Like many homeowners, you might resort to implementing one or more common energy saving tips to chip away at your energy costs. Things like installing energy-efficient appliances, buying a programmable thermostat, or using compact fluorescent light bulbs.
While all these measures are good and will certainly help you whittle down your utility bills, there’s one measure that outshines all the others: stopping air leakage in your home.
Air leakage, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is the biggest thief of your energy dollars. DOE studies show that up to 40% of a home’s energy is lost because of air leaks in your home.
In order to take a sizeable bite out of your energy bills, you need to plug the gaps, holes, and air leaks in your home. The best way to do this is with spray foam insulation.
Spray Foam Insulation versus Fiberglass Insulation
It’s estimated that 85% of American homes are insulated with fiberglass insulation. Fiberglass contains billions of tiny glass fibers that trap bubbles of air. These air bubbles slow the transfer of heat or cool air.
One of many problems with fiberglass is that while it slows the transfer of heat or cool air, it cannot stop air from passing through it. That means more than 30% of heat or cool air can escape.
Spray foam contains a polymer, such as polyurethane, and a foaming agent. Once sprayed, it expands many times its original volume and hardens into a solid.
This enables it to fill all spaces so air cannot escape. It creates an impenetrable air barrier. The result: greater energy savings.
What about R-Value?
Spray foam also has a higher R-value than fiberglass insulation. This makes it significantly more energy efficient than fiberglass.
An insulation’s R-value is simply its resistance to heat flow. A higher R-value prevents more heat from escaping through the insulation.
It’s best to attain an R-value in your home of 38 or more with your insulation. The fiberglass insulation R-value is roughly 2.2 per inch, while the spray foam insulation R-value is about 6 per inch (or nearly 3 times as much). Obviously, you would need considerably more fiberglass insulation to reach an R-value of 38 than with spray foam insulation.
The R-value of fiberglass insulation – even a high R-value – can be misleading, however, when compared to the spray foam insulation R-value. R-value only measures how well the insulation resists heat movement through the material (called conductive heat flow). It fails to take into account how well the material stops heat movement.
So without sealing air in, you’re still going to lose a lot of heated or cooled air with fiberglass. You’ll see only a slight reduction in your energy bills.
Spray Foam Savings Are Long-Term
Fiberglass insulation costs less than spray foam insulation. But remember – fiberglass doesn’t stop heat movement and it eventually loses its R-value.
Spray foam, however, lasts a lifetime and can be applied in all the nooks and crannies that fiberglass can’t fill. With its higher energy efficiency and lower energy bills, you may recoup your spray foam investment in as little time as 1 to 2 years. Of course, this depends on the amount of air leakage you have and the amount of spray foam applied.
Spray foam also has many other advantages. It stops moisture infiltration, adds strength to the building structure, and it keeps out dust and pollen.
More Money-Saving Tips
Perhaps you’re thinking of investing in a high-efficiency furnace or air conditioner to cut your utility bills. That’s good. But you should first upgrade your insulation to spray foam. If not, much of the heat or cool air your new furnace or AC unit produces will simply escape from your house. And that’s bad.
Once you install the spray foam and then add a high-efficiency heater and/or AC, the spray foam will also reduce capacity requirements, maintenance, and wear of your equipment. That means even more money in your pocket.
Yet another way you can save big – install the spray foam yourself by ordering a spray foam insulation kit. Foam Kit Solutions makes it easy. They provide all the spray foam equipment you need.
And to make certain you understand how to safely and correctly use the foam insulation kits, they review all the instructions with you step-by-step.