The purpose of the Sideco Blog is to provide you with practical information that can help you save money by making well informed decisions in regard to maintaining and improving what is probably your largest investment. We will be adding new topics on a regular basis and archiving each article so you can come back to them at any time. These are not intended to be detailed 'how to' instructions for the do it yourselfer, but rather answers to the questions that the responsible and conscientious homeowner faces every day, month and year.
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Insulation is a big deal! It is one of the few things that can save you far more than it costs. Besides keeping you more comfortable during all seasons, a properly insulated home reduces energy costs dramatically as well as helps to protect your home. In this article, we will provide you with the basic information you need to know including where insulation is needed, how much is needed and what kind of insulation is available.
There are three main areas where insulation is vital: the attic, exterior walls and under floors in the crawl space.
The attic is by far the easiest and most effective insulation for existing structures. About 50% of heat loss and gain occurs through the ceiling. It’s also easy to check for insulation. If you have rolled insulation, it’s simple to measure the depth. A good general rule for blown in insulation is that if you can see the rafters, you don’t have enough.
Typically, blown in insulation is easier, cheaper and more effective. It eliminates the dead space and air pockets caused by butting the ends of the rolled pieces together. A trained applicator can complete the entire job is a relatively short time. The amount of insulation can be easily measured and controlled. Blown insulation is generally available in two varieties, fiberglass and cellulose. Generally, the fiberglass blows in cleaner, is more consistent and provides a better R value.
The capacity to insulate is denoted by its R-value. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the typical needs for the Little Rock area are listed below:
|Attic||R - 38|
|Wall cavity||R -13|
|Floor||R – 19|
Rolled insulation is usually used under the floor of a home. It is effective in reducing energy consumption and adds to the general comfort of your home. It is relatively easy to install, though not as easy as blown in insulation in an attic. It is essential that a moisture barrier be installed on the ground to prevent moisture damage to the insulation, although, homes should have this barrier installed regardless (see upcoming newsletter article on fundamentals of moisture control).
Insulating wall spaces is difficult. Holes have to be drilled every 18 inches so insulating foam can be injected in each space, and then the holes have to be plugged and blended into the siding. The exception to this is during the installation of James Hardie siding. This siding requires the removal of all exterior siding which opens the walls allowing the addition of insulation. Some ‘premium’ vinyl siding is advertised as insulated; however, they typically provide less than 1 R-value and produce no measurable benefit.
Sideco does not install insulation as a stand alone product. As a service to our customers, we do install insulation while we are installing siding. It is a perfect time to add insulation in the walls since we have all of the outside wall covering off. We do this, typically, for the cost of the materials and the labor without any additional markup. It’s that important.
Finally, quality matters! Make sure your insulation company is using high quality insulation. Cheaper insulation is available, but it can provide as little as half of the R value in the same amount of inches.
Brent at Southern Insulation has informed us that the Entergy power companies have a program whereby they pay a significant portion of your insulation upgrade directly to Southern. If any of the Entergy companies provide your power, contact Brent and see how much you can save.
Information and guidance for the article was provided by Brent Thomas of Southern Insulation & Gutters, Inc. Brent can be reached at 888-273-7606 or found at www.southerninsulationandgutter.com. It’s a family owned business that has 34 years of experience in insulation.
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We are very aware of the importance of energy savings for many reasons. Our products are designed to give you the very best energy ratings. We will also be happy to evaluate your home to help you make it more efficient.
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