Challenging 5 Myths About Home Insulation
For a better understanding, we’re dispelling five common myths that can change the way you view home insulation, for good.
Home insulation offers many advantages—better
comfort, more savings, improved quality of
indoor air, and even lower carbon footprint. As
someone who wants to provide all these benefits
to the family, you may be wondering whether some
of the information about home insulation is more
fantasy than fact. The truth is that some of the
things people believe about insulation are
either completely false or fail to give you the
To help homeowners gain more clarity on the subject, we’re dispelling five common myths that can change the way you view home insulation for good.
Myth 1: More Is Always Better
For a home to be comfortable as well as
energy-efficient, it’s important to take the
entire house into consideration. Remember that
insulation is not designed with the purpose to
stop air leaks, which is a common cause of
uneven temperature in many homes. Even if your
home is padded with 4-inch insulation batts but
is losing much of heated or cooled air to
leakage, you’re pushing your HVAC system to work
harder than it should.
But it doesn’t stop there. Appliances and lighting fixtures can also affect indoor air temperature. So while insulation is indeed crucial for home comfort, you should also take a look at other opportunities to control airflow and temp.
Myth 2: You Only Need to Insulate the Attic
The attic is the most popular place to add housing insulation, saving you up to 40 percent off your heating bill when done properly. But if your goal is to invest in a truly energy-efficient home, adding insulation in other areas will help control heat transfer even better.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you should also insulate:
- ● Crawlspaces
- ● Band joists
- ● Floors that are above an unheated or uncooled room, such as the garage or basement
- ● Walls (exterior and interior)
- ● The duct system
- ● Basements
- ● Foundations
The listed areas are only suggestions. Not everyone will need to have these areas insulated or have the budget to do so. As such, it’s important to assess your family’s lifestyle and the layout of your home to determine which areas can benefit the most from insulation.
Myth 3: The Type of Insulation Doesn’t Matter
This is one myth that can lead to several
problems if not scrutinized. Different
insulating products have different “R-values,”
which is used to grade how well a type of
insulation can prevent heat from leaving or
entering through the barrier. The higher the
R-value of a particular type of insulation, the
more resistant it is to heat transfer.
Not paying attention to the R-value can lead to some rooms becoming hotter or colder than you desire. Rooms that are less prone to temperature fluctuations, for instance, may not benefit from a high R-value since there is lesser heat transfer in the first place.
Another related myth is “always go for the highest R-value you can afford.” This can lead to unnecessary expense and even more discomfort, so don’t be tricked by the numbers. Choosing the right insulation should mainly depend on two things: the climate zone where your home is and the area of the home where the insulation will be added to.
You can find helpful insights from the DOE on choosing the right insulation so your home is more comfortable all year round.
Myth 4: It’s Expensive
A common hurdle many homeowners have when considering insulation is the cost of installation. There are different types of insulation, all of which differ in their price, use, benefits, and drawbacks. If your budget is tight, you can skip the expensive sheep’s wool insulation and opt for low-cost types.
Affordable options for insulating your home include the following:
- ● Fiberglass batts - Fiberglass is one of the most commonly used insulating material due to its lightweight yet strong composition. Aside from their affordability, they’re also easy to install. Combining the use of fiberglass batts with a DIY installation, you can enjoy BIG savings.
- ● Radiant barriers - They are mainly used to reflect radiant heat from the sun. While not always marketed as a type of insulation material, some radiant barriers are incorporated into insulation products, which make them highly effective when utilized as a part of a larger temperature regulation system.
Many private companies and electricity providers also offer cash grants and other incentives for people to invest in energy-efficient homes. Some even have financing programs to help you switch to energy-saving upgrades such as solar panels. Another tip that can save you a lot of money is to install the insulation yourself. If there aren’t a lot of awkward and difficult-to-reach spaces, a DIY installation can be a practical choice.
Myth 5: Insulation Doesn’t Last Long
All types of insulation are subject to
conditions that can reduce their lifespan —
weather, outside interference, construction
problems, pest problems, humidity, and so on.
So, over time, insulation can wear down, but it
simply isn’t true that it doesn’t last long.
Insulating materials are designed to last for
decades, with signs of degradation often
appearing no earlier than the first 10 years.
Fiberglass batts, for instance, can last 80 to
100 years if not disturbed or damaged.
As long as your home doesn’t suffer severe damage from a storm, have frequent moisture issues, water leaks, and pests problems, it’s safe to say that you won’t have to worry about replacing your insulation anytime soon.
Your home can be as energy-efficient as you want it to be. And to achieve that, you’ll need good insulation, as well as accurate information. Speaking to a knowledgeable and experienced installer can help you identify the facts from the myths. You can also have your home inspected by an energy auditor to find more opportunities to reduce utility bills and keep your home cozy all year round.