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Insulation

 

Insulation AllTex
Insulation is the most cost effective way to save money on your utility bills.  Did you know insulation was originally used by the Egyptians, Mayans and Chinese 4000 years ago? They would use mud and foliage on top of the structure to protect them from the suns heat during the day.  

How to tell if you need insulation

To determine if you need insulation, you must first figure out what is the R-VALUE of your current insulation. To figure out what your R-Value is, we use this simple formula below. 

THE FORMULA IS THE MATHMATICAL EQUASION OF THE AMOUNT OF HEAT DIFFERENCE, ACROSS AN INSULATOR, AND THE HEAT FLUX (HEAT FLOW PER UNIT AREA), THROUGH IT…

Another way to determine if you need insulation is to measure the amount of insulation in the attic. That will give you a good indication of how much insulation to install.   If you can see the top of the joist or (2 x 4′s) then its time to upgrade the insulation levels in the attic. In DFW new construction homes are required to have at least an R-Value of 30 or about 10 inches of insulation. The EPA recommends an R-value of 38 (or about 15 total inches of insulation).

Types of Insulation

There are several different types of insulation on the market today. Besides Cellulose and Fiberglass insulation there are also spray foams, mineral wool, batt insulation expanded polystyrene, extruded polystyrene, and polyisocyanurate unfaced or foil faced insulation.  Spray foam is by far the most effective way to insulate wall cavities, commercial buildings, barns, stadiums, (Cowboy Stadium) and in some instances the attic.  Spray foam is the most expensive but it’s also the most effective type of insulation.  So, if spray foam is the best, lets see how the other insulation materials measure up to each other.

How they are made

The two most common types of insulation are Fiberglass and Cellulose insulation.  First lets break it down to what each material is make of.  Fiberglass is basically glass, spun into long fibers, then woven and coated with a binding agent.  Cellulose insulation is composed of 80% recycled newspaper and 15% fire retardant. Cellulose is a much greener product because it keeps more unwanted paper products out of the landfills.  Fiberglass takes more energy to make however; it is also considered a green product because it is composed of 30-40% recycled glass and sand. Last time we checked we are not running out of sand anytime soon. Both products use recycled material but cellulose has a much smaller carbon footprint than fiberglass to produce.  So on the green scale we would say that recycled newspapers is a greener insulation product to use.

R-Values

The R-value of Fiberglass and Cellulose insulation is different per inch. Cellulose is approximately three times denser then fiberglass and has a higher R-Value when blown in the attic.  It is also a great sound barrier and air sealer.  An R-value of 38 equals, 12 inches of Cellulose or 15 inches of fiberglass insulation.

Settling IssuesAir Infultration

Cellulose will settle much more over time than Fiberglass insulation. Cellulose can settle up to 20% over an 8-10 year period.

Fiberglass insulation will only settle about 1-3% over the same amount of time (if it is not disturbed in the attic). The glass fibers in the insulation keep it from breaking down and allow slightly larger air pockets when installed. This will help create a higher thermal protection in your attic.

Moisture Test

Cellulose is made of recycled paper and can absorb moisture when water is present. If cellulose gets wet, due to a leak in the attic, the r-value of cellulose will significantly be reduced.

If fiberglass insulation gets wet it will dry quickly and it will maintain its effective r-value for the most part. Fiberglass insulation does not technically absorb moisture because it is composed of glass fibers and sand.  It will maintain its insulation properties even if it get wet.

Fire Test

Cellulose is considered fire resistant, even though it is technically made up of paper.  It is treated with a mixture of ammonium sulfate and borat acid to give it a class 1 fire safety rating, which is the highest safety rating

Fiberglass is fire proof because glass and sand will not burn. However it can melt when exposed to extream temperatures but it will not burn.

Which one is the Best?

Both are great solutions to saving money on your utility bills. When it comes down to the laboratory test it looks like fiberglass insulation has more positives, than cellulose insulation.

Over all both fiberglass and cellulose insulation are great products to use as insulation for your home.  We would recommend fiberglass insulation because it will not burn or settle over time.  90% of all home builders in the US use fiberglass insulation. The other 10% use ICF’s and spray foam products.

If you want to be green and help save the environment at the same time then Cellulose is the way to go.   Note to homeowner…Cellulose can create dust when installing insulation in the attic.

 

 

2201 E. President George Bush Hwy
Plano, TX 75074 Suite 109
Phone: 972.743.5444
Website: http://AllTexConstruction.com
Email: info@AllTexConstruction.com