Insu­la­tion comes in sev­er­al types and is used to slow the heat trans­fer through walls, attics, ducts or roofs.  Your goal for your home should be to lose less warm air in the win­ter months and less cool air in the sum­mer months. This will in turn reduce your heat­ing and cool­ing needs.

Types of insu­la­tion that can be used for attics are spray foam, loose-fill, fiber­glass, cel­lu­lose, and fiber­glass batts.

  • Loose fill insu­la­tion comes in bags and is blown in place.
  • Fiber­glass comes from recy­cled glass sand that has been melt­ed and spun into fibers.
  • Cel­lu­lose is made from recy­cled post-con­sumer paper treat­ed for resis­tance to insects and fire.
  • Fiber­glass batts comes in pack­aged rolls.

Types of insu­la­tion that can be used in walls are rock­wool batts and blan­kets, cot­ton batts which are den­im mate­r­i­al, con­crete blocks, foam board, loose-fill fiber­glass, and sprayed foam. Sprayed foam is one of the most pop­u­lar options, is very cost effec­tive and you can do it your­self.  While insu­lat­ing inte­ri­or walls is not com­mon it does offer ener­gy sav­ings and can damp­en sound.

While some may not think to insu­late floors this is an impor­tant area to not for­get.  Home­own­ers can save mon­ey on heat­ing and cool­ing costs by insu­lat­ing spaces under floors.  Foam or fiber­glass is what needs to be used to insu­late floors.  Rigid foam board should be used between floor joists in crawl spaces.

When con­sid­er­ing ceil­ing insu­la­tion keep in mind that batts or blan­ket insu­la­tion is the best choice for flat ceil­ings.  These batts or blan­kets include poly­ester, nat­ur­al wool, glass wool, and rockwool.

When­ev­er you are work­ing with fiber­glass insu­la­tion you need to be pro­tect­ed with long sleeved shirts and pants.  You should also have stur­dy socks and enclosed shoes.  Hats are also a good idea. An even bet­ter idea is to wear dis­pos­able cov­er­alls.  Wear gloves on your hands.  You do not want fiber­glass par­ti­cles on your skin.

You should cer­tain­ly wear gog­gles and a dust mask to keep you safe when work­ing with insu­la­tion.  Inhal­ing fibers from fiber­glass can become lodged in your lungs and cause dif­fi­cul­ty in breathing.

When insu­lat­ing your home with spray insu­la­tion, you can rent the nec­es­sary equip­ment.  There are also insu­la­tion con­trac­tors that can do the job for you.

The EPA esti­mates that home­own­ers will save an aver­age of 15% on heat­ing and cool­ing costs by seal­ing their homes and adding insu­la­tion in attics, floors over crawl spaces, and acces­si­ble base­ment rim joists.