Some of the most important parts of your home or business are those that are hard to see, hiding behind walls or under floorboards, but intrinsic to keeping your home comfortable, safe, and secure. Your insulation and weatherization are often relegated to the sidelines of home improvement, but you’re doing a disservice to your home, and your energy bills, by ignoring these key components of HVAC maintenance and care. So with Summer in our sights, properly insulating your home to keep the heat and cold air in can be on the top of your to-do list!
Not all homes are created equal, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to insulation and weatherization. Weatherization may sound intimidating, but the term simply means adding improvements to your home that save energy. This could mean sealing air leaks, improving ventilation, or adding insulation.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, properly insulating walls and roofs can provide both short and long-term energy savings. On average, they say the return on low-cost efficiency upgrades like these are valued at 2.2 times greater than your original cost! When selecting the right insulation for your home, it’s also important to pay attention to a product’s thermal performance rating, known as the R-value. Additionally, different insulations have varying methods of installation, each with their pros and cons.
Blanket (Batt and Roll) Insulation
Blanket insulation is the most common and widely available type of insulation, and can be purchased in the form of batts or rolls. It consists of flexible fibers, most commonly fiberglass, but can also be made from mineral wool, plastic fibers, and natural fibers. Manufacturers often attach a facing (such as kraft paper, foil-kraft paper, or vinyl) to act as a vapor and/or air barrier. Handy for fitting between standard joists and studs, this style remains very popular, however the published R-values for fiberglass insulation are only valid at around 60 degrees. If the temperature swings much colder or hotter than that, the R-value drops significantly.
Blown Cellulose Insulation
Blown cellulose insulation has notable benefits over traditional fiberglass insulation. Unlike other materials, blown cellulose can be applied to new homes, or retrofitted in older homes by simply creating a small hole in the top of the wall to spray the insulation into. Another great advantage, blown cellulose has the highest recycled content of any insulation, and takes less energy to create than its counterparts, making it a worthwhile investment to reduce your environmental footprint and cut cost through short and long-term savings.
Offering a high R-value and fitting into any super tight space, the blown cellulose insulation forms a crust, providing the perfect air barrier to keep your home cozy. It can also cut down on other home weatherization tasks, such as caulking, due to the spray installation method.
The best way to determine where your home is wasting energy (and wasting valuable money) is through an energy audit. An added benefit of performing this type of preventive maintenance, especially in older homes or buildings, is that it brings attention to the often-overlooked sections of your home. BNG is equipped to complete your audit for you and make the necessary fixes to improve your home or offices’ energy efficiency. Call us at 812-858-4000.