Welcome back my friends. Well, the rainy season has started, we’ve already broken a temperature record, and the thunderstorms are rolling in every afternoon. I believe it is safe to say that summer is nearly upon us.
The summer heat of course brings the happiness of escalating FPL bills. Did you know that on average your air conditioning system makes up approximately 65% of your electric bill? That means the $328 bill you got last August… $213 of that went just to cool your home. There are many factors that can impact how high or low your FPL bill can be. These include the age of your air conditioner, the condition of your duct system, the windows in your home, the amount of insulation in your attic, as well as other factors.
Today I want to focus on just the attic insulation. There are several different methods of insulating your attic, some of which are more effective than others. Our attention today will be on the batted styled (rolled) fiberglass insulation, cellulose blown in style (recycled newspaper), and un-bonded recycled fiberglass blown in style.
Let’s start with the cellulose style. Cellulose insulation is typically 75-85% recycled newspaper that has been ground up and treated with boric acid, as well as other chemicals, to provide it with fire retardant qualities. I don’t want to go all Mr. Wizard here, but the building and construction industry measures the effectiveness of an insulation product with “R-value”. Simply put, the R-value determines how well the insulation is going to do its job. The cellulose style of insulation has an R-value of 3.2 – 3.5 per inch which places it on the bottom in terms of effectiveness. While cellulose is the least expensive form of insulation, it does have a few disadvantages. Over time it will settle and lose its effectiveness. Dust is also another major issue when it comes to cellulose insulation, as you know from other articles, air from the attic gets pulled into your home in many ways, and as this type of insulation ages you can expect an increase in the dust in your home. Cellulose is also the heaviest of insulations in terms of weight which can over time cause some distress to certain structures.
Next up on the hit parade is the typical batted, rolled out fiberglass insulation you can find at any of your local home improvement stores. Again, this product offers some advantages as well as disadvantages. The R-value is slightly higher than the cellulose style at 3.6 – 3.8 per inch, and for the brave of heart that want to endure the 140-150 degree temperatures of a South Florida attic, batted insulation is something that most anyone can install. If you do choose to go the DIY route of insulating your attic, please be very careful and use lots of personal protection equipment. The fiberglass gets very itchy when it comes in contact with your skin and moving batted insulation around lets little microscopic particles into the air stream. One other disadvantage to rolled-out insulation to be aware of is that it can leave small gaps in between the trusses and other tight spaces in the attic.
Now for my favorite… the un-bonded recycled blown-in style of insulation. This is a featured product here at Art Plumbing & AC. We feature the Owens Corning brand and it really doesn’t have the downsides the other two types have. The R-value is a little less at 2.5 – 2.8 per inch so we have to use a little more to get to the desired R30-R49 levels. On a side note, insulation is as effective as it can be at R49 (18”) and 22” of insulation is not more effective than 18”. The Owens Corning product has a 100 year warranty, and will not settle or breakdown. It is fireproof, mold proof and water resistant.
The bottom line is, if you want to have better comfort levels in your home, and the big benefit of a minimum of a 20% reduction in the electricity your AC system consumes, adding insulation to your home is the way to go. Have your attic checked out today by one of our talented Comfort Consultants by visiting www.artplumbingandac.com or call 1-888-TELL-ART.
House Whisperer out…..
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