Archive for December, 2010

Are you familiar with a product called reflective insulation? It is also known as reflective foil or radiant barrier to some people. Have you wondered how this product works? It’s actually not new to the market, although not yet widely adopted by homebuilding companies across the nation. It’s primarily concentrated in hotter parts of the country like Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.

Reflective insulation isn’t only for new homes. It’s actually one of the easiest home improvement or retrofit projects that can be done to an existing home. A bonus is that installing reflective insulation in an existing home will cause little or no disruption to the family living within the home at the time.

For many other improvement projects, the family living in the home might experience a disruption in their everyday lives were they to retrofit any area of their home. In some cases, improvement projects even open up other unexpected issues when it comes to code and new standards. Fortunately, reflective insulation isn’t affected by any of that.

Your home may already have traditional or mass insulation up in the attic. Typically known as “the pink stuff,” much of the mass insulation in homes today is made from fiberglass and exists in long sheets of batting or perhaps loose fill. When placed between the joists in your attic’s floor, mass insulation slows down the transfer of heat from your home’s interior up through the attic and into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, slowing down this process does not limit it all together. Once mass insulation absorbs all it can, it emits the excess heat. In this manner, your HVAC system may be constantly working to make up the difference lost through the roof.

Reflective insulation is a thin, lightweight product made of 99% aluminum and a polyester scrim inner core. While very easily cut, the product is difficult to tear, which makes it easy to handle and install with a simple box cutting knife.

Reflective insulation may be laid on top of traditional insulation across the floor joists. Spaces between the layers are fine, and in fact may be necessary to prevent excessive condensation from building up. When placed on the roof rafters, reflective insulation also works in the summer to keep the sun’s hot rays from penetrating into the home through the attic. Your HVAC works less and the temperatures of your home stay more consistent.

Overall, the effect should greatly lessen the amount of radiant heat lost into the atmosphere through your attic. Your HVAC system will work less hard, saving you money and wear and tear on an expensive home appliance.

Re-insulation is a term often used to describe the process of increasing the level of insulation in a home or building.  Re-insulation is a way to save money on existing buildings by improving the existing insulation value, which may have been top-of-class at time of construction years prior.  The first requirements were developed in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and many advancements have been made since then.  It’s like a retrofit, and insulation contractors, roofing contractors, or HVAC specialists are all good places to start looking.

  • Consider these statistics, based on US Department of Energy reports and Claritas studies:
  • Over 80 million homes are estimated to be under insulated in the USA today.
  • Buildings are the number one user of energy – more than industry and more than transportation.
  • Less than 1% of the re-insulation opportunity is estimated to be captured today.
  • Homeowners are willing to spend money on products and services that save them money.
  • Saving money and energy is on everyone’s mind these days, and attic insulation offers the best bang for your buck.

If you’re looking at improving the efficiency of your existing attic insulation and save money on your energy bills, you may want to look at a reflective foil product.  Particularly if traditional pink fiberglass batting doesn’t appeal to you (it’s kind of itchy, and can be irritating to lungs if breathed in), a good alternative may be reflective foil.

Attic insulation is meant to slow down or stop the flow of air from one space to another.  This is different than creating a vacuum, as some ventilation is necessary to avoid condensation when air temperatures change.  A professional, perhaps someone from your electric company or REC, can advise you as to whether additional attic insulation would all you to save money and add life to your HVAC system.

There are numerous ways to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Installing good quality aluminum insulation and new windows are great ways to keep air from getting into your home.

Maximizing energy efficiency is one of the biggest trends in new home building lately. There are a variety of ways to do this and they may not be as expensive as you might think. You can improve energy efficiency on virtually every decision you make, from appliances to light fixtures to choosing the right types of aluminum insulation. Being proactive about it while you build the house will equal huge savings when you finally live in it. These decisions can also positively affect your home’s value.

If the initial investment into energy efficient items in your home seems like a lot, check with your power company. Many electric companies offer credits and rebates for people making the switch to energy efficient items in their homes. Simply buying an energy efficient stove or refrigerator could put cash in your pocket in addition to the energy savings.

If you live in a climate with cold winters and hot summers, quality aluminum insulation is key to keeping things a comfortable temperature without losing a lot of hot or cool air, depending on the season. Use the insulation between floors to eliminate wintertime drafts. Invest in some high quality windows to prevent air from getting in or out. Some even come with a tint to keep the sun from beating in during those warm summer months.

While the important things for temperature control are windows and aluminum insulation, don’t underestimate your light fixtures when looking for ways to save. Always use the Energy Star rated CFL bulbs. They cost quite a bit more than a standard bulb, but can mean big savings. One bulb alone can save $40 in electricity over its lifetime. They use 75 percent less energy than a standard bulb and last up to ten times longer. Never underestimate the little things when trying to make your home use less energy.

Let’s face it. Mortgages are expensive. Homeowners insurance is expensive. That couch and 52″ flat screen TV? Both expensive items. Why don’t we look at the air we pay so much to heat (in the winter) and cool (in the summer) the same way? Why don’t we take the same care with protecting that investment?

Maybe the answer is because we can’t see it, smell it, or touch it. But the fact remains that most of us pay thousands each year in order to be comfortable when we eat, sleep, and live our lives. It’s time we took care of that, and radiant barrier perforated can be a place to start. That warm, toasty air that you’re enjoying is trying to escape right through your attic back outside. Traditional attic insulation can’t stop the air from escaping. Traditional mass insulation slows down heat by absorbing it; once the insulation has absorbed all it can hold, the heated air continues to rise and, well, is gone. That’s where radiant barrier perforated comes in.

When used in addition to traditional mass insulation, this lightweight, highly reflective and durable product will reflect heat right back into your living spaces. You’ll stay warmer but be able to turn the thermostat down! And in the summer you can stay cooler when you staple radiant barrier perforated up against the attic joists. Heated air from the outside will try to penetrate the attic through the roof but will be stopped cold by the radiant barrier and reflected back outside. The result is that your home will stay cooler without all that hot air making your HVAC system working harder. How’s that for protection?