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Friday, May 22, 2015

Is insulation really necessary?

Whether you live in a hot or a cold climate, insulating your home can be one of the most significant measures to take in saving on energy costs. Being in the South Florida area, this really matters during the hot summer months. When your air conditioning system is battling the heat of the day, it will run longer than it should and cycle faster. All this means more electricity used, driving up your power bill. Since heat is basically invisible, it is often neglected as an influence in the performance of an air conditioning system. The problem is usually found after the equipment has been checked meticulously, and the heat problem persists. This is understandable since it can be costly to add insulation to a home. Verifying that the unit is operating perfectly first is the responsible way to go.

The Harvard School of Public Health declares that over 46 million homes across the country are under-insulated. This means that untold millions of dollars are being wasted away through the windows, walls and ceilings of many homes. Insulation also allows the air conditioning system to attain it's operating efficiency, saving you money. A 16 SEER system may perform like a 13 SEER system if the home has insufficient insulation. Again, this will show up as an increase in energy usage.

All in all, we believe the attic and windows are a prime place to start. This is assuming you have addressed any issues with air escaping or entering the home through cracks, crevases and spaces between windows and under doors. Having the heat of the day infiltrate the home through the attic and windows can make an air conditioning system never cool the home to the temperature set on the thermostat. The system will cool fine at night, but in the middle of the day it will not be able to keep up with the heat entering the home. If this is happening to you, you may need insulation added to or installed in your attic. Tinting your windows or locating trees and bushes by exterior windows can make a significant difference as well. Not to mention, the older slatted or Jalousie windows must be changed based on the fact that they may never completely seal the home off from the outside air.

Jalousie Windows
Slatted Windows

One way to determine if your home needs insulating is to have a professional asses your home. A thorough inspection along with a "Heat Load Calculation" is essential for determining if your air conditioning system is the right size, and how much heat is infiltrating your home. Some of the different types of insulation used are:

  • Blanket: Batt and Roll Insulation

  • Concrete Block Insulation

  • Foam Board or Rigid Foam

  • Insulating Concrete Forms

  • Loose-Fill and Blown-In Insulation

If you have any questions or concerns about the insulation in your home, call us at (305) 254-8330.