What are the benefits of residential insulation?
Residential insulation is not only good for heating bills, but it can also reduce noise pollution in the home.
A lot of old buildings were built with imperfections that not only make them less efficient at blocking outside sound, but even amplify it. This can be especially frustrating if you live close to a busy street or airport who's noise makes their way into your home. The use of insulation techniques can help neutralize some words which cause below average ratings on things like "peacefulness" and "tranquility" when assessing the neighborhood where people live in New York City - two characteristics that are desirable for most homeowners.
Insulation is one of the most affordable ways to increase the energy efficiency in your home, along with ceiling insulation. Insulating your roof can also help protect you against damage due to weathering - especially since it's usually the large volume inside a house that gets damaged during strong weather conditions like floods and heat waves. The presence of the noise insulation has less to do with sound proofing than it does with space. The most common type is fiberglass batt insulation that's installed in between studs in a wall. While there are also foam types, they're far more expensive and have been known to be made from materials that can outgas formaldehyde into your home. If you don't want to go with batt insulation, consider rigid foam board options - which is a little pricier but provides excellent protection against outside noise penetration since it forms a complete airtight barrier against sound waves
If you need some assistance figuring out what kind of noise insulation will fit in your budget best or how to install it, consider consulting with a professional contractor.
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How does residential insulation work?
It depends on the insulation. In the US, there are three primary types of insulation: Fiberglass insulation typically acts as a vapor barrier on one side, while Loose-fill cellulose acts as an air barrier on both sides.
Rigid foam acts as both an air barrier and a vapor barrier.
Fiberglass insulation typically does not act as an air or vapor barrier, but rather increases the R-value of the wall cavity by adding thermal resistance to each side of the wall, which is why it's important to install fiberglass insulation with exterior soffit and interior vapor barriers to protect the insulation from the air.
Cellulose acts as an air barrier on one side, but not a vapor barrier. It's important to install cellulose tightly within the cavity so no air can pass through it, otherwise it will act more like fiberglass. Loose-fill cellulose requires specialized equipment for installation that makes it more expensive than fiberglass.
Rigid foam acts as both an air barrier and a vapor barrier. There are two types of rigid foam insulation: extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS). XPS is used for applications needing extreme durability, while EPS is cheaper but less durable because it can be easily damaged by heat.
Inverterboard is typically used for cavities and can come in four different varieties:
-Fiberglass batt type
-Rock wool tongue & groove type
-Cellulose loose fill type
-High density fiberglass scratch coat fleece type
For each variety of material below, the R values per inch is given at various U factors (a measure of thermal resistance). There may be other measures such as f value or λ value which can also help determine levels of insulation.
Material R-value/inch U-factor
Fiberglass batt type
-Loose fill 0.33, 0.40, 0.50, 0.60, 0.70, 1.00 3.5 - 4 for different grades
Rockwool tongue & groove type
-Loose fill 0.33, 0.40, 0.50, 0.60, 1.00 3 for different grades
Cellulose loose fill type
-Loose fill varies to around R3 2.5 - 3+ (varies by grade)
High Density fiberglass scratch coat fleece type
-Loose fill 1.13 to 1.33 U factor: 2.1
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