Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

Home Insulation Basics: Choosing The Right Type

Ours is a climate of extreme heat, making home insulation a necessity for comfort and reasonable cooling bills. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that Yuma homes have 16 inches or an R-value of 38 in the attic for the best protection against the cold and heat. The R-value refers to the length of time that the insulation protects your home against heat transfer.

R-38 gives you 38 hours of protection from thermal transfer, equal to 16 inches of standard insulating materials. The two most common types for attic insulation include fiberglass blown-in or batts and blown-in cellulose.

Strengths and weaknesses of each include these factors:

  • Settling. When insulation compacts or settles, it loses some of its ability to insulate. Compacting lowers the amount of air space between the fibers, which is a big part of a material’s ability to prevent heat transfer. Cellulose may settle as much as 20 percent, while fiberglass batts or blown-in material settle just 2 percent or less when installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Fire safety. Cellulose insulation is primarily shredded recycled paper, a highly flammable material. Before packaging the material, the manufacturer coats it with fire retardants to lower the combustion hazard. Over time chemicals may degrade, which may create a fire hazard in your walls or attic. Fiberglass is made from spun glass, which melts, but seldom burns. Using bare fiberglass batts or blown-in provides more fire protection.
  • Water vapor retention. Fiberglass does not absorb moisture or humidity from the air or through direct contact. Paper fibers like cellulose absorb moisture readily.
  • Environmental responsibility. Both cellulose and fiberglass insulation use a lot of recycled materials in their manufacture. However, fiberglass does not require any chemical coatings to make it fire-, water- or bug-resistant, unlike cellulose.

If you would like to learn more about home insulation, contact Hansberger Refrigeration & Electric Company. We’ve provided quality HVAC services for Yuma and southwest Arizona since 1952.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about home insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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