Everything You Need to Know About Insulation

Posted by Shipley Energy Team on 7/14/15 9:30 AM

The microwave in my first home was not the greatest heat conductor. 

Improper Insulation diagram

On a few occasions, we even found snow inside the microwave when it was snowing outside! Later when replacing the microwave, my family found that the appliance had no backing behind it, allowing us to see straight through to the backyard. This wasn’t a case of bad craftsmanship, but rather poor insulation.  

Sometimes heating and cooling your home can feel like an uphill battle. No constant fiddling of the thermostat is able to bring your living space to the perfect temperature. But perhaps the problem lies within the walls of your home.


 

Problems With Insulation  

Insulation starts with a delicate balance of temperature inside the walls of your home. If there is too much insulation, air is unable to leave the home, resulting in an uncomfortable climate. Yet if your house is not significantly insulated, it is very easy to lose precious heat in the winter.  

However, that same air leakage in the summer is also detrimental and can account for as much as 99% of moisture movement in a structure. We often forget that any type of air movement contains moisture—so air coming in and out of your home is bound to impact the structuring of the walls of your home. The number that you should aim towards for a perfect living condition is 50% humidity. At this temperature humans can live comfortably with the added bonus of molds and mites being unlikely to thrive.   


 

Where Should Insulation Take Place? 

  1. Attic – Attics typically are big offenders when it comes to air leakage in a home. Properly insulating this area of your home can reduce drafty rooms, high heating bills, and ice dams in the winter.
  2. Ducts – Functioning and well-built ducts properly distribute energy throughout your home. If these are not in top shape, energy will literally slip through the cracks.
  3. Walls – There are many different types of insulation to choose from in this department. As it turns out, making your walls out of gingerbread and candy are no longer an acceptable solution.
  4. Floors, Foundation, and Ceiling - Insulating these areas are imperative! Not only do they provide structure for your home, but they also contribute to the prevention of moisture damage, insect infestation, and radon infiltration.

Insulation is Your Friend! 

Before you can make insulation changes to your home, you need to first find out what insulation measures already exist. Schedule an energy assessment where an energy advisor can identify which areas of your home are in need of air sealing.  

Once you take the steps to properly insulate your home, you will see a reduction in your energy bill. It is shown that through this process you will also notice an increase in sound control, reduction of allergens and pollutants, and a more comfortable living space. 

Until you are able to make these steps, there are simple tasks you can make for a temporary fix. Make sure all windows and doors are shut tightly and sealed to prevent air from sneaking out. Running ceiling fans during the day can also help move air that is escaping.  

The summer is winding down and heating season will be here before you know it! And although it may seem romantic to sit by fires like it’s the 18th century, head colds are not something to sneeze at. Don’t suffer through a drafty winter… Insulate!

For more great energy saving tips, click here

 

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Topics: HVAC