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How to Insulate Your Home: Types of insulation, How much do you need, and When to install

What are the benefits of insulating your home?

1. Reduction in energy costs

One of the main benefits of insulating your home is that it can lead to significant reductions in energy costs. By keeping heat in during the winter and cool air in during the summer, insulation helps minimize the amount of energy needed to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. This can lead to lower utility bills and help you save money over time. In addition, insulation can also make your home more comfortable by evening

2. Improved heating and cooling efficiency

Insulating your home improves heating and cooling efficiency by reducing the heat exchange and air leakage, thereby maintaining a consistent level of comfort year-round. This helps to save on energy bills, as studies estimate that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs (or an average of 11% on total energy costs) by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces and basements. The right amount of insulation in your walls can also reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, and successfully manage comfortable temperatures, moisture, sound and allergens. By tackling air sealing and insulation projects, homeowners can maximize their comfort and save up to 10% on their annual energy bills.

3. Improved comfort and indoor air quality

Insulation helps improve comfort and indoor air quality by reducing heat exchange, blocking allergens, and helping to maintain consistent temperatures throughout the home. Additionally, insulation helps to block noise from outside, reduce the amount of pollen, dust, and insects entering the home, and better control humidity. Sealing leaks and adding insulation can also prevent ice dams on roofs in snowy climates. These benefits all contribute to a healthier and more comfortable living space, which can lead to savings on energy bills.

4. Reduced noise levels

Insulating your home can significantly reduce outside noise levels by providing acoustic insulation. By increasing the insulation, it helps to stop the transmission of sound waves and blocks the intensity of sound, creating a quieter living environment. Sealing air leaks with insulation also helps to reduce drafts and noise, and by creating a superior building envelope, this helps to manage comfortable temperatures, moisture, sound and allergens. Furthermore, using pre-cut sheets of fiberglass insulation helps to manage temperature and acoustics, and by protecting your home with effective insulation, this also helps to lower energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. This all contributes to a more comfortable living space, with lower energy bills and reduced noise levels.

5. Improved safety and security

Insulating your home provides improved safety and security because it helps lower energy consumption, reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, and meet fire safety codes and requirements. Increased insulation also helps to reduce heat exchange, maintain a more consistent level of comfort, and meet growing air tightness requirements. These elements all contribute to a more secure home by creating a superior building envelope and managing comfortable temperatures, moisture, sound, and allergens.

6. Reduced risk of condensation and mold

Insulating your home can reduce the risk of condensation and mold because it helps to maintain a more consistent temperature throughout the home year-round. It also helps to create a more air-tight seal and can prevent moisture, pollen, dust, insects, and other allergens from entering. Additionally, many types of insulation require vapor barriers, which are sheets of plastic or other materials, to do their job properly and reduce the amount of moisture traveling through the exterior walls. Finally, flooring underlayment can act as a vapor barrier and provide some degree of insulation as well. All of these combined factors work together to reduce the risk of condensation and mold in your home.

7. Extended life of home’s exterior and structural elements

Insulating your home can extend the life of its exterior and structural elements by protecting them from temperature fluctuations and other environmental conditions. By creating a superior building envelope, insulation can reduce heat exchange, maintain a more consistent level of comfort, and reduce air leakage. This helps to keep moisture from entering the home, reducing the chance of mold and mildew growth, and creating a more stable temperature even during the hottest and coldest times of the year. Additionally, by reducing noise from outside, insulation can help to protect windows and doors from the wear and tear caused by excessive noise.

8. Savings on home maintenance costs

Insulating your home can help save money on home maintenance costs in a number of ways. By sealing air leaks around the home and adding insulation, homeowners can reduce energy consumption and lower utility costs by an average of 15% for heating and cooling and 11% for total energy costs. Not only this, but insulation can also provide better humidity control, reduce noise, pollen, dust and insects entering the home, and prevent ice dams on rooftops in snowy climates. Installing high-efficiency insulation also helps to maintain a more consistent level of comfort throughout the home year-round, which helps to reduce the amount of money spent on home maintenance costs.

9. Increased home value and resale value

Insulating your home can help increase its value and resale value in a variety of ways. Insulation acts as a barrier to reduce heat exchange and maintain a consistent level of comfort throughout the year. This can result in heating & cooling savings, improved comfort, reduced noise from outside, less pollen, dust and insects entering the home, better humidity control, and lower chance for ice dams on the roof in snowy climates.

What types of insulation are available?

1. Fiberglass insulation

Fiberglass insulation is a popular choice for insulation due to its ability to provide quick, easy and effective insulation for any part of a home. It consists of tiny strands of fiberglass, often resembling cotton candy, that form a pillowy and lofty appearance. This type of insulation is designed to fit between wall studs, attic rafters and floor joists and is one of the most inexpensive insulation types available. Fiberglass insulation has R-values ranging from R-2.9 to R-4.3 per inch of thickness. Additionally, it is also used to insulate air ducts in homes, due to its ability to withstand high temperatures.

2. Rock wool

Rockwool insulation, also known as mineral wool, is a type of insulation made from rocks, such as lava, that are spun at high speeds into thin fibers. This material is a great choice for residential wood-framed structures due to its resistance to moisture, fire, and heat transfer, as well as its ability to reduce noise. It is easy to install, as it comes in pre-cut batts, and provides excellent insulation value of up to R-3.3 per inch of thickness. Rockwool is more expensive than fiberglass, however it is the superior material for floors, walls, and ceilings, particularly when fire and noise resistance is a concern. It is also an ideal insulation material for tricky corners and crevices due to its flexibility. All of these benefits make rockwool a popular choice for insulation.

3. Cellulose

Cellulose insulation is a form of blow-in insulation that is used in attic floors and other horizontal structural spaces. It is typically made from recycled newspaper or denim and is treated with a chemical to keep pests and bugs away. Cellulose insulation is popular because it is made from recycled materials and is very effective at insulating. It is also easy to install because it can conform to any space without disturbing structures or finishes. Cellulose insulation is a sustainable, reliable, and affordable choice that helps protect the environment while providing superior insulation.

4. Foam insulation

Foam insulation is a type of insulation that is used to reduce the amount of heat conducted through wood, wall studs, roofs, and other elements that make up a home. It is typically made of polyurethane, polystyrene, or polyisocyanurate and is used to insulate unfinished walls, floors, ceilings, and other areas of a home. Foam boards and rigid foam panels come in varying thicknesses and have R-values in the range of R-4 to R-6.5 per inch. Spray foam insulation is more energy efficient, with R-values reaching as high as R-6.2 per square inch (roughly R-34 on a 2×6 wall). Foam insulation products and installation usually cost more than traditional batt insulation, but it can help reduce costs in other areas, such as construction time and the number of specialized contractors. It also forms an air barrier and can be used to fill small cavities, creating an effective air barrier.

5. Spray foam insulation

Spray foam insulation is a type of insulation made of liquid latex or polyurethane foam which is sprayed into walls and other surfaces to fill gaps and crevices, and create an effective air barrier. It can be sprayed, foamed-in-place, injected, or poured, and can yield a higher R-value than traditional batt insulation for the same thickness. It also fills even the smallest cavities and provides an effective air barrier. There are two constructions of spray foam: open-cell foam and denser closed-cell foam. Closed-cell foam has one of the highest R-values of any insulation, around R-6.2 per inch, while open-cell foam insulation values are around R-3.7 per inch of thickness. Spray foam insulation is the most energy efficient wall insulation, and it is often used to reduce air leakage in holes and cracks, such as window and door frames, and electrical and plumbing penetrations.

6. Mineral wool

Mineral wool insulation is a type of insulation material made from extruded lava rock. It is a popular choice for insulation due to its high R-value/inch, good sound attenuation, and excellent fire resistance. It is more expensive than fiberglass. It can be used to insulate floors, walls, and ceilings of residential wood-framed structures and provides a reliable layer of protection from heat transfer and sound. As it is also fire- and moisture-resistant, it increases the safety of the area it is installed in. In addition, mineral wool insulation is eco-friendly, as it is made from recycled waste materials such as newsprint and post-industrial recycled content. This makes it a great option for those looking for an environmentally friendly insulation solution.

7. Cotton

Cotton insulation is a popular choice due to its natural properties, in which tiny strands of cotton are spun and woven together to form a thick and durable insulation material. The material is soft, durable, and breathable, meaning it can effectively insulate a structure without causing discomfort. It also has the added benefit of being able to protect against the buildup of moisture, which can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. In comparison to other materials like polystyrene and Aerogel, cotton insulation is significantly more renewable and can be recycled or composted when it is no longer needed. Cotton insulation is an ideal choice for eco-friendly wood-frame construction walls, floors, ceilings, and roofs.

8. Wood wool

Wood wool insulation is made from extruded lava rock, spun at high speeds to produce thin strands similar to fiberglass. It is used to insulate wood-framed structures to reduce heat transfer and sound and is fire- and moisture-resistant. Wood wool insulation has an R-value of up to R-3.3 per inch of thickness, making it a great option for floors, walls, and ceilings. It is more expensive than fiberglass but easy to install and comes in rolls of batts in pre-cut widths.

Other eco-friendly insulating materials include recycled denim, sheep’s wool, cork, cellulose, polystyrene, and Aerogel. These materials are all non-biodegradable but provide excellent insulation values, with Aerogel having a particularly high R-value (up to R-7.5 per inch). Additionally, products like Thermafiber® residential mineral wool blankets are ideal for insulating walls, floor/ceilings, and attic spaces. Rigid fiber or fibrous board insulation is also available and used for air ducts and other places requiring insulation that can withstand high temperatures. All of these products provide an easy and cost-effective way to improve the insulation in your home.

9. Blown insulation

Blown insulation is a type of insulation that is installed using a machine that blows or sprays insulation material into the space to be insulated. This paper-like material is usually made of fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose, making it flexible and suitable for many different applications. Blown-in insulation is an ideal choice for attics, oddly shaped areas, and areas that have already been insulated, but require additional insulation. The R-value of this type of insulation varies from R-2.2 for fiberglass up to R-3.8 for dense cellulose, making it an efficient and cost-effective solution for homeowners.

How much insulation do you need?

Are you noticing a variation in temperatures throughout your home and high energy bills? If so, you may need to consider the amount of insulation in your home. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program, the addition of insulation to a home’s attic, crawl spaces and basement can save homeowners an average of 15 percent on heating and cooling costs—11 percent on total energy costs. To determine the proper insulation for your home, you can use the Insulation Calculator which will provide recommended R-values and products for your project. However, for maximum thermal performance, it is best to hire a professional certified installer who can measure the batt thickness, check for gaps between batts, and inspect the insulation for a tight fit around components that penetrate the insulation.

When should you install insulation in your home?

1. Install insulation in new homes

It’s important to hire a professional insulation company to insulate your home. Insulation companies have the experience and expertise to properly assess your insulation needs and recommend the best type of insulation for your home. They will also be able to install the insulation properly, ensuring that it is effective in keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

2. Install insulation in existing homes

When installing insulation in your home, it is important to consider the climate you live in and the type of insulation you need. Insulation is a cost-effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort in your home, and it helps keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. For existing homes, sealing leaks and adding insulation can help to fix many common problems, such as reduced noise from outside and better humidity control.

For new construction projects, there are several different types of insulation that can be used, such as foam insulation and traditional batt insulation. While foam insulation is more expensive, it has higher R-values and forms an air barrier, which can save you money in the long run.

For most homes in the U.S., it is recommended that insulation be installed in the walls, attic, crawl spaces, and basement. This will help reduce heat transfer, maintain a consistent level of comfort, and save up to 10% on your annual energy bills. Installing insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency in your home, so it is important to make sure it is done correctly and to the required standards.


What material is best for home insulation?

A professional insulation company will help you determine how much insulation you need and what type of insulation will work best for your home. The most common types of insulation are fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam.

Fiberglass insulation is made from recycled glass and is the most common type of insulation. It is available in rolls or batts and can be installed in walls, ceilings, and floors.

Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper and is available in loose-fill or batts. It can be installed in walls, ceilings, and floors.

Spray foam insulation is made from polyurethane and is available in two types: closed-cell and open-cell. Closed-cell spray foam is denser and provides a higher R-value, while open-cell spray foam is less dense.

What is the insulation R-value?

The insulation R-value is a measure of the thermal performance or resistance to heat flow of a type of insulation material. It is determined by taking into account the thickness and density of the insulation material. The higher an insulation’s R-value is, the better its energy efficiency and climate control capacities. This rating system is helpful when deciding which type of insulation is best for a home as it can help determine the current and needed R-values of an insulation system.

When considering an insulation system, it is important to ascertain if and how the home is currently insulated. Once this is established, the R-value calculator can be used to determine the current and needed R-values. Additionally, it is important to consider the budget, DIY capabilities and current insulation system when choosing the type of insulation for a home.

It is also important to note that the maximum thermal performance of insulation is highly dependent on proper installation. Many types of insulation can be done as a DIY project, such as blankets, boards and materials that can be poured in place. However, some types of insulation require professional installation. When hiring a professional certified installer, it is important to get written cost estimates from several contractors and to ask contractors about their experience in installing the product.

What is the difference between fiberglass and foam insulation?

Fiberglass insulation is one of the most common and widely available insulation forms, typically constructed with fiberglass, although versions made of cotton, mineral wool, sheep’s wool, and plastic fibers are also available. This type of insulation is relatively inexpensive and is a DIY-friendly product to install, since the materials are designed to fit into the standard width between wall studs, attic rafters, and floor joists. Fiberglass insulation typically has R-values between R-2.9 and R-4.3 per inch of thickness.

Foam insulation, on the other hand, is more expensive than traditional batt insulation, but is usually higher in terms of R-value and forms an air barrier, which can eliminate some of the other costs and tasks associated with weatherizing a home, such as caulking and taping joints. Foam insulation materials often use foaming agents that don’t contain CFCs or HCFCs, which are harmful to the environment. There are two types of foam-in-place insulation: closed-cell and open-cell, with closed-cell offering a higher R-value and greater resistance against moisture and air leakage, but being more expensive, while open-cell is lighter and less expensive, but generally should not be used below ground level.

What is the difference between batt insulation and foam insulation?

Batt insulation and foam insulation are both materials used to insulate homes. While batts are the most commonly used type of insulation, foam insulation is becoming increasingly popular. Batt insulation is made from flexible fibers such as fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibers, or natural fibers like cotton and sheep’s wool. It comes in pre-cut batts and rolls, which are easy to install in walls, floors, and attics where the spacing of the studs, joists, and trusses follows a standard pattern.

Foam insulation is composed of a foam material and is sprayed, blown-in, or cut into rigid boards or panels. It has a higher R-value than batt insulation and forms an air barrier, which can eliminate some of the other costs and tasks associated with weatherizing a home, such as caulking, applying house wrap and vapor barrier, and taping joints. When building a new home, foam insulation can also help reduce construction time and the number of specialized contractors, which saves money.

There are many factors to consider when insulating your home, but Colonial Insulation and Fireproofing in Rindge, NH can help you figure it all out. We offer free consultations so that we can assess your home and help you choose and install the best insulation for your needs. Give us a call today at 800-947-8870 to get started!