Why Insulate Your House?
Heating and cooling account for 50 to 70% of the energy used in the average American home. Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes of energy waste in most homes. Insulation:
- Saves money and our nation's limited energy resources
- Makes your house more comfortable by helping to maintain a uniform temperature throughout the house, and
- Makes walls, ceilings, and floors warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
The amount of energy you conserve will depend on several factors: your local climate; the size, shape, and construction of your house; the living habits of your family; the type and efficiency of the heating and cooling systems; and the fuel you use. Once the energy savings have paid for the installation cost, energy conserved is money saved - and saving energy will be even more important as utility rates go up.
Even if your home already has insulation, there's a good chance that it's not functioning as it was intended to: all too often, insulation is installed improperly in the first place, greatly reducing its R-value. Insulation can also settle over time, leaving portions of your walls effectually uninsulated. Our Home Energy Solutions home energy audit reveals these defections in your home's insulation, so we can begin to address them in the most efficient, cost effective manner.
How Insulation Works
Heat flows naturally from a warmer to a cooler space. In winter, the heat moves directly from all heated living spaces to the outdoors and to adjacent unheatedattics, garages, and basements - wherever there is a difference in temperature. During the summer, heat moves from outdoors to the house interior. To maintain comfort, the heat lost in winter must be replaced by your heating system and the heat gained in summer must be removed by your air conditioner. Insulating ceilings, walls, and floors decreases the heating or cooling needed by providing an effective resistance to the flow of heat.
Batts, blankets, loose fill, and low-density foams all work by limiting air movement. (These products may be more familiarly called fiberglass, cellulose, polyicynene, and expanded polystyrene.) The still air is an effective insulator because it eliminates convection and has low conduction. Some foams, such as polyisocyanurate, polyurethane, and extruded polystyrene, are filled with special gases that provide additional resistance to heat flow.
Reflective insulation works by reducing the amount of energy that travels in the form of radiation. Some forms of reflective insulation also divide a space up into small regions to reduce air movement, or convection, but not to the same extent as batts, blankets, loose-fill, and foam.