Home insulation is what helps keep heat indoors during winter and outdoors in the summer. Heat energy moving in or out of your home raises utility costs and makes it harder to maintain comfort year-round. Available in three main varieties — fiberglass, cellulose and plastic spray foam — home insulation retards the flow of heat to allow your air conditioner or furnace to sustain the indoor temperature at the desired setting.
Fiberglass insulation remains the most prevalent type, accounting for nearly half the installed market. However, cellulose is the fastest gainer in market share and adoption of spray foam is also increasing.
As with most energy efficiency topics, myths and misconceptions surround home insulation. While scientific research is far from settled on all aspects of this complex subject, some issues can be put to rest.
Myth: Certain Insulation Forms a More Effective Air Barrier
No type of insulation stands alone as a barrier against air movement. The whole house is a system, and insulation is just one factor in reducing air movement in or out of the structure. When other issues, such as preserving neutral indoor air balance with proper HVAC maintenance and sealing structural gaps, are adequately addressed, the different types of insulation function about the same as air barriers.
Myth: Some Insulation Also Effectively Seals Air Leaks
Building materials such as gypsum board, sheathing and siding provide most of the protection against air leakage. Sealing leaks around joints, pipes and moveable surfaces of doors and windows is primarily accomplished with caulking and weatherstripping, not insulation.
Myth: R-Value Isn’t as Important as Air Resistance Characteristics
Per the Federal Trade Commission, R-value remains the single most important metric in evaluating the thermal protection provided by insulation. There’s currently no accepted standard other than R-value that measures the effectiveness of insulation to retard heat transfer, the primary insulating function that keeps your home comfortable and efficient.
For more information about the facts and fiction of home insulation, contact the HVAC pros at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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