Insulation blowing involves the use of different materials that can be spread evenly throughout your attic to give your home more comfortable in extreme seasons. Here in Charlotte North Carolina, our hot and humid summers can have your A/C running all day long. Many homes are insulated and having proper insulation installed can drastically reduce your home energy expenses while giving you the comfort you’ve been looking for. There are 3 options for Blown-in Insulation all with their own performance values and varying costs. The 3 types of blown-in insulation are Cellulose Insulation, Fiberglass Insulation, and Rockwool Insulation. All of these products consist of tiny pieces of material that when blown into your attic provide a barrier that keeps your conditioned air in while keeping your uncontrolled attic air out. Let’s take a closer look at why we use blown-in insulation, the products, and why you may choose one over another.
1. Why use Blown-in Insulation?
Blown-in insulation in your attic has several advantages. Since it is a loose-fill product that is spread using a hose that blows it out with compressed air, it is able to fill and settle into small gaps and spaces that air can pass through that might otherwise be missed. Also, with the great coverage and the density of the insulation you get the added benefit of noise reduction from outside to inside. In addition, blown-in insulation gives you options to choose your desired R-value according to where you live and to fit your budget.
R-Value (thermal resistance) is a measurement of how well a material resists heat flow. The higher the R-value number the better, and the depth of insulation applied will add to the overall R-value( ex. Cellulose insulation has an average R-value number of 3.5 per inch of thickness. So 10 inches of insulation will give your attic an R-value of 35). Where you live will also have an effect on your suggested R-value. The colder the climate the more depth of insulation you will need.
2. Three Types of Insulation
There are three main types of blown-in insulation, Cellulose, Fiberglass, and Rock wool. All three products have varying R-values and their own pros and cons. Which product you use will depend on your project needs and budget. Here is a breakdown of each product and when you may choose one over the other.
- Cellulose Insulation: Cellulose insulation is an eco-friendly product made from recycled cardboard or newspaper that is chemically treated to resist mold, pests, and fire. Borates( a natural mineral typically used as an ingredient in antiseptics, insecticides, and flame retardants) are added to the shredded paper to give the cellulose all these great qualities. This material also has the highest R-value of the three at an average of around 3.5-3.7; giving you the best thermal properties. One downside to cellulose is that if it gets wet through a roof leak it will compact and lose some R-value, but that can easily be fixed by just adding an extra layer once the leak is fixed and the insulation has dried. Cellulose also poses less inhalation hazard than fiberglass making it a safe and healthy option for your home attic.
- Fiberglass Insulation: Fiberglass is made by heating glass to a liquid and then spinning it into a thin fiber. This material is lightweight and inexpensive but falls short in performance value. With an R-value average of only 2.5, it comes in at the bottom of this list. However, because it is so light, it has great coverage in tight spots and can be a great addition to existing insulation that has lost R-value through years of compaction.
- Rock wool Insulation: Also known as “Mineral wool”, Rock wool insulation is made from furnace slag from the iron firing process. The slag is heated and spun together with other materials to create a wool-like product. Rock wool has the second-highest R-value at an average of around 3.3. Rock wool comes in at the most expensive but performs well for certain applications. This material has the highest fire resistance and sound-dampening qualities and is best suited for areas with stricter fire codes such as between house walls and garages, or garage ceilings above garage-finished rooms.
Properly installed Blown-in Insulation in your attic can be a great way to cut down on your home energy costs and extend the life of your HVAC by cutting down or eliminating airflow from your conditioned spaces to your attic, and maintaining temperatures so that your equipment runs less. Here in Charlotte North Carolina, we recommend a RE-value average of 49 to maintain the most comfort in your home. Whether you need a full attic remodel with existing insulation removal, air sealing, and new insulation; or just a top-off on your old insulation, insulating your attic is a great way to invest in your home. Contact us at Home Shield Insulating so we can proudly help with your next home energy-saving project!