June 28th, 2017

Anyone who has been in Texas for a day or two – regardless of what season it is – can attest to how hot it can get. And residents of this great state know full well that in the summer, that air conditioning is on at all times. You may be losing some of that precious cold air if your home isn’t properly insulated, and therefore losing money. Service Express can inspect your home and help you decide which type of insulation will best suit your needs.

How does insulation work?

Before proceeding with any kind of insulation project, it’s good to know how insulation works. You’re probably already familiar with the three ways in which heat flows – conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction is the way in which heat travels through materials, such as how a metal spoon heats up when you leave it in a pot of hot soup, and convection is the circulation of heat through liquids and gases, which is why hot air rises (think of a hot air balloon) and cold air sinks. Most methods of insulation work by slowing down conductive heat or, to a lesser extent, convective heat flow.

Insulation Ratings: R-Values

One important thing to consider when choosing your type of insulation and how much to install is the R-value of the insulation. This is the rating of an insulating material’s resistance against conductive heat – the higher the R-value, the greater the effectiveness of that insulation. The actual R-value that you should aim for depends on where you live and where you plan to install your insulation. Texas sits mostly in Zones 2 and 3. This means that you’ll be looking for a value of R30 to R60 if you want to insulate the attic or R13-R15 if insulating the cavities of your home. You can refer to https://energy.gov/energysaver/insulation for a more extensive chart of Zones and R-values.

Types of Insulation

The next thing to consider will be the type of insulation. The most popular types of insulation are blanket insulation (commonly referred to as batts), loose fill, or foam insulation spray.

  • Blanket insulation
    • Made of fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibers, or natural fibers
    • Relatively inexpensive
    • Best suited for attics, floors, ceilings, or unfinished walls with standard joist spacing and little to no obstructions
  • Loose fill insulation
    • Made of cellulose, mineral wool, or fiberglass
    • Good as added insulation to finished spaces such as existing walls, hard-to-reach places, or unfinished attics with obstructions
  • Sprayed foam or foamed-in-place insulation
    • Made of cementitious, phenolic, polyisocyanurate, or polyurethane
    • Like loose fill, it’s good as added insulation to finished areas and is especially good for irregularly-shaped areas and around obstructions

Your Service Express professional can help you decide which is best for you, whether the job is commercial or residential.


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