Liquid insulation: Do you need it in your Texas home?
Insulation can help to keep the heat inside your house during the winter and keep it out during the summer months. And this can help to reduce the energy bills in your Texas home. According to Energy.gov, you should be insulating on several levels of your home.
In the attic, you should insulate unfinished attic spaces, between the studs and knee walls, between studs and rafters, and ceilings with cold areas overhead.
Next, you should insulate exterior walls – and this includes those walls between the living spaces and storage areas, unheated garages, and shed roofs – in addition to foundation walls.
Floor insulation is also important, and unheated garage and central crawl spaces should certainly be insulated, as should band joists.
Remember, saving energy means you could save on electricity bills. And while reducing usage is a major factor, so is your electricity rate. Go to the SaveOnEnergy.com marketplace and enter your ZIP code for help with the rate part of the equation.
Is liquid insulation right for your home?
There are a variety of insulation types. However, could liquid insulation be right for your home? “Liquid insulation is a reflective paint-like liquid that can be applied to the interior or exterior of a home or building to help improve comfort,” explains Julio Daniel Hernadez, CEO of EnLight.Energy in Austin, Texas, which provides home energy monitoring, energy efficiency upgrades and solar power production.
“We highly recommend it for any area that is currently uncomfortable where it is extremely hard or impossible to add traditional insulation,” Hernandez says. “Homeowners can expect the same level of comfort improvement that they would receive from upgrading their insulation.” And, he says it’s as easy to apply as two coats of paint.
One problem with traditional insulation is trying to apply it behind the walls of existing homes. No one likes going into walls because there’s no telling what may be behind them. Hernandez says that insulating paints are an alternative when traditional installation methods are not feasible. They help conserve energy, and reduce electric bills. In addition, insulating paints can dampen noise.
The jury appears to be out on the effectiveness of liquid insulation in the form of paint. According to a Bob Villa article, two studies show insulating paint did not provide much of a benefit over regular paint.
But another study found that Insuladd paint on a home’s exterior, when fully exposed to the sun, could reduce heat gain by 20%. However, there are other factors that must be taken into consideration as well. For example, the house must be facing the sun and the heat gain reduction identified in the study does not apply to interior walls.
Other types of insulation
Energy.gov provides information about several other types of insulation that homeowners can also consider.
Blanket Insulation, which are those large batts and rolls, is the most popular insulation type in the United States. Made of fiberglass, mineral wood, plastic fibers or natural fibers, blanket insulation is a DIY option that’s good for floors, ceilings and unfinished walls.
Foam board (known as rigid foam) is made of polystyrene, polyurethane, or polyisocyanurate. Although it’s not thick, it has an impressive insulating value. Foam board can be used on floors and ceilings, unfinished walls, and also low-slope roofs that don’t have a vent.
Blown-in and loose fill insulation is usually made of cellulose or fiberglass and it’s a good option for tight spaces. This is a popular option for unfinished attic floors.
Reflective (radiant) barriers are made of paper, plastic, carboard or other items that are then covered by aluminum foil. This type of insulation fares better in warmer climates, and is typically used in conjunction with other types of insulation. Reflective barriers can be used on floors, walls, and ceilings that are unfinished.
Spray foam insulation is made of polyurethane and is a good choice for filling wall cavities and in areas where obstructions are hard to navigate.
Terri Williams is a freelance journalist with bylines at The Economist, USA Today, Yahoo, the Houston Chronicle, and U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.