So things are heating up at home and you need a way to keep cool and stop your power bill from skyrocketing. Well, insulation is a good place to start. Keeping the heat out is much more cost effective than constantly cooling new hot air from outside.
The reason your cooling bill can get so out of hand is more often than not an installation problem. Not only will bad insulation cause your AC to work longer it will have to work harder. Two problems come from increased used and strain on your system. One is the much higher energy usage resulting in peak usage premiums from your energy provider. The other problem is the extra strain often causes breakdowns of your unit that also result in extra cost.
Keep in mind, all insulation is not created equal, and it can settle and lose its effectiveness over time. If your home is more than a few years old your insulation could have settled and lost some of its effectiveness if a cheap product was used. Or if the builder only insulated to the minimum requirement you may be able to save big by updating and improving your insulation.
Let’s look at some of the options.
Blown or sprayed insulation? There are different kinds of blown insulation, and different methods for spraying it into your attics, down your walls, and under your floor.
Okay, so you’re probably wondering what the difference is right? Well, let’s start with blown insulation.
Blown insulation refers to blowing an insulation product into areas such as floors, your home’s walls, your attic, and other gaps in your home. There is variety in the actual product used and the specific method.
Loose fill fiberglass is made from glass that is blown or spun into small fiber-like strands. It is installed into attics and walls with a blower. It is good for defending against mildew, moisture, and fungus.
Cellulose comes in three main forms. Stabilized, loose fill, and wall cavity spray. It has been used for a very long time, even as far back as the 1920’s. It is made up of mostly recycled paper products like newspaper and cardboard and treated with a fire retardant.
Another benefit to cellulose is the excellent sound attenuation it provides. It is very competitively priced and can provide an excellent R-value.
An expandable polyurethane foam that expands up to 100% it’s normal size to fill in cracks and holes. Probably it’s biggest advantage is its ability to stop almost all air from passing through. It is a bit more difficult to install and usually is hired out.
Greener Insulation Options
If the idea of spraying a chemical based product into the walls and attic of your home makes you uncomfortable, there are several greener options available. Green builders have ditched the CFC’s, HCFC’s, and Formaldehyde found in other products. Just like the chemical version, soy-based foam stops air from flowing. It does not mold or retain moisture and is long lasting. Proponents point out how sustainable a soy-based product is.
Unfortunately, over time your insulation can settle and reduce the effect of its insulating properties. In just the first five years after having your insulation installed, it can settle and cause a 20 percent decrease in the effectiveness of the insulation.