Fun and Helpful Facts About Insulation

Fun and Helpful Facts About Insulation

Access Doors and Panels on 16th Sep 2020

Fun and Helpful Facts About Insulation

Insulation in your building for humid summers and unpredictable winter is essential for proper weatherization and reliable comfort you would want to experience. Unfortunately, insulation is the absolute last thing they might even think about when it comes to the function and efficiency of the house or commercial space. But we're telling you it shouldn't be because insulation plays a significant role in your place's weatherization. There are so many things at stake if you neglect your insulation.

So, to get you acquainted and more familiar with your insulation, here are some fun and helpful facts about insulation to help you stay more comfortable and lower your energy bills all year round.

Does Climate Matter?

Actually, yes. It does. Some places experience higher humidity more frequently throughout the year than others. Places like Florida and southern Texas record a high number of high humidity days, they're also very exposed to hurricanes and the damage these hurricanes cause. In areas like these, it's best to avoid insulations like cellulose that are unable to manage moisture and therein more prone to mold.

Here's A Bit Of History

Do you have any idea about the earliest forms of insulation? It's something simple and still available today-- dirt! Yes, you read it right. Before, dirt was turned to mud and then mixed with straw for use between the walls of Medieval homes to keep the house at a comfortable temperature. But today, we've already come a long way, and unsurprisingly, the more natural the material, the better insulation and effect it has on the environment.

In the 1970s, the most significant improvement was when health experts determined that the commonly used material asbestos was causing major lung problems in people who lived with it in their homes. Another good insulation is fiberglass because of the many benefits it offers. Unfortunately, people using the same have to take great care in handling it, or they're likely to wind up with lung problems. Fiberglass insulation has tiny shards of glass that are easy to inhale. When working with this kind of insulation, make sure to always work with a mask when removing or installing this pink fluff.

Insulation is impressive in a way that it has quite the history and technology and science working together to improve upon this magnificent building feature. Without insulation, you are likely to lose 60% of its heating and air. But with the use of insulation, you will be able to save money and energy. Moreover, if given the right choice in material, you will also be ready to leave a minimal impact on the environment.

Did You Know?

1. Insulation Does Not Slow Airflow-- It Slows Heat Transfer

If there is one fundamental fact about insulation you should know about, it's what this material does. Since insulation is essential in some parts of your home or commercial space where air leakage can occur, it is more logical to assume that insulation does something to block the air leaks. However, in reality, insulation does nothing to stop the unwanted airflow. Insulation slows heat transfer and does not prevent air. Imagine a Thermos-- your insulation helps your home or office to act like a Thermos that keeps hot things stay hot and cold things remain fresh. When you're using the furnace during the winter season, insulation works to reduce the heat radiating throughout the walls and other surfaces. And when it's summer, when you have your air conditioner on, the insulation helps keep out the sun's heat.

However, due to some common misunderstandings, certain types of insulation have gained an undeserved reputation for stopping the air leaks in the building, and one of these is spray foam insulation. This kind of padding is applied by homeowners to cavities in the attic, walls, and floors, assuming that it will stop any air seeping. Although it reduces heat loss and gains, air can still flow through this insulation type, just like any other. For your comfort, indoor air quality, and building's energy efficiency, stopping air leakage is necessary.

2. Have Proper Air Sealing Before Adding Insulation

Another essential fact about insulation is the preparation methods for installation. The most critical is air sealing. When you're planning on upgrading or replacing your insulation, you'll want to focus on the parts of your house or commercial space where padding is needed.

  • Walls – Air sealing inside your walls usually isn't practical, but you can still take care of the leaks around them. You can use an all-purpose caulk, such as acrylic latex, to seal along the baseboards and crown molding. When it comes to sealing electrical outlets and light switches, you can install foam insulating gaskets designed for these areas.
  • Attic – Attics contain so many potential leaks and should be thoroughly-sealed before adding insulation. You can do this by running a caulk line under and behind knee walls and around the cavities inside dropped soffits. You can also add some flashing around the furnace flue. Next, you should seal the space between the furnace flue and the flashing with silicone caulk rated for high temperatures. For your attic hatch, you can install weatherstripping around it. If you're still using recessed lights that aren't IC-rated, you might want to consider replacing them with IC-rated models.
  • Basement – It is recommended you seal under the sill plate-- located between the foundation and the sill plate, with caulk or sill seal. An exception to standard weatherization guidelines is rim joints that should be insulated before they're air-sealed. You have to cut rigid foam to fit against the rim joist in the spaces between the floor joists. Lastly, sealing the edges of these foam sections should be done with the use of caulk.

3. Vapor Barriers Aren't Always Necessary.

A vapor barrier or, also known as a vapor diffusion retarder, is a layer of material designed for controlling the amount of water vapor that seeps into an enclosed area such as the attic or crawl space. It's commonly constructed out of polyethylene (plastic) sheeting or rubber. It's also possible to make various materials depending on the climate and the type of insulation you plan to use.

Truthfully, as one of the lesser-known facts about insulation, these barriers aren't necessary. A high-permeability vapor diffusion retarder is helpful during construction, especially in humid climates or in places that experience extreme temperatures. For homes located in a mild and relatively dry environment, they are often built without these layers because they use typical building materials, such as painted drywall, which are enough to control moisture in these climates.

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16th Sep 2020 Access Doors and Panels