Weatherize Your Home With High Quality Insulation

Weatherize Your Home With High Quality Insulation

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This article is part of our ongoing home construction specification plan series.

Assembling a Home Construction Specification Plan — Spec Plan J: Insulating Your Home

Last week, we took a look at the home’s HVAC system identifying it as the chief way to regulate the home’s inside temperature. By itself, HVAC systems can do a fair job of heating or cooling a home, but without insulation you will not be able to limit the amount of heat flow through your home’s ceilings and walls. As much as 90% of your home’s heat loss occurs in the attic where adequate insulation is often lacking.

The first step in insulation your home is to install foam channels in the eave. These channels permit air to flow freely from the soffit vents to the ridge vents. Without the channels present, home insulation tends to expand into the eaves, thereby blocking the soffit vents.

Next, make sure that the vapor barrier is left in place. This is a thin sheet of plastic which protects the insulation by stopping interior moisture from penetrating the insulation, dampening it, and rendering it ineffective.

Local building codes usually include minimum insulation requirements, but in order to build a home that is energy efficient, you may want to exceed the minimum requirements. For top efficiency, you should consider the interaction between the insulation and other building components, what is known as the “whole-house systems design approach.” Besides knowing where to insulate, you should know what the recommended R-values are for each area of the home. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Zip-Code Insulation Program can help you determine exactly where you need to insulate and give you the recommended R-values based on your climate and the type of heating and cooling system in your home. This program provides cost estimates and a rate of return.

A well insulated home will reduce your energy costs while providing a comfortable living environment — a two-fold reason to make sure that your insulation project goes beyond minimum requirements.

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Categories: Home Building

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