Here in Abilene, we get asked a lot about windows, air conditioning, and other energy efficiency topics: What size HVAC system should I install? Is it true you can seal a house up too tight?
We also get many questions about insulation, specifically attic insulation, where temperatures in the Big Country swing from very hot in the summer months to bitter cold in the winter months. Although the information below is about attic insulation, much of what is explained applies to walls and floors also.
There are three basic choices for attic insulation: batting (or rolled insulation), blown-in insulation, and sprayed-in insulation. We at Complete Efficiency Services can install all three and come to your house to measure for estimates. Call us now, 325-672-8480, to schedule your free, no-obligation estimate for insulation.
These are big pieces of insulation that hold together because they’re made of long, interweaving fibers with adhesive binders and typically “rolled” into place. The two most common kinds of batts you’re most likely to encounter are cotton or fiberglass. In terms of their insulating quality, they’re pretty much equivalent.
The primary problem with batts, however, is that they don’t work well because they don’t fill the space completely. For the best performance, an insulation material needs to fill the whole space, with no gaps, voids, compression, or incompletely filled areas. Although we can install batt insulation, we typically do not recommend this type of insulation as we think it to be about the worst you can do for your home.
For example in the photo above, notice that there are spaces between the ceiling joists. In this case, it’s because they weren’t cut to fill the cavity completely. Another reason that batts don’t do so well is that the house is full of other things where we want the insulation to go, such as wires, electrical junction boxes, framing, bathroom exhaust fans, can lights, etc. Rolled insulation is not the best form of insulation when having to compete with the operational systems of your home.
A better choice of insulation than batt insulation comes in small pieces, or chunks, that are blown into your attic. Our installers hold a large hose and blow the insulation chunks into the attic. A large machine outside churns these chunks of insulation and uses air to blow them up through the hose into the attic.
The two main choices of blow in insulation are fiberglass and cellulose. Each has its advantages and disadvantages which we can discuss directly with you after measuring your house to give you a free estimate. Basically they both insulate about the same, though, with R-vales in the 3 to 4 per inch range, the basic difference is cost. Cellulose insulation comes from recycled newspapers. Fiberglass insulation is typically manufactured out of sand and formed into long fibers of glass. Call Complete Foam Spray and Sealants today, 325-672-8480, for your free home estimate on attic insulation.
The photo above shows an attic insulated with blown in cellulose insulation. Notice how the ceiling framing down at the ceiling level is fully covered to prevent gaps in insulation. You also don’t see any gaps that allow you to see any exposed ceiling drywall. Blown in insulation is great at filling the gaps and giving you a good, complete layer of insulation.
The third major type of attic insulation is spray foam. Just as there are two primary types of blown insulation (fiberglass and cellulose) and there are also two types of spray foam insulation – open cell and closed cell. Each has its pros and cons, which we can discuss with you to use the best form of spray on insulation for your needs.
The main advantage of spray on foam insulation is that it allows you to move the building envelope, which is the boundary between conditioned and unconditioned spaces, from the attic floor to the roofline. If you’ve got your HVAC system and ducts in your attic, then moving the envelope to the roofline can be a good thing. In a new home, spraying foam in the roofline can bring the ducts inside the envelope without having to redesign the system and house.
If you don’t have HVAC and ducts in the attic, spray foam on the roofline isn’t really necessary. In this case we would recommend blow in insulation on the attic floor (after air-sealing your attic). Call Complete Efficiency Services today, 325-672-8480, for a free, no obligation estimate to make your home energy efficient and comfortable.