Insulation and Your Home

Home insulation is among the essential elements that keeps indoor living as comfortable as possible.  Its resistance to heat that prevents heat loss and gain is what makes everyone inside the house warm and cozy in winter and cool and relaxed in the summer.  A properly insulated home also makes use of energy in the most efficient and cost effective way.  Thus, whether you are in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, Staten Island, or Queens; insulating your New York home definitely pays and affords you the comfortably luxurious living you and your family deserves.

Other than attics and exterior walls, there are also other areas in your homes that could use some insulation for maximal comfort and functionality.  This includes:

o    Ceilings- with unheated areas above, cathedral ceilings;

o    Interior walls- basement walls, walls that separate one room from another especially in bathrooms, knee walls;

o    Floors- that cover vented crawlspaces, and those overhead porches and garages especially unheated ones.

Other than resisting heat flow, insulation also serves as a sound proofing measure that reduces the amount of noise transmitted from one room to another and from outside the house. 

To ensure that your house is insulated sufficiently, consult with a professional insulation contractor.  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Energy Conservation Code have established standard range of R-values, where R stands for the resistance to heat flow, which affords each home the highest levels of indoor comfort and optimal energy savings.  There are certain areas and factors that your hired contractor will look into to ensure that the house is well-insulated like the climate, heating system and R-values of the attic, cathedral ceiling, wall cavity, sheathing, and floor. 

When thinking of insulating your new home or adding insulation to your home, the options are many.  Each type is made from different materials, requires specific methods of installation, ideally applicable to certain areas, and has its own set of pros and cons.  To determine which type is best for your home, do some research.  Some of the most commonly used types of insulation include:    

o    Cellulose,

o    Fiberglass batts,

o    Fiberglass loose-fill,

o    Rigid Board extruded polystyrene,

o    Rigid Board expanded polystyrene,

o    Rigid Board polyurethane or isocyanurate,

o    Rockwool or mineral wool,

o    Reflective system,

o    Concrete block insulation,

o    Insulating concrete forms (ICFs),

o    Vermiculite, and

o    Wood shavings.

When exploring your options, there are things to consider before deciding which type of insulation to use.  The higher the R-value is the better.  You should also make sure the thermal performance offered by the product is long lasting.  For larger energy savings throughout time, pick one that warranties a long working life.  Choose one that is resistant to fire and moisture, and avoids air infiltration. And with the growing trend of going green in home remodeling, you may also consider environmental benefits.   

But regardless of which insulation type you opt to use for your home, the essential key to achieving the full R-value is proper installation.  Other than looking into the basic qualifications when looking for a New York contractor, it would also be advantageous to hire a contractor trained by the NAIMA – North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. 

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