Homeowners in Western New York must prepare their home for our four unique seasons, and more specifically, must make certain their home will be warm enough for our famous or perhaps infamous winters. A goal local homeowners strive for is finding ways keep their home warm in the winter, but cool in the summer. So how do you do that without spending a small fortune on heating and air conditioning bills?
The answer is a simple one; it comes down to insulation. Having quality insulation will make your residence more comfortable, and it will make your home more energy efficient. There are different insulation options available to meet a wide array of needs and budgets. Each has their own advantages.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of the types of insulation installed by Ivy Lea Construction.
Cellulose insulation is made from plant fiber and it is manufactured from recycled paper, making it an environmentally friendly solution. The major benefit of cellulose is that it can save homeowners a ton of money in the long run. Cellulose can be carefully fitted, avoiding chasms and retaining heat in the process, according to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Other benefits include it helps reduce noises, is not a fire hazard and if it gets wet, it will not lead to a mold problem. Ultimately, cellulose will help keep your home warmer in the winter, and homeowners will not have to worry about its fire safety rating, or that mold will develop.
Spray foam insulation
Spray foam insulation is a liquid mixture that expands after being installed. The advantages of spray foam insulation is it reduces the amount of energy a home loses when air leaves or enters through doors, windows and other entry points. Additionally, if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies, spray foam insulation can help, by reducing the amount of allergens, such as mold and mildew in your home. A reduction in noise is another advantage of spray foam insulation.
Why We Choose Spray Foam Insulation
When spray foam is applied, it expands up to 100 times its initial volume. This allows it to seal any small nooks and crannies that might cause drafts and heat loss. It can also help to fortify your home against small pests. Whereas batt insulation must be cut to fit specific spaces, spray foam is far more versatile and can form to fill nearly any contour.
Energy Bill Savings
Air intrusion typically accounts for nearly half of a home’s total energy loss. Spray foam is better able to seal the cracks and gaps that cause air intrusion. As a result, employing SPF in your home can confer significant savings on your energy bill’s bottom line. By properly insulating your home, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of a year.
Rather than being laid across your attic floor, SPF can be applied directly to the underside of your roofline. This can effectively bolster your roof with an extra layer of protection against wind uplift. According to the American Chemistry Council, “during periods of high wind, a building with a spray foam roof generally experiences less damage than a building without SPF.” Spray foam insulation essentially acts as a sort of glue that holds your roof together in case of high wind events. SPF is also far more resistant to mold and mildew than fiberglass insulation.
- Increases wall R-value
- Great for irregularly shaped wall cavities or hard-to-reach places
- Seals all gaps and cracks, preventing air leaks
- More expensive than your average blanket batts and rolls
- Typically requires professional installation
- Open-cell spray foam may need a moisture barrier
Fiberglass is the most traditional form of insulation, although it is not the most environmentally friendly option. However, it does offer a series of benefits, including its versatile, water resistant, has a great fire rating and it will certainly help keep your home warm in the winter.
- Good for standard stud and joist spacing
- Need protective clothing to install
- Rolls must be cut by hand
- Can lose insulating properties more quickly due to it being easy to compress
Foam Board or Rigid Foam
Foam boards or rigid foam panels can be used in almost every area of your home. They are made of polyurethane, polystyrene, or polyisocyanurate.
- Extremely multipurpose – they can be installed in any area of your home, from your floors to your attic
- Provides up to 2 times greater thermal resistance compared to other types of insulation
- Reduce heat conduction from your home’s structural components
- Typically requires professional installation
- Difficult to install for finished areas
Typically made of fiberglass, rock wool, or reclaimed cellulose material, blown-in insulation is another common insulation type. You use an insulation blower to install the insulation into the required area.
- Good for existing finished areas
- Good for irregularly shaped walls or hard-to-reach spaces
- Requires extra equipment for installation
- Not best for brand new areas
5 Signs You Need New Insulation
Too hot and too cold
When many people think about home insulation, they ask themselves whether or not their home is too hot or too cold. While average temperature is important, what you should really be focusing on is how quickly those temperatures change throughout the day. If, for instance, your bedroom is blistering hot in the afternoon and then bone-chillingly cold in the evening, you likely need better insulation.
Your utility bills are too high
It’s easy to overlook the savings on utilities when you can’t see the difference with your own eyes. It’s also hard to know if you’re paying too much when you’ve paid roughly the same since you’ve moved in. In this case, find friends who have similar homes and ask what they’re paying for utilities. Even better, have a team of professionals come out and perform an assessment to estimate how much you could be saving.
Snow melts quickly from your roof
Is your roof acting like a griddle, quickly melting all the snow on top? While we could all appreciate a little less snow in our lives, this is not a good thing. It means that heat is escaping through the ceiling and the attic as a result of poor insulation.
Even though cold drafts can seemingly come out of nowhere in the winter, they can always be traced to some weakness in your home’s insulation. Once you’ve cleared the obvious cracks in the armor, look to the attic or basement for other clues.
The eye test
Simply put, if it looks old, damaged, and decayed, it probably is. Insulation wears down over time, so keep an eye on it to determine the best time to replace it.
Ivy Lea Construction can help you select the right insulation for your needs, home and budget. Additionally, we will professionally install it for you, and help you stay warm this winter without a sky-high heating bill, and without the need for a bevy of blankets!