Importance of Home Insulation

A study done by the Harvard University School of Public Health indicates that 65% or close to 2/3rd of the homes in the United States are poorly-insulated. Most homes that were built earlier than 2003 are under-insulated.

Properly insulating your home is a must as an average American home’s heating and cooling system is responsible for 50% to 70% of its energy consumption. Air leakage and poor insulation (hot spots and cold spots) in the home are leading causes of energy waste. Proper home insulation will in the long haul:

  • Save you money and help conserve the nation’s energy resources
  • Keeps your house comfortable by maintaining  an even temperature throughout the house
  • Keeps the house warmer in winter and cooler in summer

The energy conserved will vary from one household to another as energy conservation depends on the size and shape of your house, the local climate, the type of heating and cooling system you use and the way your family uses energy. Savings on your electrical bill will surely be reflected. The amount saved per month might not be staggeringly high but adding those savings up for a year or so will definitely make a difference. The cost of your home installation will be eventually paid off by the monthly energy savings you make thereby translating future energy savings to actual money saved. A common thought is adding R-19 to your existing attic insulation will have approximately a 7 year payback.

Heat flows by convection, radiation and conduction.  During the winter, heated air moves directly to the unheated parts of the house. If the attic is not insulated properly, the heat rises through the ceiling, goes into the attic and escapes outdoor.

Heat naturally flows to cooler places so the warm air in your house will move to other unheated spaces like the garage and the basement. In the summer, the reverse happens. Hot air moves from the outside to the inside of the house. To compensate and maintain comfort in your home, the heating system is cranked up during the winter and the cooling system is in full-blast in the summer.

Properly insulating the home is the answer to heat loss and heat gain.  Insulation will effectively resist the flow of heat thereby decreasing the heating and cooling requirements of your home.

For older homes, the best way to insulate existing cavity walls is by using blow-in loose-fill materials. The loose-fill material can be in the form of cellulose, fiberglass or rock wool. An insulating machine is needed to “blow-in” the insulation into the cavity walls. This type of insulation also works best for tight and irregular spaces and unfinished attic flooring.

There are other ways to insulate homes but loose-fill insulation is best for older homes with cavity walls.