Which type of insulation is right for your home?

(BPT) - With the imminent approach of dropping temperatures, many people reach for their sweaters as they run out the door. In a bittersweet farewell to summer, boats are hauled out of the water and taken in to be winterized. Wool sock purchases start to soar, and Instagram is filled again with pumpkin spice latte images. And, don't forget those pet owners who dress their dogs in miniature rain jackets and scarves. It is officially fall.

Often, in this natural progression toward hibernation and all things cozy, preparation for your house is forgotten. Insulation for the home can seem intimidating, but don't let that stop you from digging deeper. You'll find that proper insulation is key for superior home comfort and increased energy savings. Read on for some easy-to-understand information on why your home may need its own new sweater this winter to help you stay warm.

Why is insulation important?

There are two huge reasons: consistency and savings. First, insulation helps keep your home at a consistently comfortable temperature. Second, insulation creates a more energy-efficient home, saving you up to 20 percent in heating/cooling costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). To put that in perspective, the typical U.S. home has a heating/cooling bill that accounts for almost half of its energy costs each month - meaning you could save 10 percent of your overall energy bill.

What type of insulation do you need?

As for most things in life, it is important to know your options. Three of the most common types of insulation for home DIY are fiberglass batts, rigid foam panels (such as expanded polystyrene, or EPS) and mineral wool. Look below for the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Fiberglass

* Pros - non-flammable, inexpensive

* Cons - difficult to install properly without leaving gaps, which renders the insulation much less efficient; handling danger due to glass powder and small glass shards

EPS rigid foam panels

* Pros - excellent sound and temperature insulation; inexpensive; easy to install

* Cons - must cut pieces to fit around pipes, etc.

Mineral wool

* Pros - easy to install; flame resistant

* Cons - more effective when combined with other forms of insulation (meaning more work to install); higher price

For self-installation in your home, EPS offers many benefits other forms of insulation do not. Other forms of insulation (like fiberglass or mineral wool) require more safety precautions, like protective wear and training for proper installation.

"EPS provides the best insulating performance - 'R-value' - per dollar of any insulation," says insulation expert Paul Kopelson, regional sales director for Insulfoam. "Other forms of insulation are challenging to install without leaving gaps and wrinkles that can cut the efficiency of the product in half. It's important as a homeowner to know that your insulation will do what it's supposed to, and do it well."

What's next?

Inhale confidence, exhale doubts. With your new knowledge of insulation types, a quick trip to a local home improvement store will arm you to better understand the options. Nationally, stores like Home Depot stock a wide range of insulation products, including EPS options such as R-Tech insulation. Regionally, other retail and lumber dealers carry these items. Check them out, and get ready for a warmer winter. Your house (and your energy bill) will thank you.


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