Energy costs often spike in the winter because of the increased need for heating. Replacing your home's exterior insulation is a great way to keep your living space warmer and reduce your energy consumption.
There is more than one type of insulation, and each has its own set of benefits and setbacks. Common options are loose-fill cellulose, sprayed foam and fiberglass batts, according to Home Guides. Loose-fill cellulose doesn't require removing your interior wall's entire sheathing and is more soundproof than fiberglass. It also uses more recycled materials than other options, but if not installed correctly it performs its basic task of insulating heat poorly. Sprayed foam doesn't require removing interior wall sheathing either, but often requires professional installation. Fiberglass is the easiest to install and also the most cost-effective option of the three. This type of insulation does require, however, the complete removal of interior wall sheathing. You may want to consult with a professional before deciding which insulation type best suits your needs.
According to the Department of Energy, R-Value is a measure of an insulation's thermal resistance where the higher the R-Value, the greater the material's insulating power. The R-Value is determined by the material's makeup, thickness and density. R-Value is an important factor to consider as it determines the effectiveness of a material in keeping heat in -- or out -- of your home. Be aware of the R-value of your insulation choice and adjust according to how extreme weather conditions are in your area. The Department of Energy offers resources that help in determining this.
Loose-fill insulation requires removal of the old insulation and the bottom portion of wall sheathing, and fiberglass requires removal of the entire wall sheathing. Home Guides simply recommends using a utility knife, drywall saw or reciprocating saw, a pry bar and your hands for this task, but also warns to watch for wires and pipes while doing so. You can also use a vacuum to pull the insulation out of the wall. Be sure to follow safety best practices when stripping old insulation to avoid health risks. Wear gloves, long sleeves and a face mask to reduce exposure.
If you opt for sprayed foam insulation, you'll want to call a professional for installation. Loose-fill must be installed into small holes drilled in your wall's stud cavity using a machine you can rent from a hardware store. Fiberglass must be cut to size and inserted between the wooden studs of your wall. Fiberglass is of course the easiest to install, as you can simply staple it to your wall's framing. It also doesn't require a vapor barrier like the other two types. A vapor barrier stops your insulation from getting soggy with condensation and reduces the likelihood of molding and decay.
Not only does insulation keep the heat in during cold months, it keeps the heat out during hot months. Undertaking this project is a good idea for a long term investment in your home. If you're curious about financing the replacement of your exterior insulation, contact Aqua Finance for resources and a quote.