We at Action Heating and Air Conditioning would like to share these Insulation Tips with you. Insulation is a major component of helping you keep your energy cost down as well as the efficiency of your HVAC. An under insulated home can result in your HVAC unit having to run more than needed.
The Correct Form of Insulation
Building insulation can be classified into four general categories: loose fill (cellulose, mineral, or glass fibers); batts (fiberglass, cotton, or various wools); rigid boards (composed of plastic foams or glass fibers); expanding sprays (proprietary systems). Batt and rigid insulation typically come into play during a major restoration that requires replacing walls or when you are installing insulation in unfinished spaces such as attics.
The most common is retrofit for old houses is loose fill because it can reach places where it’s difficult to install other types. It also has the least effect on existing finishes. The National Park Service (NPS) recommends using loose-fill cellulose (recycled newspaper) type that has been treated only with borates as a fire retardant, rather than one treated with ammonium or aluminum sulfate. Insulation treated with sulfates reacts with moisture forming sulfuric acid, which can cause damage to most metals (including copper plumbing and wiring), stone, brick, and wood. Borates are physically and chemically compatible with many existing old-house materials.
How Much Insulation Do You Need
An insulation’s R-value—the material’s thermal resistance or resistance to heat flow—depends on what region of the country you live in and what part of the house you are insulating. The higher the R-value the better the material insulates. R-values range from zero to 40 and more—the smaller value appropriate for warm weather places, such as Alabama, the high value appropriate in chilly climates, such as New York. The Department of Energy has a Web site that shows what the R-value should be for your region.
Where to Install Insulation
This answer will vary from old house to old house. As mentioned, most heat loss is typically through the roof. Since warm air has a tendency to rise and cool air to fall, insulating the attic is the place to start. If the attic is unfinished it should be installed on the floor. If the attic is used as a living space, say a home office or play room, the insulation should be placed between the rafters.
One of the biggest mistakes here is installing insulation without a proper ventilation path between the insulation and the building exterior. Don’t block the soffit, ridge, or gable vents in the roof. This can create moisture problems. The Thermal type should never be placed around old wiring. Have an electrician check to see if the electrical insulation on your wiring is up to code. The National Electrical Code recommends against blown-in or batt insulation around old knob-and-tube wiring, which could prevent heat dissipation from the electrical conductors and start a fire.
Are there alternative green insulation products
There are a number of environmentally friendly products on the market. Blown-in cellulose insulation made from 100 percent recycled newspaper and treated with borates for fire-resistance and protection against insects is labeled by the Environmental Protection Agency for effectiveness against termites, cockroaches, ants, earwigs, and many other insects. This product contains no free formaldehyde, no ammonium sulfate, no fiberglass, and no asbestos.
Another product winning green accolades in the market place is polyisocyanurate, a rigid material that per thickness has a higher R value than batt or blown-in fiberglass, cellulose, and cotton insulation. Polyiso also provides an effective moisture barrier when used with laminated aluminum foil facers in masonry cavity wall applications. This type can be installed between furring strips when the walls in your house need to be replaced altogether. Another green insulation product is cotton insulation made from recycled denim; this product is itch-free and easy to install. It is also treated with borates to keep insects away.
An early insulating material still on the market today is Homasote fiber board, which consists of 100 percent recycled newspaper mixed with a small amount of other ingredients, including paraffin wax as a water repellent and copper metaborate for resistance to fungi, termites, and carpenter ants. It’s a great soundproofer, and although it has an R-value of only 1.2, South Pole explorers in the 1930s and ’40s lined their buildings with it.
We hope these tips help you when deciding on installing new or adding it to your home. If you need a new HVAC system or simply repairs on your current system please call us Action Heating and Air Conditioning at 251 272-5900, one of our trained experts will glad come to your home or office and professionally handle your HVAC system needs.