Insulation is in your walls and acts as a barrier for the hot and cold air. Insulation regulates the temperature of your home, keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. By regulating the temperature of the home, the home will be more comfortable for the occupants. Heat travels by three different means, conduction, convection and radiation. Conduction is the process by which heat moves through materials. Convection is how heat travels through liquids and gases and radiation is how heat travels in straight lines and passes through solid objects. Insulation can be made of various materials ranging from the traditional fiberglass to rock or wool, cellulose or foam. Insulation makes homes more eco-friendly because it makes the home more energy efficient. Insulation is the most energy efficient thing you can do for your home. Another thing about heat is that it rises, so your home can lose a lot of heat through the roof in the winter, if it’s not properly insulated. Insulation tends to save homeowners on average 15% on heating cost and 11% on total energy costs. About 90% of all single family homes in the United States are not properly insulated.

What types of insulation are there?

There are various types of insulation to fit the needs and goals of the home and customer and the location the insulation needs to be installed. Some examples of insulation are blanket (batts and rolls), concrete block insulation, foam board or rigid foam, insulating concrete forms, loose-fill and blown in, radiant barriers and reflective, insulation systems, rigid fiber insulation, sprayed-foam or foam-in place, and structural insulated panels. The places in the home that typically need to be insulated are the attic, ducts, cathedral ceilings, exterior walls, floors above unheated garages, foundation, basements, crawl spaces and slab-on grades.

How do you know which insulation to go with?

Insulation is determined by something called the R-value. The R in R-value stands for the resistance to heat flow. The R-value is how well the building insulation prevents the flow of heat in and out of the building. The higher the R-value is the better the insulation performs. With better power and performance, there will also be higher price associated with the higher R-value. The ratings of the R-level are measured per inch of thickness and the ratings can tell you how well the insulation will keep the heat from escaping your home. Some factors that go into determining R-value are the thickness and density, temperature, aging and moisture accumulation in the home.

There are certain regulations when it comes to insulation because certain states have minimum requirements that homes must meet. When it comes to insulation regulations, states are sectioned into zones based on the type of climate they have. Virginia is part of zone four. In zone four, an uninsulated attic will require R-38-R-60 insulation and floor will require R-25-R-30 insulation. Summit recommends R-49 for the attic.

Where will you need to get insulation installed?

The most common place to get insulation done in the home is in the attic but there are other locations throughout the home that will need to be insulated as well like between studs and rafters, ceilings, exterior walls, foundation walls, floors and vented crawl spaces, band joists, between studs of the knee walls and joist spaces. Insulation is not as easy to install as some people may think, especially since determining the R-value can sometimes be difficult for specific parts of the home. In addition to R-levels being challenging to determine, sometimes you might not know whether you need insulation or not for particular parts of your home. The task is best completed by a professional and skilled insulation technician.

Health concerns and safety precautions 

Some types of insulation can be dangerous to be around and install. Fiberglass insulation poses irritation to the skin, eyes and lungs. Fiberglass irritates the skin and particles can come off the insulation, travel and get on your skin and cause contact dermatitis. Fiberglass can also cause lung irritation and aid in the development of a serious respiratory problem. If fiberglass insulation gets into the eyes it can cause eye problems. Fiberglass insulation poses the greatest risk to children because they might not know what it is, especially because some types of it look like soft, pink cotton candy, they may attempt to touch it or even eat it.

Fiberglass replaced a once popular form of insulation called asbestos which is linked to mesothelioma and other lung-related issues and health problems. When working with fiberglass insulation, the insulation technician will wear protective clothing, eyewear, gloves and a particulate respirator. Long-term exposure hasn’t been linked to the increased risk or development of lung cancer and fiberglass is not a natural carcinogen. Even still, it’s not healthy or safe to be around for extended periods of time so the National Insulation Association in conjunction with the Insulation Contractors Association of America established a voluntary workplace exposure limit in 1999. The limit dictates that during an eight-hour workday, there should be exposure to no more than one breathable glass fiber per cubic centimeter of air.

What is the insulation process like?

The first step of the insulation process is to get an inspection done. Summit offers a free inspection for insulation where the technician will do measurements of the space and determine the best kind of insulation for your situation and the price of the job. Whether you need insulation for a crawl space or an attic or some other part of your home, trust Summit to get the job done efficiently, effectively and at a price comparable and competitive with other companies. Insulation jobs typically can be done in one day, depending on how many sections and what areas of your home require insulation and what type of insulation is being used. Some types of insulation are more effective and less time-consuming to install, while some require more work and time. If you have a need for an insulation replacement in your home or crawl space in Fairfax, Arlington or other surrounding counties in Northern Virginia, contact us today.

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