Proper home insulation can provide resistance to heat flow, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The more heat flow resistance your insulation has, the lower your heating and cooling costs will be.
Heat can flow in three different ways: conduction, convection and radiation. The most common insulation materials slow conductive heat flow and possibly convective heat flow as well.
There are numerous types of insulation available to protect against heat loss and keep your air conditioner from attempting to cool your home for long periods of time. Your choice of home insulation should be based on the following factors:
- If the home is already built versus it currently being built
- R-value you hope to achieve
- Whether you are adding or installing insulation
- Whether you are hiring a professional or installing it yourself.
Heat flow is measured in thermal resistance or R-value, meaning the higher the R-value, the better the insulation in your home.
Choosing a type of insulation to put in your home should be based on where you are planning on installing it and the recommended R-value areas you want to insulate.
There are numerous types of insulation materials that can be used in homes including:
- Blanket bats and rolls such as fiberglass and minerals
- Concrete block insulation
- Foam boards such as polystyrene
- Insulating concrete forms
- Loose-fill and blown-in such as cellulose
- Reflective system such as plastic
- Rigid or fibrous such as fiberglass
- Sprayed foam such as Polyurethane.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can reduce their bills between 10 and 50 percent by increasing the amount of thermal insulation. Saving money on these bills by implementing more insulation can also depend on other factors including your local climate, the structure, size and shape of your house as well as your family's living habits.