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Insulation Types: Which is Right for Your Home?

Project Planning
November 03, 2017

Insulation upgrades can have a significant impact on energy costs and the way your family enjoys your home. Increasing or replacing insulation in your home means using your heating and cooling system less, and adding this element of energy efficient house design may help reduce your energy bills. Older homes usually lack insulation, and bringing your home’s insulation up to modern standards could offer some serious improvements in comfort and savings.

How to Compare Different Types of Insulation

Every type of insulation features a label detailing the material’s R-value per inch. The R-value defines the material’s ability to resist heat transfer. The larger the R-value, the more effective the insulation is bound to be. In tight spaces, insulation with a high R-value should be used, but in open-space areas, thicker layers of a lower-rated material can do the trick.

There are various types of insulation, generally split into four categories:

  • Spray foam: This insulation seals gaps and leaks in walls. A liquid solution is sprayed into the walls, where it then hardens into a solid foam. Homeowners like this insulation because it offers the highest R-value of all insulators.
  • Blown-in: This type of home insulation uses a mechanical blower to fill a space with white cellulose. It offers a high R-value, and is especially effective in tight, hard-to-reach spaces. Many homeowners appreciate this insulation’s ability to resist moisture and keep pests and insects out.
  • Fiberglass batts: Homeowners looking for an inexpensive insulation solution turn to fiberglass batts, a cheap type of blanket insulation made of fiberglass that can be stapled into place. As long as they’re installed correctly, these rolls of insulation can prove to be a quick fix.
  • Reflective and radiant barriers: This type of insulation is usually found in the attic, as the material helps reduce heat and cold. Radiant and reflective barriers reflect the sun’s rays and absorb heat before it makes its way into your home, keeping you and your family cooler. Generally, this insulation is better for homes that are exposed to a significant amount of sunlight.

How much does insulation cost?

How Much Does an Insulation Upgrade Cost?

The price of insulation depends largely upon where you plan on insulating (and how big the space is), but many other factors can affect the overall cost for this energy-efficient home design feature. Common expense factors include the size of your space, the type of insulation selected, and installation fees. The average attic insulation project costs anywhere from $400 to $1,800 according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

While federal tax credits and rebates expired a few years ago, certain states may still provide rebates and discounts for insulation upgrades. As you draw up your energy-efficient home plans, check with your local districts to determine if there are incentives in your area.

How much can you save with insulation

How Much Can You Save with Insulation Upgrades?

Investing in different insulation types can pay off in the long run. Insulation helps keep your home at your desired temperature, which means more energy-efficient cooling and heating as as you'll need to use your HVAC system less.. The EPA reports that you can save an average of 15 percent on heating and cooling costs with insulation and air sealing home improvement projects, although this varies by location and the different insulation types available.

Properly insulating your home could help you save money on your utility bills and keep your family more comfortable. Make an investment in your home’s energy efficiency today with an insulation upgrade.

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