The Importance of Residential Insulation
Abnormal high energy bills are caused by improper insulation for any residence. The leakage of air during extreme climate changes makes it hard for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to work at an optimal level.
Places That Need Spray Foam Insulation
Knowing where spray foam insulation should be installed is one of the important steps in home improvement. You must always get the most benefits out of all your investments, including residential insulation.
- The Ceiling Of An Attic
Since the attic is known to be the first place that will be exposed to heat and rain, it needs to be properly sealed to avoid these from entering the residence. This is very important to help avoid moisture from entering and giving molds the chance to form and multiply. Spray foam insulation is known to have characteristics to be very effective in preventing water and air leaks.
- The Walls Of The Basement
Some people may not know that basement insulation is very crucial in decreasing energy bills and improving air quality. Hot air naturally rises from the basement to areas of the house with lower temperature. This would mean that if hot air entered the basement from outside the house, the air would eventually find its way into your living room and other areas of the house. In addition, moisture can also come from the water that has seeped into the ground just outside the basement walls. To avoid this from entering the basement and forming molds, the walls need to be sealed from all the possible small cracks and holes that cannot be easily seen by the naked eye.
- The Walls Of The Rooms
To prevent air and water from leaking into the rooms of the house, it will be wise to have their walls insulated. One of the benefits of this is to help HVAC systems to run efficiently. Also, spray foam insulation is known to be able to block sound, depending on the type of spray foam material used. This would be great for those who wish to relax since most of the noise coming from outside the house will be greatly reduced.
There are multiple benefits for using spray foam to insulate the crawl spaces of any residence. It is a given that insulating these areas would help air from flowing freely through the crawlspaces to reduce energy bills and prevent water from leaking into them to avoid the formation of molds. However, people should also consider that crawl spaces usually contain the wires that are being used to power certain electrical components. Improper insulation of crawl spaces may lead to water entering these areas that may pose a possible threat to these wires. By completely sealing the crawl spaces from any water leaks, the possibility of fire hazards can be avoided.
You should get in touch with a contractor that is an expert with spray foam insulation. Your place can be thoroughly inspected to see which areas need to be focused on.
Different Types Of Spray Foam Insulation
By considering the living conditions and the health of your family, it is highly recommended that you look into having your residence checked for proper insulation. There may be a possibility that insulation has already been pre-installed when you purchased your property. However, it must be checked to see if it is doing its job and if the type of insulation material used is the appropriate type used in certain areas of the residence.
Even with spray foam insulation, it has its own types that should be used in respective areas of the house to benefit from their unique characteristics. Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is composed of isocyanate and resin. These chemicals are mixed to form the spray foam material. However, there are differences between its types.
Closed Cell Spray Foam
This is a type of spray foam insulation that can be used for both internal and external installation. It has a closed cell composition which creates a rigid and firm material. This ensures that moisture cannot penetrate through the foam material. Also, it can reduce the penetration of sound. This helps reduce noise from entering the rooms that have been installed with this type of spray foam material. It is also denser, which makes it durable enough to last for a longer period of time. With its composition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has indicated that the foam material is more effective at resisting floods. This makes closed spray foam insulation one of the best types of insulation for residences located in areas that are exposed to extreme climate changes. Another important characteristic of closed cell spray foam insulation is its high R-value rating. R-value is used to measure the ability of any insulation material to resist conductive heat flow. Closed cell spray foam insulation usually has R-value rating between 6.0 and 7.0 per inch.
Open Cell Spray Foam
The main benefit that this type of spray foam material has is its ability to expand more, about 100 times, as compared to closed cell spray foam material. This makes it possible to apply the material on surfaces that have bigger areas. Even though it has an open cell composition, when it comes to the prevention of noise from entering the house, it still offers good resistance to noise. For its thermal resistance capability, its R-value rating is between 3.6 and 3.8 per inch. This makes it better to be used for internal applications. It also costs less than closed cell spray foam.
What Works Best Where
Open cell foam is best suited for application in residential structures especially above grade in roof lines, exterior walls, and attic floors. It is also great for areas that need an effective sound dampener. Closed cell foam works incredibly well below grade in basements and crawl spaces. It is also commonly used in commercial and industrial projects, in exterior applications and for insulating metal buildings and pole barns.
Areas To Use Each Type
You may have heard that open cell spray foam is best used for residential properties. However, there are instances where you may actually need to have closed cell spray foam to be installed in your house. This is why it is highly advised that you get in touch with a spray foam insulation installer so that your property will be evaluated. Applying the wrong type of insulation will be more costly as it might not be able to properly fulfill what it is supposed to do for your property.
Challenges When Using Other Types Of Insulation
There are various materials that may be used to insulate your residence. However, each of these materials has its disadvantages which you must be familiar with. Some of these insulation materials and challenges include:
- Fiberglass batt or roll
Even though water cannot penetrate into the fiberglass material, the issue this type of insulation material has is that it uses paper for its backing material. Paper is known to be a good food source for molds. The paper backing can hold moisture which will eventually stimulate the growth of molds.
This maybe great when placed on large surface areas, however, it may not be able to effectively seal fine cracks and holes where moisture and air can freely pass through.
- Cellulose loose-fill and blown-in insulation
This is not a good solution for areas that are regularly exposed to moisture. Since the product is usually made of small-sized paper material, this can become a nest for molds. This would pose a health hazard as the molds spread and grow.
- Expanded polystyrene foam board
This may be one of the more durable types of insulation material. However, the issue with its composition is the fact that it has air bubbles. This can easily absorb moisture that would make it a good place for molds to live in.
Benefits of Residential Spray Foam Insulation
Cost may be one of the determining factors that people use as the basis for their type of insulation material, however, they must also understand that the benefits that can be given by spray foam insulation will make the investment worth it. The following benefits one can gain from their investment with spray foam insulation include:
- It will help HVAC systems to run optimally, which would result in efficient use of energy.
- It has the ability to enter areas that are hard to reach. By using a spray for its application, the installer will be able to apply the product to areas that cannot be physically reached by a person.
- Before the foam expands and hardens, it is able to plug cracks and holes of different sizes. Even the smallest crack can be a way for air and water to flow through. Spray foam insulation ensures that these will be sealed completely.
- After the spray foam insulation material has hardened, it does not degrade in quality over time. With its high durability, it will take quite some force to break the hardened foam material. It will not break by itself without strong pressure from external forces.
- Even though it is composed of chemicals, the product is not a health hazard once it has already completely hardened. It may be toxic during the application process since there is a risk for the product to be inhaled. However, its final form does not release any dangerous fumes.