Is your home in need of insulation? Insulation is often a highly underrated home improvement project, with many people opting for a beautiful new bathroom or kitchen instead. The truth is, while both of these home improvement projects will definitely make your home shine, there are other important projects many people miss. One such project is insulation. Excessive air leakage or air infiltration can make it difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home, and lead to uncomfortable drafts and inflated utility bills. If your home is in need of new insulation, you might be wondering how to determine the proper level of insulation for your home and your home’s climate – because that certainly plays an important role. Before we get into that, let us take a look at what insulation is and the most common types.
What is Insulation?
Insulation works to inhibit the transfer of heat. In the winter, it prevents cold air from the outdoors from penetrating the interior of a house, helping to keep your home warmer inside. During the summer, insulation helps trap cool, conditioned air inside the home while resisting heat from the outdoors. It is one of the most important features of an energy-efficient home. It goes a long way towards improving comfort by maintaining a constant indoor temperature while reducing the frequency and duration of HVAC system operation.
The Most Common Types of Insulation
There are four common types of insulation used in homes, which are:
- Blanket insulation. Blanket insulation is filled with mineral fibers including rockwool and fiberglass, and comes in rolled-up form.
- Polyurethane and polyisocyanurate foam insulation. This kind of insulation is sprayed into the crevices and cavities of a home.
- Loose fill insulation. Loose fill insulation consisting of cellulose, rockwool and/or fiberglass, contained in pellets or fibers and installed with pneumatic tools.
- Rigid insulation. Rigid insulation typically packaged in boards or pipe fittings and is typically used to insulate wall sheaths and foundations.
The Benefits of Home Insulation
Insulating your home comes with a range of benefits, including increased comfort in your living environment and reduced utility bills.
Insulating your home comes with great cost-saving benefits. It makes your home much more-energy efficient, and this is because insulation works to keep a home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. In turn, this reduces the amount of heating and cooling expenses required to keep your home temperate and comfortable all year round. As a result of adding insulation, your energy bills stay low and your wallet stays full.
Adding insulation to your home is an effective way to improve the comfort of your living environment. This is due to the fact insulation helps regulate the temperature of your home, making it a more comfortable and enjoyable place to be, especially in areas where the weather can be extreme.
Insulation also has the added benefit of increasing the sound control of your home. Insulation creates a sound barrier around your house, keeping unwanted noises out and protecting your privacy by keeping the sounds inside your home from being heard outside.
Insulating your home also helps you reduce your environmental impact. This is because when your home is insulated, you will not need to use as much energy for heating and cooling your home. Not only does this reduce your carbon footprint, but it also reduces the amount of chemicals released into the environment from air conditioning units.
What is the Right Level of Insulation for Maryland and Virginia?
When it comes to finding the right insulation for your home, the type of insulation will depend on two things: the location your insulation needs to go, and the climate you live in. The important number you are looking at when finding the right level of insulation is the R-value. According to Energy.gov, an insulating material's resistance to conductive heat flow is measured based on its thermal resistance or R-value. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. The R-value depends on the type of insulation, its thickness, and its density.
There are four types of insulation commonly installed in homes in Virginia and Maryland: fiberglass insulation, spray foam insulation, cellulose insulation and mineral wool insulation. Each insulation material has various pros and cons in terms of price, effectiveness, sound protection, how easy it is to install and some other factors.
According to Energy Star, the insulation recommendations for Maryland and Virginia are:
- Uninsulated attic: add R38 to R60
- Existing 3-4 inches of insulation: R38
- Floor: R25 to R30
- Uninsulated wood framed wall: R5 insulative wall sheathing
- Insulated wood frame wall: R5 insulated sheathing
If you are still unsure of what the proper level of insulation for your home is, or where you should be insulating, the professional and friendly team at Windows on Washington can help. Get in touch today for a free quote.