A Guide to Home Insulation Basics in Hattiesburg MSPublished on: July 20, 2012
Insulation is an important aspect of the home as it keeps the home energy efficient and quiet. Home insulation also ensures that the indoor air quality of the structure remains healthy. Though homeowners know that their homes need to be insulated, many are not aware of the basics of home insulation.
Why Do I Need to Know About Home Insulation?
Home insulation is necessary to best utilize the home’s energy. For example, a well-insulated home will keep the home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. As energy is expended through air conditioning and heating, the well-insulated home is better able to contain the conditioned air and utilize less energy to keep the air inside the home at a comfortable temperature. A well-insulated home will cost less to heat in the winter and cool during the summer. For homes in Hattiesburg MS, where the summers are long and hot, well-insulated homes may save the homeowner hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in energy costs over a particular season.
A well-insulated home will also improve indoor air quality. As the HVAC unit works less to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the home, the ductwork and HVAC unit collects and passes fewer dust particles, pollen and allergens throughout the home. Home insulation also keeps the home healthier by reducing the mold spores and mold growth inside the home. Indoor air quality is impacted by the effectiveness of the insulation that is installed in the home.
A well-insulated home is quieter as well. Insulation keeps the volume of sounds within the home down by providing a noise barrier to keep outside noise from penetrating the home. Street noise, neighbor noise and all other noise from outside the home, stays outside.
How Do I Know If I Need Additional Insulation?
When you have your regular air conditioner maintenance performed, the technician will be able to advise you about whether or not your home is adequately insulated. The AC maintenance professional will also be able to check your indoor air quality during the assessment. Regular air conditioner maintenance is important for homes in Hattiesburg, MS because of the wear and tear on the HVAC unit, especially over the course of the summer months. If you believe your energy bills are higher than they should be, ask your air conditioner maintenance professional about an assessment of your home’s insulation, as well as a possible energy assessment of your home.
Insulation forms a thermal envelope that protects the home and contains conditioned air. Certain areas of the home are outside the thermal envelope. For example, the attic and garage may be outside the thermal envelope in your home. Air conditioner maintenance professionals recommend that all exterior walls that separate spaces with conditioned air from those where the air is not conditioned, such as the attic or unheated/air conditioned garage, be well-insulated. Additionally, all spaces, cracks and leaks should be filled in with insulation within the thermal envelope to ensure that the conditioned air remains inside the thermal envelope. Ensuring that the thermal envelope is well insulated, with no leaks or cracks, will also improve indoor air quality.
Insulation is also applied within the internal walls of the house to soundproof each room of the house. Insulation within internal rooms will often create a thermal envelope inside each room. A well-insulated home will save the homeowner in energy costs and air conditioner maintenance and repairs.
What is Insulation R-Value?
The “R-Value” of insulation is a rating that is used to describe how well the insulation protects the structure from heat and cold air flow through the walls of the structure. A high R-Value indicates that the insulation is better able to resist external heat and cold air from entering the house through the walls and ceiling. The higher the R-Value, the more energy efficient the insulation is.
Different rooms in the home have different recommended R-Values. For example, the R-Value recommended for the attic will be different than the recommended R-Value for rooms with high ceilings. In addition, the recommended R-Values vary by geographic region. Building codes require that a certain minimum R-Value be achieved within the home. Your HVAC maintenance professional will be able to determine the recommended R-Values for each area of your home.
What Are the Different Types of Insulation?
Insulation is available in several types. Your HVAC professional will recommend which insulation is right for your home. Types of insulation include:
* Poly-Encapsulated Insulation
* Faced Insulation
* Un-Faced Insulation
* Blown-In Insulation
Insulation is also available in rolls or “batts.” Ask your HVAC maintenance professional which type of insulation is right for your home. Insulation, as with any home improvement, will be selected based on the requirements of the home and the homeowner’s budget.