Good, Better, Best – Which Insulation Is Right For Your Home?
August 3, 2011Keywords Meta-Tag
When it comes to improving the value and comfort of your home, there is no safer bet than improving your home’s insulation. Whether keeping your home cool in the summer or keeping it warm in the winter, proper insulation can help reduce utility costs by over 50% while eliminating drafts and cold spots that might be making various rooms uncomfortable. It’s probably the #1 most recommended that comes up from a Green Horizon Energy Audit, and our customers commonly report a huge return on a very modest investment.
With so many types of insulation now available, including cellulose and cotton batt, spray foam ,and our new radiant barrier insulation, how does the average homeowner know which product and install method is right for them? Let us give you a quick breakdown of Good, Better, and Best options:
Replacing old, compressed or poor R-value insulation in your home is the baseline option you should take to improve your home. Cellulose and cotton batt insulation is not only a sustainable option (made of 100% recycled materials), but also offers superior thermal performance compared to older fiberglass materials. For areas which are easily accessible (ie unfinished attics and rooms) you may opt to dense pack your walls between the studs, or for low-pitched roofs, you may opt to blow in insulation to build a thick blanket around the air spaces of your home.
While cellulose and cotton batt insulation is definitely better than the older fibre glass insulation (or worse yet, no insulation at all!) the better option is spray foam insulation, which not only gives you all the benefits of creating a thermal resistant barrier around your home, as well as air sealing in the nooks and crannies where drafts develop. Additionally, it expends to fill hidden corners and hard-to –reach angles where cotton batt and cellulose insulation may not be an option.
So far, the insulation options we’ve talked about are passive – they slow down thermal transfer to outside spaces by providing a cushion of temperature resistance – but there IS a more active option; radiant barriers. Radiant barrier insulation is exactly what it sounds like – a barrier that radiates heat back into a home in the winter and radiates hot air out of the home in the winter. Think of it like a space suit for your home, protecting your home from unwanted elements. Radiant barrier insulation is best used in conjunction with spray foam or cellulose and cotton batt insulation, giving your high utility bills a double whammy.