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Insulating Old Homes
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, homeowners can 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 a 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. For
older homes, 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 examined. 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.
Ventilation is another important factor to consider before
insulating. Ventilation is essential because it relates to moisture
control and indoor air pollution. A professional insulation
contractor can assist you in locating some of these hard to find air
leaks and review your ventilation arrangement.
Before purchasing your insulation, consider elements such as
climate, your budget, and the design of your house before selecting
insulation. Also, keep in mind that 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. Insulation options include Fiberglass-based blow-in
insulation, Cellulose insulation, and Cementitious foam.
Depending on what type of insulation you purchase, a professional
insulation contractor may be required. There are certain types that
can be installed alone. If you have decided to install the
insulation yourself, make sure to take precautions.
Insulation, particularly fiberglass, can be harmful if is breathed
in and may irritate skin. For these reasons it is important to use
rubber gloves, wear loose long-sleeved shirts and seal gaps between
shirts and gloves. All skin must be covered! This especially
includes your face and eyes. Make sure to wear a particle mask and
something over your head. If you are working in the attic, be
careful not to fall through dry wall. Placing plywood planks across
the floor will assist you in moving around more smoothly.