WHICH KIND OF INSULATION IS BEST?
The insulation your home needs depends onthe climate; whether or not you have an airconditioner and a heater, and whether youuse natural gas, propane, oil, or electricityfor heat.Some relevant variables are:•how much insulation you need•how easy it is to get to the locationwhere the insulation will be installed•the space available for the insulationmaterial•local availability and price of the insulation•whether you will install the insulationyourself or have it professionally installed
INSULATION PRODUCT TYPESBlankets
, (in the form of batts or rolls) areflexible products made from mineral fibers,including fiberglass, recycled cotton/polyesteror rock wool.
Blown-in loose-fill insulation
includescellulose, fiberglass, or rock wool in the formof loose fibers or fiber pellets that are blowninto spaces by using pneumatic equipment.These product types may be used incombination, usually with lower density(weight per unit volume) material placedon top of higher-density product.
comes in two types:Open-celled foams, (such as polyicynene)and closed-cell foams, (such aspolyisocyanurate and polyurethane).Closed-celled foams provide a greaterR-value for a given thickness.
is made from fibrousmaterials or plastic foams and is producedin board-like shapes and molded pipecoverings that leave few heat loss paths.The boards may be faced with a reflective foil.
Reflective insulation or radiant barriers
aremade from aluminum foils with a backingsuch as kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylenebubbles, or cardboard. This type of insulationis most effective in reducing radiant heat flowand is less effective at reducing conductiveheat flow.
INSULATING A NEW HOME
Installing recommended levels of insulationduring initial construction is a better valuethan adding it later. The Federal TradeCommission (FTC) requires the seller ofa new home to include in the sales contractinformation about the type, thickness, andR-value of the insulation to be installed onevery part of the home. If your builderparticipates in the ENERGYSTAR
program,third-party inspectors will ensure that theinsulation has been installed properly.
BATTS (blankets)LOOSE FILL (Blown-in) LOOSE FILL (Blown-in)R-value Fiberglass/Rock Wool Fiberglass/Rock Wool Cellulose
11 3.5 – 4” 4 – 5” 3 – 4”195.5 – 6.5”6.5 – 9” 5 – 6”22 6 – 7.5” 7.5 – 10”6 – 7”30 8.5 – 10” 10.25 – 13.75” 8 – 9.25”38 12 – 13” 15 -16.5” 10.25 – 12”
HOW THICK SHOULD YOUR INSULATION BE?
This chart represents the average R-value of different kinds of insulation. The actual value may vary betweenmanufacturers. The R-value of foam insulation varies from 3.4 to 8.6 per inch. Be sure to check the R-value for the specific type of foam insulation you’re considering.