Insulation allows the home to retain the maximum amount of heating during the winter AND cooling during the summer. The way to remember it best is the home is like a “thermos”, keeping the hot hot and the cold cold.
Insulation – Walls and Ceilings
Insulation should exist around a home’s envelope (floors, walls and attic). There are two common types of insulation used; fiberglass and cellulose. Fiberglass is lighter and comes in both batting and blow-in. Cellulose comes in blow-in only. Cellulose is preferred by Unified Comfort Systems due to its cost effectiveness and greater coverage / R factor. When insulating walls, a dense-pack method should be employed. This method involves running the blowing tube the entire length into the stud wall cavity. Using a packing motion, the cellulose is jammed into the cavity, enabling the insulation to remain top to bottom. This ensures limited settling at the highest and most crucial point – the ceiling / wall joint. Attic flats should have a level R38 installed once all air sealing has been completed. Knee wall attics (finished attic levels) should have R19 installed on the walls, R38 on the flats and crown. Once again, proper air sealing should be done prior to insulation. Lastly, all attic entry-ways (ceiling hatches, drop down stairs, knee wall doors) should have proper weather-stripping and insulation attached to equal the insulation installed. Otherwise, these areas will be weak points allowing energy loss.
Insulation – Floors and Crawl Spaces
Floors should only be insulated if they are above a non-conditioned space, such as a crawl space that is not used and zero water piping or heat runs pass through. Otherwise, the perimeter of the crawl space should be insulated (using either expandable foam or R-value foam board) and 6-mil plastic secured to the crawl space floor to prevent moisture and vapors from rising.
Insulation – Basement Block Walls and Band Joists
In basements where standard block walls exist, each run of block cores can be drilled and filled with expandable foam. This will greatly raise the R-factor and make the basement wall insulated from the exterior of the home. On top of the basement wall is the sill plate and band joist. This area typically has a limited R-value and should be air sealed and insulated.