Staying Warm with Insulation
January 24th, 2011 by Clay
50%-70% of energy consumed in the average American home is used for heating and cooling. Insulating your home can reduce your heating and cooling load by 20% and increase the comfort of your in both hot and cold weather.
Insulation comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all of it will be rated on its thermal resistance (R-value). The higher the R-value the greater the insulation effectiveness. You can install some forms of insulation yourself while others requires a professional contractor.
Types of Insulation
Blankets (batts or rolls) – Made of mineral fiber this form of insulation can be installed by the homeowner or a professional. Cut the batts down to size to fit them into areas.
Blown-in loose fill – Typically installed by a professional, this form of insulation is ideal for wall cavities and unfinished attic floors.
Spray Foam – In the cavities of a new home a professional can apply cellulose and fiberglass fibers in the form of a foam.
Foam Insulation – Applied by a professional using special equipment to meter, mix, and spray the foam into place. Polyisocyanurate and polyurethane foam insulation is produced in two forms: open-cell and closed-cell. Open-celled foam allows water vapor to move through the material more easily than closed-cell foam, but usually has a lower R-value for a given thickness compared to closed-cell foams. So, some closed-cell foams are able to provide a greater R-value where space is limited.
Rigid Insulation – Made from fibrous materials or plastic foams and produced in board-like forms and molded pipe coverings. These provide full coverage with few heat loss paths and are often able to provide a greater R-value where space is limited. Rigid insulation is often used for foundations and as an insulative wall sheathing.
Penn Power, Penelec, and Met-Ed are all currently offering rebates for insulation.
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