Here in the Springfield area, we work on a lot of older homes, and one thing almost all of them have in common is a lack of proper insulation. Indeed, many old houses have no insulation at all in critical wall and ceiling areas. With nothing to keep heat in or out of the home, it becomes very difficult for your climate control systems to maintain a comfortable temperature, leading to increased energy usage and elevated wear and tear on your HVAC equipment. However you look at it, it’s a waste of money.
Newer houses tend to have more insulation, of course, but often it still isn’t enough. The minimum amounts of insulation required by local building codes aren’t really enough to make it through cold New England winters and scorching summers.
If you’re spending too much on heating and air conditioning, poor insulation is very likely a big part of the problem. The good news is that that’s a very fixable problem, and we’ll be happy to help.
Types of Insulation
All insulation is designed to trap heat, but not all types do it the same way. Here are some of the most popular insulation types available today:
- Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper that has been treated with certain chemicals to make it non-combustible and mold-resistant, then put into your attic with a blower unit. Cellulose does absorb more moisture than fiberglass and takes a long time to dry out when it gets wet, but it’s inexpensive and easy to blow into all sorts of spaces.
- Loose-fill fiberglass is similar in form and function to cellulose. It’s made from fine glass fibers and can be applied to attics and walls with a blower.
- Fiberglass batts are available in a number of shapes and sizes. Batts are rigid and won’t move around as easily as loose-fill, but they can still be moved out of the way to give access to attic framing, wiring and other components of your home. The main drawback of batts is that they must be cut and placed by hand, which is a time-consuming process.
- Rigid foam is available in three materials: extruded polystyrene, expanded polystyrene and polyurethane. Polyurethane foam has the highest R-value of any insulation on the market. Rigid foam is usually used in new construction projects, but if cut carefully and accurately, can be installed in existing homes as well.
- Spray foam insulation expands and sticks to just about everything when it’s blown in. The major advantage of spray foam is that it seals as well as insulating. However, the cost of spray foam is typically two to three times as much as cellulose or fiberglass insulation.
The great thing about insulation is that you can mix and match types without losing efficiency. There’s no need to match the type of existing insulation you have; as long as every gap is filled, your home will be good to go. Our expert home energy performance evaluation will identify a range of insulation options to give you an informed choice — call today.
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