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Insulation acts as a barrier to heat loss and heat gain, particularly in roofs, ceilings, walls and floors; and it’s the most practical and cost-effective way to make a house more energy efficient, keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter and saving up to 80% in heating and cooling losses. Ceiling insulation saves up to 45% of heating and cooling energy.
Half of the energy we use to heat or cool our homes can leak out without insulation.
Insulation helps to provide benefits such as:
Some types of insulation can even help make your home more soundproof by blocking noise that carries from room to room.
On a very hot day, like typical summer days, a roof and walls exposed to the sun without insulation will start to absorb heat from outside the home. The roof will become hotter and hotter and will start to emit this heat inside the home, which will result in a much warmer, uncomfortable home environment. Due to concrete and bricks heat capacity, the roof and walls remain warm during the night, and the inside of the home becomes uncomfortably hot during summers causing potential health issues, sweating, and more.
The opposite happens during winter, in which the heat from the house is absorbed by the roof and walls, and emitted outside. During night-time, the inside temperature can easily match the chilling outside temperature.
Heat always travels from the hotter area towards the colder areas and the only way to stop this process is with good insulation. In a home with insulation, heat flow through the ceiling and walls is vastly limited, depending on the thermal conductivity of the material installed.
Good insulation will prevent heat from traveling through the roof and walls, so the building temperature can be kept comfortable with much less heating and cooling energy. Therefore the inside of the building remains relatively cooler than the hotter outside environment, and on a cold night or during winter, the majority of heat that is inside the house will remain trapped by the insulation barrier, keeping the building warm.
Insulating your home is like wearing a jacket in winter, and like staying under and sun umbrella in summer.
During extreme temperature changes, heaters and air conditioners are inefficient for keeping a home comfortable. Why? Because the rapid heat exchange through the ceiling and walls causes most of the heat to be lost on a cold day, and too much heat re-enters the home on a hot day. Because of this constant heat loss or gain, the HVAC systems are required to run constantly and at close to maximum power just to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. This can be very costly and not at all efficient.
In simpler terms, a house without insulation doesn’t have a barrier to stop cool air from escaping or heat from entering. A house that is insulated however doesn’t require heaters to run as long to keep the indoor temperature comfortable, as more heat is retained by the insulation. The same applies to air conditioning on warm days — as the AC is not required to run as long because the cooler temperature inside will not be invaded by the majority of the heat from the ceiling.
A home with insulation can reduce heating and air conditioning costs by up to 40% as stated earlier. This is a substantial saving on energy bills and a lot less pollution due to less energy usage. The money saved from reduced energy consumption greatly outweighs the cost of the insulation which, essentially pays for itself.
The effectiveness of insulation as a heat barrier is determined by many factors, however, it is most importantly determined by its thermal conductivity. This value denotes the resistance the material has against heat transfer across the material. This is the common value that we use as a comparison between products, however, it is not the only factor on which a decision should be made (other important factors affecting one’s decision should be cost, safety, and feasibility of the product).
Insulation is only one part of an energy-efficient home. Other areas of heat loss or heat gain are windows and doors, walls, air leaks and gaps, and even the floors. While the ceiling contributes the most heat loss and gain in a home, the other areas should also be considered. Having windows tinted and covered with thick curtains can also help, as well as opening and closing doors and windows at appropriate times during the day.
Energy conservation is important! It’s considered green — as in eco-friendly. Whether it’s made from shredded denim, hemp or mineral wool, alternative insulation can not only save homeowners money but also help the environment. Reducing energy costs is one of the most important factors in selecting insulation. Another benefit of insulating your home is reduced environmental impact.
This is measured by the R factor which is a measure of resistance to heat. The higher the R number the better job that the insulation is doing. For our areas in Fairfax, Alexandria & Arlington, VA, the minimum is R-38 for the attic. Summit Insulation Solutions recommends R-49, and we agree as it provides greater energy savings. Most homes that we see are under insulated.
Fairfax, Alexandria & Arlington, VA