House insulation is very important especially if your house is situated in an extreme weather region. The airtight insulation material installed on vital house surfaces prevents the exterior air from coming in and interior air from escaping out of the house. This results in stable comfortable temperatures inside the home regardless of the external conditions.
Basically, heat is lost through conduction, convention and radiation. As air in the house gets warm, it rises. Without insulation, it will be conducted out via the roof or any other surface, as cold air comes in causing temperatures to drop. Such erratic temperature changes are undesirable.
Therefore, strategic sections of house are insulated. Walls, floors, crawlspaces, basement, attic or any other spot that can allow air leakage. Of these, the attic contributes over 50% heat loss of the entire house. This makes it a target of many home insulation efforts.
Owing to its position just below the roof, the attic is a critical in preventing heat loss by convection. As the warm air rises, it is trapped by the attic insulation. Convection is the primary heat loss mode, hence containing it to a great degree curbs heat loss.
Types Of Material Used For Attic insulation
There are many insulation materials well suited for attic insulation. Despite having different features, one thing they have in common is excellent insulation capacity. The materials are rated in terms of their thermal resistance i.e. R-value. The higher the R value the better an insulator a material is.
The most commonly used attic insulation materials are:
It’s made of about 20-60% recycled content consisting of thin glass fibers. The fibers bound to the millions of glass trap air particles preventing any heat loss. A standard fiberglass insulator has R-value ranging between R-2.9mm to R-3.8mm.
Features: water resistance, fire resistance, noise resistance/ sound proof, mold resistance, and environment friendly.
It comes in two common forms, rolls and batts. Fiberglass is affordable and a very effective insulator.
Cellulose is made up of 80-100% recycled material and consists of shredded papers and newsprints, paperboard stock or wood. Its R value is averagely R-3.5 to R-3.6mm. It is blown into the attic forming a very airtight barrier.
It is treated with chemicals to enhance its non-combustibility. It is sensitive to moisture and should be kept dry. Besides, it is environmentally friendly.
Different chemicals are mixed to form the foam and sprayed into that attic.
It comes in two forms. The cheap open cell that has lower R-value and lacks good water resisting capacity. The spray of choice is closed cell. With a high R-value of R-6.0mm, it is an excellent insulator. It’s also dense and very strong.
The spray is mold resistant. Due to its chemical composition, its environmental friendliness is not assured.
Cotton is made of 90-100% recycled material. Its R-value is relatively high, ranging between R-3.4 – 3.7 mm.
It is very easy to install and does not require special equipment or protective gear. Also, it is fire resistant as it contains boron, a fire retardant. Moreover, it is resistant to microorganisms.
The Benefits of Proper Attic Insulation
A well insulated attic yields tangible result that are beneficial to the home dwellers. Such benefits as:
- Reduced energy costs.
- Improved comfort levels in the house.
- Reduced demand on the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system increasing its lifespan.
- Takes care of roof leaks protecting the property from the effects of moisture.
- Sound proof properties enhancing privacy.
There are a few signs that can tell you the attic (or even the roof) has a problem. Patches on the ceiling board. This is an indication of roof leakage and a compromised attic insulation. Freezing pipes would hint to problems with attic insulation.
Sudden increases in home energy bills as well points to a compromised insulation. The primary suspect is the attic which contributes much of the heat loss or conservation.
The best time to install attic insulation is during construction. Post construction installations tend to be disruptive but the insulator can be patched up well and effectively conserve energy.
It’s also important to inspect the insulations from time to time. That’s a sure way to detect any problem early and conduct the necessary repairs.
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