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Improving and Installing Insulation

by Guest Post on May 14, 2012

Before you start adding insulation to your attic or walls, take the time to look around the house and improve on some important energy-saving issues. Air infiltration is a major source of energy loss. You can reduce the amount of air infiltration in your home by utilizing some of these simple inexpensive tips.

  • Install gaskets behind cover plates
  • Install glass doors on fireplaces
  • Adding a storm window or sheet of window plastic to a standard window (approximately R-1) will improve its R-value by 100%, reduce heat loss, and improve comfort.
  • Install weatherstripping on doors and windows. To see if your weatherstripping. is good enough try this simple test. Insert a dollar bill into the opening and close the door or window. You should have to tug a bit to remove it. If it slides out easily you should replace the weatherstripping.

Don't overlook the ductwork of the heating and air-conditioning system. If water lines and the ducts of your heating or air-conditioning system run through unheated or uncooled spaces in your home, such as attic or crawl spaces, then the water lines and the ducts should be insulated.

  • First, check the ductwork for air leaks. Repair leaking joints first with mechanical fasteners, then seal any remaining leaks with water-soluble mastic and embedded fiberglass mesh.
  • Never use gray cloth duct tape because it degrades, cracks, and loses its bond with age. If a joint has to be accessible for future maintenance, use pressure- or heat-sensitive aluminum foil tape.
  • Insul-Flex is a thick, elastic, insulating coating intended for waterproofing exterior walls but it is ideal for sealing and insulating your duct work, water heater and exposed pipes.

Types of Insulation:

  • BLANKETS, in the form of batts or rolls, are flexible products made from mineral fibers. They are available in widths suited to standard spacings of wall studs and attic or floor joists. Continuous rolls can be hand-cut and trimmed to fit. They are available with or without vapor retarder facings. Batts with a special flame-resistant facing are available in various widths for basement walls where the insulation will be left exposed.
     
  • BLOWN-IN loose-fill insulation includes loose fibers or fiber pellets that are blown into building cavities or attics using special pneumatic equipment. Another form includes fibers that are co-sprayed with an adhesive to make them resistant to settling. The blown-in material can provide additional resistance to air infiltration if the insulation is sufficiently dense.
     
  • FOAMED-IN-PLACE 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.
     
  • RIGID INSULATION is made from fibrous materials or plastic foams and 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. Such boards may be faced with a reflective foil that reduces heat flow when next to an air space.
     
  • REFLECTIVE INSULATION SYSTEMS are fabricated from aluminum foils with a variety of backings such as kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles, or cardboard. The resistance to heat flow depends on the heat flow direction, and this type of insulation is most effective in reducing downward heat flow. Reflective systems are typically located between roof rafters, floor joists, or wall studs.
     
  • RADIANT BARRIERS. Radiant barriers are sometimes used in buildings to reduce summer heat gain and winter heat loss. New on
    the scene are Ceramic Bead additives which can simply be added to paint coatings. These ceramic beads are an inexpensive and easy-to-apply energy saver and can be added to, roof coatings, wall coatings both interior and exterior, and ceiling paint.

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