Some Basics on Home Insulation

Properly installed home insulation not only makes your house more comfortable in every season, it can lower your utility bills. Unfortunately, home insulation isn't always installed properly and a botched insulation job can leave your home draftier and increase your utility bills. 
Benefits of proper home insulation
Home insulation creates pockets of air that prevent hot air from coming into your home in the summer and prevent warm air from leaving your home in the winter. This helps your house maintain a comfortable temperature and lessens your utility bills. You'll find this also offers energy efficiency benefits that protect the environment.

Types of insulation
Not all types of insulation are created equal: Effectiveness is measured by the resistance to heat flow or R-value of the material. Insulation that is appropriate for your walls may not be thick enough for your attic, for example. Some common types of insulation: Fiberglass, Mineral-fiber, cellulose thermal, vermiculite and rigid foam. Of the five, fiberglass and mineral-fiber are easy to install yourself, are naturally resistant to mold and fire, and generally perform well. Made of chemically treated shredded newspaper, cellulose thermal can be difficult to install yourself since it is either poured or blown in place. While vermiculite insulation is easy to install, its R-value is low compared with that of other common insulation materials. Rigid foam insulation has a high R-value and works well for tight spaces, yet can be expensive.

Common problems with installing home insulation
-Not installing the material properly: If installation is bunched up into a tight corner or placed too loosely, so that air can pass through the gaps in the insulation, it will be only half as effective as if it had been installed properly. 

-Double-layering the attic: At first, this can seem like an easy way to boost R-value. But kraft-backed insulation can trap moisture, grow soggy and become ineffective. 

-Not leaving a barrier for flammables: When placed next to a fireplace, exhaust fan, dryer vent, recessed light, doorbell transformer or other source of heat, insulation becomes a fire hazard. Proper installation gives heat-emitting items a wide berth. 

-Covering attic vents: It can seem counter-intuitive to leave attic vents open to the cold air while installing attic installation, so many homeowners make the mistake of covering over vents with insulation. Yet attic vents play a key role in preventing ice damming that can cause roof damage.

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