insulation company come and look at your home to make sure that it does have the proper insulation needed. Energy auditors can also perform this task as well as provide you with other great tips to save energy. With the cold season rolling in take the time to make sure your home has the correct insulation.
Green Home Insulation
Movement of air in and out of a home can be a leading cause of escalated energy bills. Air can enter your house through holes, cracks and crevices. You can stop unconditioned air from entering your home and indoor conditioned air from escaping outside by adding an advanced insulation system to achieve optimal building performance.
I have just completed an addition to my house. I've heard that blown in insulation is better than batts since covers the joists completely and leaves no open areas. Do you have any do it yourself suggestions?
Yes you are correct. Blown in insulation is better that batts when installed properly as it does seal the attic better.
First you need to measure your attic area that you plan on insulating. Most attics require a value of R-30, R-38 or R-49, depending on your climate and location. Once you know the square footage of your attic you can determine how much insulation you'll need by simple looking on the chart located on the bag of insulation.
Before you get started you will need to determine what materials you will need. Assuming your home has recessed lights, ceiling and bathroom fans and eave vents you will need the following tools and materials:
Loose Fill Insulation
Staple Hammer and Staples
Insulation Blowing Machine (Available at your local rental store)
I've found blowing insulation into the attic is a simple process. Start and the far ends of the attic. Going back and forth make sure its level and smooth. Make sure to get all areas of the attic and don't fill any vents or recessed light areas. Take a tape measure with you and check the levels once in a while. As an example, if your installing an R-38 of fiberglass insulation you would want it to measure 16 inches deep. As you work your way back near the attic access make sure your helper is getting that excess hose out of the way. When you get to about 6 feet from the access hole stop the machine so you can get on the ladder. Once on the ladder finish installing, making sure to bring the level evenly against the dam you previously built.
The final step is to place a piece of batt insulation in the access hole and carefully put the attic hole lid back into place. Now your done! Stay out of that attic as much as possible from this point as loose fill insulation that has been stepped on or crushed looses it's R value.