You probably have heard that home insulation is one of the best ways to make your house more energy-efficient. But have you ever wondered how it works and how it can help your home?
Insulation helps your home by letting you stay comfortable while effectively reducing energy consumption. It slows down heat movement, making it easier for your heating and cooling systems to manage the temperature. It’s also an eco-friendly solution that helps you reduce your carbon emissions.
We’ll go through everything that you need to know about home insulation in great detail. Stick around because you’ll also learn how it works and how you can use basic insulation techniques to make your home a smidge more energy-efficient.
How Insulation Works?
The best way to explain how insulation works and how it can help your home is to learn how heat works and how it moves through materials. Three mechanisms are involved in the movement of heat:
- Conduction: it’s how heat transfers through materials and why metal heats faster than other construction materials.
- Convection: it’s how heat circulates throughout your home, causing warm air to rise and cold air to sink.
- Radiation: it’s how heat can warm up any solid object within a straight path, as long as it absorbs energy.
If you’re going to use insulation for your home, you need to use less conductive materials. These materials can effectively slow down the flow of conductive and convective heat. You may also want to consider a material that can slow down radiative heat from entering your house. All of these can contribute to your need for constant cooling and heating just to keep your home comfortable throughout the year.
During the summer, warm air passes through the ceiling, walls, floors, garage, and basement. It continuously circulates throughout your home and mixes with cooler air until there is no difference between the temperature outside and in your home. When winter comes, cold air passes through the same parts of your house and mixes with warm air until there’s no difference, forcing your heating system to work harder.
Both of these scenarios force your cooling and heating systems to consume more energy to provide a comfortable living space for you. Proper insulation can slow down the circulation and transfer of heat from one object to another. In turn, this makes your home more resistant to the outside temperature, making it more comfortable for you and your family.
Advantages of Home Insulation
There are several reasons why you need proper insulation for your home, but below are the most significant advantages that you can get from it.
Summer and winter are two extreme seasons where you’ll need to keep you and your family comfortable. If you have proper home insulation, you don’t have to settle for very hot or very cold temperatures.
You won’t even need to continuously crank up your heating or cooling systems just to manage the temperature. Slower movement of heat throughout your house means that you’re getting better comfort.
Less Energy Consumption
Several factors affect your energy consumption to keep everyone in your home comfortable — we’ll discuss all of these factors later. But generally speaking, your house wastes a lot of energy if it’s not properly insulated. Although insulating your home will cost more upfront, it will pay for itself with the money you save from your energy consumption throughout the year.
Insulation helps so much with reducing energy consumption, that it is the most important step in passive design, where the aim is to reduce the amount of energy consumption to the bare minimum, and in net-zero design, where the aim is to create buildings that do not create any additional emissions in the environment. If you would like to learn a bit more about passive design, be sure to check our article “Why is Passive Design Important?“
Fewer Carbon Emissions
Since you’re using less energy to heat or cool your house, you’re also producing fewer carbon emissions. These households’ reductions may not amount to a lot, but homeowners’ collective effort can significantly impact the environment. Not to mention the eco-friendly processes that many insulation types go through.
If you would like to know a bit more about how insulation helps in creating sustainable buildings, you can check our article “What Are the Features of a Sustainable House?“.
Better Sound Proofing
Sound-proofing may not be a reason why you want to insulate your house, but it’s an indirect benefit that you can get from it. A properly insulated house helps with sound absorption, making it less likely for sounds to bounce off the wall. Aside from being a more comfortable place during summer and winter, insulation also makes your house a quieter place to live.
Higher Resale Value
Reselling your house may not be something that you’re thinking about when you build one. When insulating your home, your goal is to consume less energy and make it more comfortable for you and your family.
But if you decide, for whatever reason, to sell it, a properly insulated house will always have a much higher value and sell faster than one that doesn’t have insulation.
How Insulation Helps in Reducing Energy Consumption
Reducing energy consumption by proper insulation is simple; it allows you to stay comfortable even without using too much cooling and heating systems. But the question is, how?
- It helps in keeping warm air inside during winter. If you’re using a heating system, it’ll run until it reaches your desired indoor temperature. But without proper insulation, cold air can quickly enter your living room, while warm air can move out through your roof. In turn, it forces your heater to work harder just to maintain your desired temperature, consuming more energy than what is necessary. The more insulation you add, the less heating you will need. In mild climates and with a good passive design, heating systems are not necessary.
- It helps in preventing heat transfer during summer. Your AC unit will produce cold air to balance out the ambient temperature. But if you don’t have proper insulation, the outside heat will transfer through your roof and circulate until there’s no difference in the temperature. It forces your cooling system to work harder just to keep you comfortable during summer, again consuming more energy than what is necessary. As with heating systems, AC units are not required in climates with mild summers if insulation and passive design are in place.
- It seals air leaks in your house, requiring less energy to stay comfortable. The more air leaks your house has, the harder it’ll be for your HVAC to regulate temperature. Even if it does, you’re losing heat or cold faster if you don’t have proper home insulation.
Tips for Better Insulation
Full home insulation can be costly, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t start insulating it yourself. In fact, there are some things that you can do to insulate your house without going out of budget. They won’t achieve the same benefits that a full insulated house will, but they will be better than nothing.
Here are some tips that can help you make your home more energy-efficient:
- Add new layers of insulation on windows and doors. You can install plastic sheeting on your door and window using double-sided tape and a hairdryer. This project won’t cost a lot, and you can do it in one day, but it can help increase your home insulation.
- Swap out your curtains and use a heavier fabric. Cold air sinks so it’ll pass through the windows into your home. Although it’ll make your house a bit darker because the sunlight can’t pass through, it’s still an effective way to restrict the movement of cold air.
- Seal your doorways to prevent air exchange. Doors always have a gap underneath that serves as a doorway for air exchange. If you’re trying to cool a small room, it’ll require more energy because cold air can pass through it. It creates a circulation of warm and cold air that makes it harder for your AC unit to lower the temperature. Please be careful with this solution because some doors required that ventilation under your door to function properly and to provide enough ventilation throughout the house.
Insulation has a lot of benefits for your home, and the long-term value that it provides makes it a smart move to have one. Aside from using less energy for your cooling and heating systems, it also helps you reduce your carbon emissions.
On top of all this, you don’t have to worry about weather changes because a properly insulated house can help keep you and your family comfortable throughout the year. You won’t have to settle with living spaces that get too hot during summer and too cold during winter.