In the present economic situation in the United States, after a recession a decade ago that some have never recovered from, we might find homes for sale in certain areas that we can pick up for an insignificant amount of money.
If you are a new homeowner, you might sit in your new home on the first cold night of the year and find you cannot keep it warm. The first place to look is not in getting a larger heating system. It is best to first look at your residential insulation.
Why Do You Need Insulation in Your Attic and Basement? –
Family Handyman reported that 80 percent of all homes that were built prior to 1980 do not have the required amount of insulation.
Most homes require R-22 to R-49 level of insulation. That amounts to 6 to 13 inches of loose-fill insulation or 7 to 19 inches of fiberglass batts. Your county’s planning department can tell you the exact R value you need in your area.
You can either choose loose-fill or fiberglass batt insulation. Family Handyman suggests loose-fill because it can more easily cover the entire attic floor easily.
The reason that attic insulation is the best place to begin in a poorly insulated home, especially in a cold climate, is that heat rises. Without attic insulation, the heating source you have used to keep your home warm has nothing to keep the warmth from rising out of the ceiling and then the roof.
In the summer, the blazing heat coming through the roof will be trapped in the attic by the floor insulation there and will not be able to pass into your living space.
In your basement, insulating the walls, according to Family Handyman, will lower your energy expenses each month by lowering the costs of heating. The problem in the basement is that the cold air of winter will migrate up from the basement and into the first floor of your house.
The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that insulating the basement walls will also reduce the possibility of moisture intrusion in the basement and your living space. It will make your foundation part of a thermal mass that will help keep the interior of your home from experiencing big changes in temperature.
For colder climates, you will want to insulate the floor of the basement as well as the walls of the basement. This will keep the cold air in the basement and out of the house. In more moderate climates, U.S. Department of Energy advises that homeowners only insulate basement walls in order to make the foundation a thermal mass with the rest of your home.
The other advantage of insulating basement walls as opposed to basement ceilings is that you don’t want your basement to get so cold that your pipes freeze.
The nice thing in the summer about a basement that only has the walls insulated is that you will get the benefit of the air coming from the foundation and the ground that is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. That air will cool your house when it is warm outside, while keeping the warm air out of the basement.
The Department of Energy says that a really good choice for basement wall insulation is spray foam. The reason that it is so good is that it will adhere to concrete basement walls and that it resists moisture intrusion.
Green Building Materials –
Green attic loose-fill insulators include fiberglass, denim or mineral wool. You will need to ensure that your loose-filled insulation does not contain any formaldehyde to bind the fibers together.
For your basement walls, ensure that the spray foam insulation does not have any HFCs or HCFCs because both are greenhouse gases.
You also cannot use open-cell spray foam if you have a basement prone to moisture issues. That is really not bad, though, because the closed-cell foam has a higher R-value.
One of the most important principles of residential insulation is that, if you insulate your basement and attic, you will save energy. You save energy by keeping the air that has not been conditioned out of your living space.