The right insulation in the right place can do a lot to raise your comfort level and lower your energy bills. Insulation benefits you year round, but it’s especially helpful against the greater Cincinnati area’s cold, snowy winters. Understanding the pros and cons of each type of insulating material will help you start your upgrade plans right.
- Fiberglass – This common material, usually found in pink or yellow, is made of fine glass filaments. At least 20 percent and up to 40 percent comes from recycled materials. Fiberglass insulation is available in batt form (long sheets) and loose-fill (small chunks). Because contact with the fibers can harm the airways and eyes, the material must be installed carefully.
- Cellulose – Cellulose offers the highest recycled content of all insulation types, with around 75 percent of its content coming from post-consumer paper. With higher R-values per inch than fiberglass, it’s also among the most efficient materials. Often available as loose-fill, it’s ideal for upgrading the attic, wall, and floor insulation. Its fibers are harmless, so it can be handled without special protective gear.
- Cotton – Much of this insulation comes from recycled blue jeans. Cotton production isn’t environmentally friendly, so look for cotton insulation with the highest amount of recycled material. While cotton is safe to handle, it’s not highly efficient.
- Mineral (rock) wool – Composted of strands of minerals, this insulation must contain at least 70 percent recycled material by law. Its greatest benefits are its superior flame retardant and soundproofing properties. You’ll find it in batt and loose-fill form, so it can be used anywhere.
- Foam insulation – Polyurethane, polyisocyanurate and other foams are the least environmentally friendly, but they can make up for it with their ability to improve home energy efficiency. Most are available in liquid spray form and rigid board form. In existing buildings, spray foam can be used to enclose walls while boards are useful for insulating basement rim joists.
For more pro tips on choosing insulation or for help with installation, contact us at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing in the greater Cincinnati area.
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