Insulation Basics for Your Hampton Roads, VA Home
In places with extreme weather conditions like Hampton Roads, VA, having the proper insulation materials in your building is essential to the energy efficiency of that building. It almost does not matter what kind of HVAC system you have in an environment like this. If your installation is not up to par, then the most powerful HVAC system that you can buy will not be able to stop the heat transfer from your building into the outside environment.
Put bluntly, this means that there will be no difference between the climate outside and the climate inside. The living conditions inside of your building will be subject to the whims of the environment.
Any building owner in the Hampton Roads, VA area must be brought up to speed on the basics of insulation. Below are some of the basic things that every homeowner should know about insulation, and how insulation can affect your energy efficiency and the performance of your HVAC system.
The Advantages to Proper Insulation
Before we touch any of the more technical aspects of insulation, here are just a few of the advantages that good insulation can bring to your Hampton Roads building.
1. Proper insulation will save you a great deal of money on HVAC system repairs and replacements.
Proper insulation preserves the energy efficiency of an air-conditioning system by maintaining the climate inside of a building. If your HVAC system does not have to work as hard to maintain the temperature inside your building, it will last longer. The less energy that your air conditioning system users to modify the temperature, the less pressure is placed on the compressor, the fan and the other fragile parts of the unit. This means less visits from technicians and literally tens of thousands of dollars more in the bank for your family or your business per year.
2. Proper insulation increases the health of those inside of a building.
As your air conditioner filters the outside air for bacteria and pollen agents, insulation will make sure that these deleterious contaminants do not enter your living space through other methods. Properly used, insulation will cover the small holes and cracks in a building foundation through which contaminants can leak.
How to Choose the Right Insulation
In order to choose the right insulation with the highest potential for energy efficiency, there are two steps. First you must familiarize yourself with the different types of insulation. You must then become familiar with the rating scale that is used for insulation.
One – The four main types of insulation
To maximize your energy efficiency and lower your heating costs, you need the right mix of flexible and rigid insulation. Rigid insulation is more powerful and more cost effective because it can be bought in bulk. Flexible insulation is meant to cover those holes that rigid insulation cannot conform to. Flexible insulation is especially important if you have a multilevel building with attics or cathedral ceilings.
The four main types of insulation are rigid foam, foam in place, rolls and batts and loose fill.
Rigid foam and foam in place insulation are the less flexible types of materials. These can be used to insulate flat surfaces like walls, floors and ceilings. Rolls and batts and loose fill can be used to fill up any remaining holes around windows, doors, in crawlspaces, etc. In order to most effectively determine where these leaks may be coming from, invest in a home energy audit. Virginia may still offer some free home energy audits from the utility board.
Two – The insulation rating system
Insulation comes with a rating system known as the R Value or the R Rating system. This system is backed by the Federal Trade Commission and serves as protection for consumers from disreputable retailers and a standard by which building owners can determine the most cost-effective solutions for themselves.
The R Rating literally measures the resistance to heat flow that a particular material has. Contrary to popular belief, this means that insulation does not need to be changed to the summer or winter months. Since the R Rating does not measure the ability of insulation to gather and stabilize heat, but rather to resist heat flow, building owners do not have to worry about getting less insulation for the summer or more in the winter.
Since the weather in Hampton Roads is known to be extreme, building owners will most likely need insulation with relatively high R Ratings in order to have a building that is energy efficient. However, this will save money in the long run because of the repairs and replacements that can be foregone.