One of the most underrated but highly important aspects of your home that affects heating and air conditioning is insulation. Many of us just know that it’s that pink stuff up in the attic and that’s about it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of; this is why we have HVAC professionals to tell us what the important factors are that affect our units. However it doesn’t necessarily require a HVAC technician to choose good insulation. So for the purpose of keeping your HVAC system and home running like a well-oiled machine we’ll look at why good insulation is important and how to find it.
Insulation: What’s the Big Deal?
To put it simply insulation is what keeps cold air outside during the winter and hot air outside during the summer. But there’s more to it than that.
1. Lower Energy Costs
An improperly insulated home makes your heating and air conditioning units work harder all year round because of the air outside leaking in. If you ever had a parent tell you “we aren’t air conditioning the whole neighborhood” as you held the front door open then this is the same concept. Improper insulation is like leaving your door open all year round.
2. Less Noise Pollution
Insulation doesn’t only apply to air temperature but also sound. If you’ve ever lived in an apartment and been able to hear your neighbor’s alarm clock or the upstairs neighbor stomping across your ceiling you experienced poor wall insulation. So in a home if for instance you have a teenager and you want to be able to hear your television over the rock music coming from their room, then good insulation should be high on your priority list.
3. A Healthy Home
Insulation can help guard against pollutants entering your home and keeping your clean fresh air in. Also different types of insulation can be unhealthy which we will discuss in the next section.
What to Look for When Buying Insulation
1. Know Your R-Value
All home insulation is rated in terms of thermal resistance, which is called R-value. The higher the R-Value, the more effective the insulation is at keeping a constant temperature throughout the home. Always check the packaging and even when working with a HVAC professional, don’t be afraid to ask about the R-value. That’s what the technician is there for, to make your home more efficient and to educate you.
2. Consider Spray Foam
Spray foam insulation can be used in combination with typical pink fiberglass insulation to create an air-tight seal. There are DIY kits for this but if you are unsure about where to use it or how, it is always best to get with a HVAC technician.
3. You Get What you Pay For
Insulation is not the type of thing you want to cut corners with. The money good insulation will save you will far outweigh any money you will save from buying the cheap stuff. Also remember that cheaper insulation can be made with formaldehyde which can be harmful to some people’s health. Spend the extra money and reap the benefits.
Buying and installing insulation can be a daunting task so by all means get a HVAC professional involved. But at the vestry least take this information and use it for a more comfortable safe and quiet home.