WHY SHOULD WE USE INSULATION?
Insulation acts as a barrier to heat loss and heat gain, particularly in roofs and ceilings, walls and floors. Insulation is 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.
HOW DOES INSULATION WORK?
On a very hot day, like most 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 environment within the home.
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 area. The only way to stop this process is through 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, thus 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, thus keeping the building warm.
Insulating your home is like wearing a jacket in winter, and like staying under and sun umbrella in summer.
WHAT IF I USE A HEATER OR AIR CONDITIONER?
During extreme temperature changes outside, temperatures in the home without insulation, heaters and air conditioners are most often pretty inefficient. Why? Because the rapid heat exchange through the ceiling and walls causes most of the heat to be lost on a cold day, or on a hot day too much heat to re-enter the home. Because of this constant heat loss or gain, the devices are required to run constantly and at close to maximum power just to maintain a comfortable temperature. This can be very costly as well as not efficient.
A good way to picture this is by imagining a fridge with the door open. The cool air inside will not stay cool for long and the compressor will have to run constantly just to try and keep the temperature down. This is similar to a house without insulation. When the door on the fridge is closed, however, a barrier is created which stops the cool air from escaping and the heat from entering. Or heating your home with a hairdryer. This is similar to how insulation works.
In a house that is insulated, heaters do not have to run as hot or as long to bring the temperature up to a comfortable level, as more heat is retained by the insulation. The same applies to air conditioning on hot days — it is not required to run as long as the cooler temperature inside will not be invaded by the majority of the heat from the ceiling.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS ROOF AND WALL INSULATION?
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, in the end, 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-gaps, and even the floor. While the ceiling contributes the most heat lost and gained 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 of the day.
HOW MUCH INSULATION IS RECOMMENDED?
Insulation 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 area, the minimum is R-38 for the attic. Summit Insulation Solutions recommends R-49, and we agree as it provides energy savings as well. Most homes that we see are under insulated. Insulating your home has proven to provide the largest and quickest results for energy savings and comfort.
|Zone||Add Insulation to Attic||Floor|
Existing 3–4 Inches of Insulation
AREAS OF INSULATION:
- Crawl Spaces
- Duct Work
TYPES OF INSULATION:
- Radiant Barrier
- Foam Board
If your home was built prior to 1978 there are changes regarding the ways we insulate your home. Summit Environmental Solutions (SES) is an EPA registered firm. SES is lead certified and we comply with all lead regulations providing safety to you and your family.