Our third major cold front just hit the Front Range. Temperatures dipped slightly below freezing and many snowflakes fell. This short spell serves as a great reminder to prepare for the coming winter. Preparing your home will keep you warm, and hopefully save you money. Insulation is an important part of the preparation of your home, and we have a few facts about insulation to help you understand its importance.
What is insulation?
Think of insulation as a blanket for your home. Some insulation is like the worn out quilt that your great-aunt made years ago that looks warm but provides less coverage than a sheet. Some insulation is the throw that you keep on the couch when you need a little warmth on a chilly night. And some insulation is that full strength, heavy down comforter that will make you forget that the outside thermometer reads zero.
Insulation is typically part of your home’s construction, but may need to be added to or upgraded, depending on the efficiency of what you currently have. Knowing the type of insulation within your home can help you decide what you need to do to upgrade and keep your home warm and snug.
Types of Insulation
- Blanket Insulation– This is fairly common and comes in sheets or rolls. Most often made of fiberglass, it is also available in plastic and natural fibers. Blanket insulation is fairly easy for people who want to install the insulation themselves and can be found at most home improvement stores. Blanket insulation is usually placed in attics or unfinished basements. If you are choosing to install this yourself, follow instructions carefully, and be aware of all of the precautions that you should take.
- Blown-in or Loose-fill Insulation– This insulation, usually fiberglass or cellulose, can be a good fit when adding to an existing home. It is literally blown in or poured into existing walls, attics or irregularly shaped and hard-to-reach areas. Special equipment is required to apply this type of insulation.
- Spray Foam Insulation– Spray Foam insulation, usually a mix of polyurethane and other chemicals, is good for adding insulation to existing homes. Much like the blown-in insulation, it can be added to existing walls or unusual and tight spaces. It also acts as an air sealant after it hardens, so it tends to be very efficient. It must be applied using special equipment, and tends to be a bit more expensive than other options.
- Other Insulations– There are several other types of insulation available, such as foam board or reflective foils or papers. These tend to be utilized less, and are often part of new home construction instead of additions to existing homes.
When you are adding or upgrading your insulation, it is also necessary to make sure that your home is sealed properly. Air seeping in and out of your home can create a drafty environment and significantly raise your utility bills. Caulking and weatherstripping are two common ways to seal your home, but it is important to know exactly where and why air is seeping into and out of your home.
Home Energy Assessments
Having a home energy audit done is the easiest way to determine how well your insulation is working. The energy audit will let you know what type of insulation you have, and what you need to have. A qualified assessor will also determine how to make sure that your home is properly sealed. This is an important step to take care of before upgrading insulation. Air leaking in and out of homes needs to be addressed before insulation is added or replaced. ERC provides home energy audits that can help you make your home warmer and more efficient.
Knowing a few simple facts about insulation will help you ensure that your home is safe and warm for the coming winter, without breaking the bank. Contact ERC today to schedule your energy audit, and stay warm!