When thinking of insulation in a home, we tend to think only of living spaces or areas where we typically can appreciate its benefits. The fact is that overall insulation of a house is important to attain optimum energy efficiency and bring you not only physical comfort but cost savings as well.
Whether you are building a new home or repairing an existing one, insulation should cover all areas of your dwelling from the ground up to the roof. Here’s our guide to the various areas and parts of a home that need proper insulation.
Basement and Crawl Space
A properly insulated foundation not only helps lower heating and cooling costs, but it also helps make spaces such as basements and below-ground bedrooms or activity areas more liveable, as well as free from the negative effects of moisture. According to the U.S. Department of energy, heat loss through uninsulated basements can account for up to a third of heat loss from an average home, which means properly insulating this space can significantly impact your energy saving efforts.
Even if you don’t have a basement, crawl space insulation is still very important. The applicable insulation solution will often depend on the available ventilation in a crawl space and whether or not the crawlspace is enclosed or open. Ventilated crawl spaces are a standard in the United States and are ideal for the elimination of moisture. In homes with such a crawl space, insulation is typically installed under the subfloor. Unventilated crawl spaces, on the other hand, are usually insulated on the walls because this eliminates the need to independently insulate the piping and ductwork underneath the floors.
Ducts and Pipes
You also need to seal and insulate the pipes and ducks in your house if they run through spaces that are not not cooled or heated. If you are in a position to remodel your home or if you are constructing a new property from scratch, experts recommend placing ductwork and piping in conditioned areas right from the get go to save yourself the trouble of having to deal with them later on.
Attic and Roof
Attic insulation typically refers to insulation that is installed in the ceiling plane, while roof installation is installed on the roof slope and framework itself. Loose-fill is mostly used in these types of spaces, and any type of insulation that is less than the equivalent of an R-value of 30 would be better reinforced. A good rule of thumb, according to the US Department of Energy, is to add more insulation if you have cellulose insulation that measures only 8 inches in thickness. If you fiberglass or rock wool insulation, on the other hand, less than 11 inches of thickness wouldn’t be cutting it.
Before installing attic and roof installation, make sure to seal off all air leaks, cracks, and openings where air and water could infiltrate. If the attic has its own air distribution system, make sure to insulate the rafters as well in order to enclose it. Moreover, if you live in a place that gets extremely hot in the summer months, you might want to consider incorporating a radiant barrier to your insulation system.
If you feel that your home is still uncomfortable during cold and summer months despite your attic, roof, and basement having enough insulation and air sealing, you might want to consider reinforcing the insulation within your exterior walls. An ideal solution for existing homes is blow-in insulation, which can be incorporated into exterior walls with minimal disruption. If you are renovating, liquid foam insulation material can be sprayed on walls (if they will be opened up) or injected (if they will not be touched). Exterior walls can also be insulated with blanket insulation material as an immediate and economical alternative.
Insulation is a critical aspect of making any home more comfortable and rewarding to live in, that’s why it is important to consider investing in the right solutions that will provide long-term benefits rather than temporary fixes. Consider all areas of the home in designing and implementing proper insulation, whether it is an existing one or one yet to be built.