A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. That’s great and all, but the same does not apply to insulation. Not only are the various types of insulation different in their own right, but where you insulate and the type you need differs, as well. What region you live in also plays a part in determining how much and the most effective type of insulation you need. Today, we’re going to break it down for you in a few easy categories.
Every region of this country has different weather patterns. That’s partly why we break them up into regions. Folks who live way up North (whether east or west) tend to get the rougher, tougher winter weather, while those living down south deal with more moderate temperatures, though with varying degrees of humidity and in some cases, desert conditions. This simple fact alone dictates the basic standards for insulating buildings and homes. There are regulations for how much insulation you need for every part of your home. Believe it or not, insulating your walls has a different standard from what goes in your attic and basement. For a comprehensive list of insulation requirements, you can visit www.energy.gov and check your local regulations. Colder climates do well with natural materials such as sheep’s wool, while the hotter regions greatly benefit from reflective insulation that repels heat away from the house.
The r-value of insulation indicates its thermal resistance (how conductive it is to heat flow). The higher the required r-value, the thicker/more insulation you’re going to need. Walls and floors that have less space for heat to travel through need a lower r-value than the vast, open spaces of an attic or loft. Each type of insulation has its own r-value. As for which one to pick, it comes down to the area you’re insulating, access to that area, r-value needs, and cost/material concerns.
The Right Stuff For The Right Place
Where should you insulate in your home? Well, any and everywhere you can. Insulation keeps the preferred temperature in the house, and the undesirable temperatures out. Anywhere there is a hollow space in your house, there is the opportunity for heat loss. If you bought a house, it should already be insulated. But if you find the original owner chose to leave the attic unfinished – including leaving out the insulation – that’s the very first place to start. Roughly 65% of heat loss happens through the attic. If you happen to be building a home and those plans involve an open floor plan in the living room, insulating your floors will do wonders for keeping things nice and cozy.
If the age of your insulation is past its prime and in need of replacing, you’ll need to carefully consider your options. Like we mentioned earlier, access to the areas you’re insulating will affect the type you choose. For walls, you’re better off going with a blown-in insulation that can be installed with little invasion of your home’s structures. For attics, with their wide open space, you can choose any option and it will be fairly easy to install. You can mix and match – reflective insulation to line the ceiling and hemp or cellulose to fill in the rest of the space – or go for one material throughout the entire house. Whatever your insulation needs, it isn’t a one-size fits all solution. Talk to the professionals for their educated assessment, and find what’s right for your and your home.