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Home Insulation and why it's Important

Jan 02, 2013 04:39PM ● Published by tina

Don't be left out in the cold by not properly insulating your home!

Gallery: Berkeys Home Insulation Tips [5 Images] Click any image to expand.

Sponsored by Berkeys Air Conditioning and Plumbing

Written by Adam Mennega, Service Manager, Berkeys

We all know the saying “If you don’t like the weather in Texas, just wait 5 minutes” and just as quickly as the weather changes here, so will the temperature in your home if you don’t have proper insulation. 

Types of Insulation

There are many types of insulation, each with different ratings and applications. The most common types of attic insulation are Blanket insulation and spray insulation. Blanket insulation, also known as Batt or Roll insulation consists of flexible fibers such as fiberglass, which when handled can cause itchy skin and eye irritation. This type of insulation can also cause irritation long after installation, especially if you have an attic storage space.

At Berkeys, we recommend Owens Corning AttiCat Blown Insulation for its superior thermal and acoustical performance as well as its natural and recycled ingredients. This type of insulation also causes no skin and eye irritation, is formaldehyde free, non-flammable and includes a lifetime warranty.

What are R-Values and how much insulation do I need?

The R-Value of insulation material refers to its thickness. The lowest R-Value of 11, for example, is just 3 ½ inches thick, while R-38 is around 12 inches. Depending on the age and type of your home, it’s important to know how much insulation it has.  Texas Building Codes require at least 12 inches of Insulation in your attic (R-38) for newer constructions, but we usually recommend at least an R-Value of 60, or about 16 to 18 inches.

Improved Air Quality and Energy Savings

A properly insulated attic means more balanced interior temperature and less strain on your HVAC equipment, thus extending the life of those units. The amount of insulation that will work in your attic is also dependent on how much space is available. It’s important not to stuff your roof up to the rafters with insulation, but allow for a good balance of material and airflow. Attic ventilation is an important factor when regulating temperature in your home. We recommend non-restricted soffit vents and solar powered attic vents for proper ventilation (see gallery).

Installation

You should always have a licensed HVAC professional install insulation for you. At Berkeys we take extra care to make sure that your attic is not only well insulated, but also properly ventilated. 

During installation, we first make sure that all soffit vents are free of obstructions, such as wood, dirt or old insulation. We also install soffit vent baffles that prevent insulation material from covering up the vent.

Next we check for any can lights (recessed ceiling lights) and make sure we install covers for each. Covering these with insulation can cause the lights to overheat and burn out quicker.

To ensure proper insulation thickness when spraying, we use Owens Corning rulers throughout the attic. We also make sure that the entry and storage area of your attic is free of the blown in material. Additionally, we recommend the installation of a Attic Tent which can prevent energy loss to and from your attic and keep out dust when opening the pull-down door. To find out more about the Attic Tent as well as the benefits of our Home Energy Audit, visit Berkeys.

Things to watch out for

Beware of unlicensed contractors! Too many times, we get called in to rescue a bad insulation job where the material was either unevenly applied or the wrong insulation was installed, vent covers were obstructed or can lights started to overheat. Not to mention how many times we’ve encountered an attic door that was covered in insulation only to be greeted by a shower of blown insulation when opening the pull down door! A bad insulation job can end up costing you more in the long run.

Benefits of a properly insulated home

As I already mentioned above, immediate benefits of insulation include better balance of air temperature and less strain on your HVAC equipment, thus extending its lifetime significantly. Think about the huge cost of new equipment, or ongoing repair costs versus a one-time investment in proper insulation. It also goes without saying that if your HVAC equipment runs less, you’ll see savings in your monthly energy bills. These can vary depending on the size of your home, age of the equipment and also its efficiency ratings, but on average you can expect monthly savings of up to 30% with a properly insulated attic.

About Berkeys

Berkeys is an award winning home service company, providing quality plumbing, air conditioning, and heating services to homeowners in the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex for over 35 years.

All of our technicians, are background-checked, drug tested and have passed rigorous state examinations and are licensed by the State of Texas; they understand the complexity of state codes all the way down to local requirements.

Berkeys maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has led the field in area newspapers’ readers’ favorite polls. For more information about Berkeys, visit www.berkeys.com or call 877-BERKEYS

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