Thursday, July 15th by Shannon Brelsford
While it's common knowledge that insulation keeps the home warm during the winter months, did you know that the insulation in your home also works to keep the space cool during the summer?
We think of our home insulation as something of a blanket, or extra padding keeping us from the cold air of the outside during the colder months--almost like the walls of our homes are something of a winter coat. This is a somewhat accurate comparison, but there is a difference here. Continuing to wear a heavy winter jacket in the summer would lead you to overheat, but insulation within the home can have the opposite effect, and actually work to keep the heat of the summer season out of the home.
Home insulation works to absorb the heat being produced by your heating systems during the winter months, and conversely, it can keep the hot air from spreading through the home from the attic, where you’ll notice the highest spike of heat in the day during the summer. This allows you to run your air conditioning more efficiently and for you to save money on your energy bills overall.
There are three ways that heat travels, radiation, conduction and convection. Thermal insulation helps trap this heat in the many ways it can travel. This can be explained quite simply:
With Conduction, heat travels through an object or material, like body heat being retained within a down jacket that helps to keep you warm on a cold day. This is also the way that heat spreads through the home in the hot summer months, as the sun beats down on the roof and slowly heats up the air within.
With Convection, heat travels through the air. In many types of insulation, there is quite a lot of air within the material, helping to trap and keep the heat.
With Radiation, heat emanates from a specific source, like the aptly named radiators in older homes--which function by pushing hot water through standing metal heating apparatuses that then warm the room over time. It’s the same way that a fire heats a room, or a wood stove.
Ideally, the home should be insulated from top to bottom--or attic to foundation, and everything between!
When we think of home insulation, many of us tend to think of dusty attics, packed full of pink fiberglass insulation, or perhaps insulated wall cavities. These are two very important areas to insulate, but with the interest of the highest possible level of energy efficiency, then everything from the attic to the foundation should be insulated.
Ideally, a properly insulated home would have insulation material in the walls, ceilings, floors, crawl spaces, basements, and around ducts and piping. All these areas should be properly insulated to prevent the hot, humid air of the outside world from seeping into and throwing off the temperature balance of the home. Through a process known as “The Stack Effect”, heat naturally rises to the highest reachable point within a structure. This is why attics are so hot, while the rest of the home sits at a comfortable temperature. Without proper home insulation however, the heat can fill up the whole house as there is no block to keep it out, allowing the whole home to become uncomfortable through the seasons. To see what it would take for your home to be the most energy efficient it could be, reach out to a professional for a home energy audit!
All insulation works on a level of energy efficiency, helping to slow the movement of air flow and retain heat. Some do so with more or less success, but ultimately, there are plenty of options on the market so that you can make the best choice for your home.
There are many types of insulation materials on the market, including:
Fiberglass batt insulation, probably the most common insulation material and one of the least expensive. However, glass fibers can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs and lead to health issues down the line. This material’s performance can also suffer significantly from poor installation.
Spray foam insulation made from a polyurethane foam. This material is more expensive on the scale of insulation options, and must be installed carefully by highly trained professionals as it’s installation produces toxic gas that must be allowed time to dissipate, but it’s also one of the most energy efficient materials on the market.
Cellulose insulation, made from recycled newspaper material. Perhaps the least expensive option in terms of home insulation materials, and also highly effective. However, if someone in the home has allergies or breathing issues, the dust from this insulation option may be inflammatory to those issues.
Rigid foam insulation which is typically made from a mixture of polystyrene and some type of rockwool or fiberglass, with a radiant barrier on at least one of its sides. Firmly in the mid range of cost for home insulation options, rigid foam is an option that doesn’t require specialized installation techniques or protection for workers, making it affordable, while also being an effective insulation option.
A professional can help to break down the benefits and potential drawbacks of each insulation type based on your home’s specific home insulation needs. This way, you can ensure that your home operates at the highest level of energy efficiency possible!
Dr. Energy Saver can help you to insulate the home against the heat of the summer months!
Properly installed home insulation can provide improved energy efficiency, lower energy bills, and increased home comfort. When looking for a home insulation contractor to improve the overall comfort of your home this summer, make sure to hire someone who is licensed, trained, and has high-quality products and services. Contractors who are part of the Dr. Energy Saver Network exemplify all of the above qualities to ensure you, the customer, get the best service possible.
With a wide range of energy efficiency and home insulation services, Dr. Energy Saver contractors are here to help you, your home, and your family! Reach out for your free, no obligation estimate today!