Home Insulation Energy
Although home heating oil prices are presently relatively low, this fact should not act as a disincentive to making your house as energy efficient as possible by correctly insulating it. Insulation provides two main benefits: it reduces the flow of thermal energy (heat) keeping your house cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Insulation has another major benefit, it reduces sound transmission, both from nearby houses but also from noise created in your own house from home appliances such as your heating system, washing matching as well as TVs and radios
Three main types of insulation are used in modern houses.
Fibrous insulation uses narrow fibers bonded together and which trap air between them. Examples of fibrous insulation include fiberglass blankets and boards. In the past asbestos wool was often used as insulation but health concerns now prevent its use in the home.
Cellular insulation again uses small pockets of air but now they are trapped within tiny bubbles or foams. A prime example of cellular insulation is polystyrene.
Fibrous and cellular insulation reduce heat loss by absorbing air, whereas radiant barriers and coatings are composed of a surface that reflects radiant heat. Aluminum paint and metal foil are examples of reflective coatings.
One measure of the usefulness of home insulation is given by the R Value. "R" stands for resistance to heat flow. The higher the R- value, the more heat it can resist.
Whilst all homes needs adequate ventilation, too much air passing through your house can be a major source of energy loss. The amount of heat loss by air infiltration can be reduced by:
Installing glass doors on fireplaces.
Installing double or triple glazing which will increase a window's R Rating.
Making sure that weather-strips around doors and windows are still flexible and not allowing cold air to enter the house.
You can significantly reduce your heating bills by insulating the water tank and pipes in the attic of your house. Attic insulation takes many forms.
Loose-fill insulation systems include loose fibers or fiber pellets that are blown into building cavities or attics using special pneumatic equipment. Another form of loose fill includes fibers that are sprayed with adhesive to make them resistant to settling. The blown -in material can provide additional resistance to air infiltration if the insulation is sufficiently dense.
Plastic foams provide rigid insulation which is pressed or extruded into board-like forms and molded pipe-coverings. These provide thermal and acoustical insulation, strength with low weight, and coverage with few heat loss paths.
Blankets, usually sold in rolls, are flexible products made from mineral fibers. They are available in widths suited to standard spacing of wall studs and attic or floor joists. Continuous rolls can be hand-cut and trimmed to fit.
Polyurethane foam insulation can be applied by a professional applicator using special equipment to meter, mix, and spray into place. Polyurethane foam can also help to reduce air leaks.
Reflective aluminum foils are effective in reducing downward heat flow. Reflective systems are typically located between roof rafters, floor joists, or wall studs.
By maximizing the energy efficiency of your house, you save on utility bills in the long term and also make a small but positive contribution towards reducing global warming. Correctly and adequately insulating your house is a vital step in maximizing domestic energy efficiency.
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