3 common questions about insulation, answered

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No matter whether you live in New York or Newport Beach, the right insulation is key for ensuring that your home is both comfortable and energy-efficient. By reducing heat flow, high-quality insulation can minimize the amount of energy you use to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. That translates to lower heating bills and significant savings over time.

Still, many homeowners may be overwhelmed by the prospect of installing new insulation. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions you may have, as well as some helpful tips about installation.

1. Can insulation save me money?
Depending on the project, insulation can pay back your investment within several years. This is especially true for attic insulation, which keeps your home’s internal temperature from leaking into the attic – and vice versa. On a boiling summer day or freezing winter night, you don’t want the temperature extremes of your attic dissipating into your home.

So how do you tell if your attic is draining your wallet? If the floor is insulated but you can still see the wood beams, or joists, there’s a chance the insulation isn’t sufficient. That’s why it’s helpful to have a professional evaluate whether adding attic insulation will reduce your energy usage while making the rooms in your home comfortable.

An effective installation will offer a continuous layer of insulation throughout the entire building, without any gaps. On the other hand, the Federal Trade Commission noted that an improper installation can slash the insulation’s performance by 30 percent or more.

2. Is insulation important in terms of my windows?

According to Alure exterior design expert Mike Serra, it’s important to take insulation into account in regard to your windows as well as the walls. He recommended looking for foam-filled frames in vinyl windows, as it will boost the insulation value of the frames.

“One thing that my father used to say that’s very important is that a window is only as good as its insulation, it’s really key,” Serra explained. “You want to find a company that’s certified by the manufacturer for the installation. This will prevent any voids in the warranty and really ensure that you’re getting the proper installation.

3. What is R-value, and why is it significant?
The Federal Trade Commission advised that the first thing consumers should look for when buying insulation is R-value, which refers to the measure of resistance to heat transfer. As the R-value increases, so does the insulating power. This measurement will depend on the material, as well as its density and thickness. Practically all insulation products reveal their R-value, with the exception of some duct and pipe solutions.

There are a number of factors that can inform your home’s R-value needs. For example, how your home is built, whether it’s a single- or multi-level structure, and the climate in which you live will all affect your R-value requirements. If you have cathedral ceilings or a basement, those factors should be considered as well.