Home improvement

Insulation types: stop losing heat and lower your costs

Every homeowner, at one point, has to decide on the type of insulation he’ll use for his home. When building a house, the architect will help you choose the best solution for you. But what happens if you live in an apartment? What are the choices for you then?

Reducing the amount of heat loss in your home can help the environment, and it can save you a bunch of your hard-earned cash. Some heat loss reduction methods may require an investment, but it will be worth it when the electric bill comes.

Insulate your attic

Hot air rises, and unfortunately a good bit of your heating escapes through the roof. Placing a layer of insulation in the attic or crawlspace of your home can trap more of that heat where you want it. In older homes, adding attic insulation is the single most cost-effective way to reduce your heating bill.

Insulate your walls

Your walls comprise most of the outer surface area of your home. Many homes have cavity insulation in the walls, and upgrading to a material with a higher insulating value might reduce heating bills. If you're adding insulation to previously existing walls without large insulation cavities, use sprayed-foam insulation since it can conform to any shape and can be used in even the tightest gaps.

What to use for insulation?

There are a number of insulation materials you can use, ranging from fiberglass, rock and slag wool, cellulose and natural fibers to rigid foam boards to sleek foils. Some materials resist conductive and, to a lesser degree, convective heat flow. Rigid foam boards trap air or another gas to resist conductive heat flow. Highly reflective foils in radiant barriers and reflective insulation systems reflect radiant heat away from living spaces, making them particularly useful in cooler climates.

Add double-glazed windows

Up to 20 percent of a home's heat loss can be accounted for by poorly insulated windows. Double-glazed windows have two panes of glass, and the air in between those two panes acts as an insulating boundary between the cold outdoor air and your heated indoor air. Double-glazed windows aren't cheap, but they pay for themselves in the long run.

Seal up your doors

Drafty doors and entrances could account for 15% up to 30% of a home's total heating costs. Simply placing weather-stripping and caulking over open spaces and gaps around doorframes can cut down on wasted energy.

Seal up other leaks

If you’re living in a house, electric wall outlets and switches can cause heat loss. Use foam gaskets to block off any gaps around wall fixtures. Also, if you have a fireplace, don't forget to close the damper in you’re not using it. If you have glass doors in front of the fireplace, keep them closed as well. An open fireplace is a great escape route for hot air.

What solutions did you use for insulation?

Sources: 1, 2


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