Home Insulation 101: Where and How to Insulate

insulation

Heating and cooling your Tallahassee home can represent a huge portion of your energy bills. Even worse, you don't want to find that you are spending on air conditioning that is wasted because of leaks and heat transfer. Improve comfort and lower your utility costs by checking the insulation throughout your home. Adding the right insulation now will serve you well for many seasons to come.

Attic

The attic is one of the easiest places to add insulation, so there is no excuse for skipping this area. Blanket insulation comes in widths to fit neatly within your home's framing. Your HVAC contractor will determine how much and what type of insulation you need. Insulation will be placed carefully and not compressed, as this makes it less effective. Consider adding a radiant barrier in the attic. This reflective material goes just under the rafters and reduces radiant heat transfer to keep the home cooler during the hot months.

Do not place a radiant barrier directly on top of your insulation as it will trap moisture and lead to mold or mildew growth. Keep in mind that this is a conductive material that should not come in contact with any bare electrical wiring.

Cathedral Ceilings

Soaring cathedral ceilings make your home feel more spacious, but they can also make it more difficult to maintain even temperature distribution throughout the home. The roof cavity above cathedral ceilings should be air sealed and well-insulated with foil-faced batt insulation. Make sure there is a vent baffle between the insulation and roof decking for proper ventilation. High-density R-30 batts are ideal for the job because they have a higher efficiency level but are no thicker than a standard R-25 batt, making them a better fit for this ceiling space.

Walls

The ideal insulation for your exterior walls is wet spray cellulose insulation or two-part spray foam. However, these are only a viable option for closed walls if you are building a new home or working on a renovation. These choices will also work in an area with open walls, such as a garage. If you are adding wall insulation to an existing home, your best option is blow-in insulation.

Ducts

All of the cooled air in your home passes through your ductwork. Poorly sealed or insulated ducts will result in a significantly higher utility bill. Insulate your ducts with foil-faced fiberglass insulation. Your technician can wrap this insulation around the ducts and secure with special duct tape, or a similar product recommended by the manufacturer. It is also important that your ductwork is properly sealed. Your technician will also inspect your ducts for leaks and address these before adding insulation.

Water Heater

Regardless of the outside temperatures, you can always enjoy a nice hot shower. You can help your hot water heater work more efficiently by adding insulation here if you don't already have a factory insulated heater. Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket with a rating of R-11 or higher. You may wrap an electric water heater on all sides, including the top.

Floors

It is easy to forget about flooring, but insulation will help if you have a room over an area of the home that is not heated or air conditioned, such as the garage. You can add a layer of rigid foam insulation beneath the subflooring. You can also insulate this area by approaching it from below. Insulate the ceiling of the room beneath to keep hot air from being lost to conditioned space above.

Properly insulating your home will help keep the conditioned air in where it belongs. For more information about improving your home comfort with the proper insulation contact Air Control Heating and Cooling, Inc. at 850-391-4300. With our affordable solutions, we can help you maintain a home that is comfortable and energy efficient, even through the unpredictable Florida weather.

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