Insulation refers to any type of material that is able to effectively keep cold, unconditioned air from getting inside your home and conditioned indoor air from escaping to the outside. This is achieved by trapping air in the insulation material and preventing the in and out movement. Insulation saves on costs of energy for households annually. There are many different insulating materials that can be used to achieve air conditioning in your house and reduce energy costs over time. Before going for insulation material and having it installed, it is important to understand the following.
Benefits of insulation
Insulation brings about comfort in your home by creating a continuous boundary between your conditioned indoor spaces and the frequently fluctuating temperatures outside your home. Lack of or inadequate insulation allows free movement of air in and outside your home, creating inconsistent levels of heat and cold inside your house. Insulation maintains constant levels of temperature in your home regardless of the atmosphere on the outside.
Insulation saves a substantial amount of money that would otherwise be used in air conditioning systems. With insulation, these systems do not have to work as hard as they would without insulation in order to maintain constant temperature levels. One can actually switch off air conditioning systems and maintain the same temperature level for a longer time with insulation.
Insulating your home also helps reduce noise levels. All insulation materials are sound absorbers and help prevent noise transmission through ceilings and walls, making the environment quieter.
How much insulation to use
Insulation can be placed in as many surfaces as possible. At minimum, insulation can be placed in the exterior walls, in attic floors and in the walls around the living place. One can have all the rooms in the house insulated depending on the climate of the area and the need to save even more energy. In some areas, the local codes dictate the areas of buildings that must be insulated. It is important to check with your local authorities on buildings before buying insulation material in order to determine just how much will be enough.
How to choose insulation material
There are different types of insulation materials such as spray foam, rigid foam, cellulose, mineral fibre and fibre glass. These insulation materials are complex to install and require a professional in order to ensure that they are properly and adequately installed. Mineral fibre and fibre glass have the lowest 'R' values, while spray foam and rigid foam materials have the highest 'R' values. The 'R' value is used to determine the level of resistance of a material to heat transfer. Higher values mean higher resistance.
All these materials are good for home insulation; however, when choosing, go for a material that will effectively prevent air and moisture from leaking through the walls, floors and ceiling and one which will remain in place for the life of the house. You do not need a material that will require replacement every now and then.