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Evaluating Insulation Projects
 

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Evaluating Insulation Projects
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement


Homeowners everywhere are trying to discover ways to lower their monthly energy bills. Families usually resort to making sure lights and appliances are turned off when they are not being used, and that the thermostat is not being abused. What they don't know is that an estimated 60% of energy is used by heating and cooling. By investing in insulation, you will save the amount of money needed to pay for the cost of installation and continue to save afterwards. Also, insulation will bring a greater sense of comfort to your home by trapping heat in the winter and cold air in the summer.

Poor insulation and air leakage are the top two reasons for energy waste. Even the newest of homes can benefit from insulation. Areas that require major insulation attention include attics, basement walls and ceilings, unheated floor spaces, exterior walls and crawl spaces. Before you decide to insulate these areas, certain elements must be carefully evaluated.

Insulation will not be as effective until you control all of your homes air leaks. Many of these leaks exist within the attic. However, an air leak can exist in any opening between your walls and floors. A professional insulation contractor can assist you in locating some of these hard to find air leaks. Ventilation is another important factor to consider before insulating. Ventilation is essential because it relates to moisture control and indoor air pollution. Keep these aspects in mind before you begin to install.

Once you have successfully located all of the areas in which you want to insulate, you must then decide what kind of insulation to buy. Consider elements such as climate, your budget, and the design of your house before selecting insulation. Insulation is determined by its R-value. R-value measures thermal resistance. It is important to know that the thicker the insulation is, the higher the R-value. However, R-value is also determined by material and weight. Overall, it is the space requiring the insulation that determines the type of insulation needed. Forms of insulation include loose-fill, batts or blankets, rigid foam and reflective insulation systems.

Coverage and cost are additional factors that need to be taken into consideration. Coverage affects how efficiently the insulation will perform. If you leave un-insulated gaps within your home, you will be creating thermal leaks that may make for increased heating or cooling costs. It is a difficult task for a homeowner and even a professional to achieve the required amount of coverage. For this reason, the best results are granted to those that invest more time on the job. The more time a professional puts in, the higher the installed cost of the insulation.

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