Tag Archives: insulation

Conserving at Home with Insulation Improvements

We talked about air leaks and how air moves throughout the house. We will take a look at what insulation is and how important it is to conservation. Heat transmission in the home how insulation can help your homeis the leading cause of winter heat loss and the loss of cool air during summer months. Most single family homes lose more heat through transmission than they do through air leakage. Insulation slows heat transmission through the home’s floors, walls, ceiling, and roof.

Insulation performs the following thermal actions:

  1. Conserves energy by slowing heat transmission.
  2. Reduces the size of heating and cooling equipment that a building needs according to the insulation’s R-value.
  3. Prevents wintertime moisture by preventing low interior surface temperatures.

Insulation also carries with it the following benefits:

  1. Reduces noise.
  2. Helps slow down and prevent air leakage and water vapor transmission.
  3. Helps improve a building’s fire resistance.

Insulation is installed in a building’s cavities, attached to the building frame, or attached to the building’s exterior surfaces. What are some of the characteristics of insulation? Insulation slows heat transmission in an important way. It reduces heat radiation and air convection within the cavities where it is installed. Insulating materials are not as dense as other building materials which are conductors. There are millions of tiny air pockets within the fibers or bubbles in plastic foam insulation. These fibers and tiny bubbles help to slow down the process of heat transmission. The density of the insulation affects its R-value.

Insulation’s ability to slow down heat flow is measured by the R-value. The R-value of any building assembly is determined by the following factors:

  1. Type and density of the insulation.
  2. Air leakage and convection through voids, gaps, or low insulation density.
  3. Water’s presence within the cavities


Fiberglass batts, Blown, Board – 2.6 – 4.2
Cellulose Blown – 3.2 – 3.6
Mineral Wool Batts – 2.6 – 4.4
Vermiculite or Pearlite – 2.1 – 2.4
Expanded Polystyrene – 3.6 – 4.4
Extruded Polystyrene – 5.0
Polyisocyanurate Board – 5.6 – 7.6

R-values vary by insulation type, density, and the quality of insulation.

Insulation plays an important role in energy conservation. You can use all the green material you want to use and seal and caulk every split and crack you can, but if  you have no insulation, you have accomplished nothing. When is the last time you have taken a look in your attic? Chances are that if you need to add insulation to your attic, there are other places where it may need to be added, but the attic is the first place to start. You can contact your local contractor for an inspection to see if your insulation needs to be updated.

Garage Winterization

Where is the Sink?

It is easy to overlook the plumbing in the garage. If you have a sink or faucet in the garage, the plumbing is not far away. The plumbing in the garage is often exposed to the elements
more so than the plumbing under the house. Opening and closing the garage door allows winter temperatures to penetrate the space where your plumbing is located. If your garage sink is wall-mounted without a cabinet surrounding it, the pipes are exposed to the elements and at a high risk for freezing.

your garage in the winter

Chore to Heat

If you spend little time in your garage during the winter, you may not have discovered the need for heat in that space. Most garages are not equipped with heat vents from the central heating unit. Space heaters or portable heating sources are often the main sources of heat in the garage. If your garage is not well insulated, and older ones usually are not, it will be a chore to heat this area.

Energy Efficiency Pays Off

Your best bet will be to add a layer of insulation to the ceiling, around the walls, and on the concrete floor.  It will save on your energy bill later because it will trap the heat in winter and keep the area cool in the summer.  Adding heat to your garage can prevent an emergency service call to a plumber.

It is Okay to Call for Help

If you would rather not install a separate heating unit in the garage yourself, be sure to contact your heating and air technician. The technician will have the best idea of where to put your new heater. Small, efficient propane heaters can be attached to portable “grill size” tanks. The technician can set this up for you. These heaters can be useful as a back-up plan in case the electric power service is interrupted during a winter storm. If the power is off, you can relocate to the garage for warmth and take refuge from the storm.