The US Department of Energy, states that heating and cooling account for 50 to 70% of the energy used in the average American home. There are many variables affecting how much energy you can save by upgrading your home’s insulation, including:
- Local climate conditions
- The size, shape, and construction of your house
- Your family’s living habits
- The type and efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems
- The type of fuel you use to heat and cool your home
The more effectively you insulate your home, the more you can save on your heating and cooling costs and the more comfortable your house will be.
What you don’t know about your home’s insulation may be costing you money. Most homes use traditional insulation-fiberglass, cellulose or foam-that was designed to either contain heat for maintaining warmth in the winter, or to resist heat for maintaining cold in the summer. This type of insulation has been around since the 1800s. It acts as a sponge to absorb heat as it enters through your roof or rises up from your furnace. The thicker the insulation, the better its absorbency.
Today there is a better way to insulate your home by reflecting heat rather than absorbing heat. Eagle Shield High Performance Reflective Insulation™ installed in your attic keeps the sun’s radiant heat from ever entering your home. It works with your existing insulation to keep your attic-and therefore your entire home-cooler in the summer. In the winter, it works the same way by keeping heat from escaping your home so your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard and you stay warmer.
Why Upgrade Your Insulation?
Most homes already have batt insulation in the attic floor. Isn’t that enough? 46 million homes are under insulated (Department of Environmental Health at Harvard). That is more than one-third of the private homes in this country and yours could be one of them.
How Your Home May be Under-Insulated
- Your original insulation has become compressed, losing its loft and its effectiveness. This can happen in homes as new as 5 years old when moisture accumulates
- Your home was never built with adequate insulation for your climate and type of home
- Only your attic is insulated, leaving gaps in exterior and interior walls, garage, basement and crawl space
- Your home is more than 10 years old. Insulation recommendations have changed over the years
- Upgrades to your home (including plumbing and electrical) may have removed some of the original insulation
- Your home doesn’t have High Performance Reflective Insulation only insulation that blocks the sun’s heat in the summer before it penetrates your home, and radiates heat back into your home during the winter.
Thermal image of a home showing heat loss.
Red shows where the most heat is lost.
The Difference of Heat vs. Temperature
Heat is a measurement of the motion of the molecules which make up a substance, and represents the energy contained in the substance. In hot substances, the molecules are moving relatively quickly. In cold substances, the molecules are moving slower, but the motion is still called heat.
Temperature, on the other hand, is a measure of how something feels to us. An object with a low heat content probably feels cold, but the object still contains heat.
Heat always moves from a warm object to a colder one. The important thing to remember is that cold isn’t transferred, because cold is just a qualitative description of low heat. A warmer object may cool off, but that is because it is losing heat, not gaining cold.
The purpose of insulation is to slow down the movement of heat through your walls. The insulation doesn’t care which way the heat is moving, so it does just as good a job keeping the summer heat out as it does the winter heat in.
Over 80% of the average home’s heat loss and heat gain takes place through the ceiling and roof. And as we all know, utility bills are increasing by 20% or more each year. The most effective way to cut these costs is to lower the amount of heat transferred into your home in the summer and out of your home in the winter.
Why Conduction, Convection, and Radiation are Important
Heat is transferred in three ways: radiation, conduction, and convection. All heat transfer begins with radiation. Infrared rays or heat waves are radiated in a direct line from any heat source whether it be the sun, a fire, or the electric element of a space heater. These heat waves are either reflected or absorbed by any object that they come in contact with.
Radiant heat moves through space without the assistance of a physical substance. This is how the Sun’s heat reaches the Earth. The radiant heat is transferred directly into a solid object, but it passes readily through transparent materials such as air and glass.
If heat waves are absorbed, the process of conduction (heat passing through solid materials) or convection (heat movement by air currents) occurs. Convection occurs in fluids or gases when a cool fluid or gas comes into contact with a warm solid. In your attic, warmer air drifts into cooler air, setting up a convective current that heats the cooler air.
Conduction heat transfer happens when heat moves through an object. A great example of conduction is a cool spoon that is placed in a hot bowl of soup. Within a few minutes the end of the spoon not immersed in the soup will be warm or hot to the touch.
Your roof, insulation, walls and ceiling are all materials that absorb and conduct these heat waves, driving up your energy bills as your furnace or air conditioner tries to compensate for the extra heat loss or gain. When insulating your home, the most effective insulation blocks radiant heat transfer. The second most effective way to slow heat transfer is through convection using traditional insulation. Together, they work in concert to maximize your home energy savings and comfort levels all year long.
What Type of Insulation for my House?
The most common types of insulation for homes are batt, blown-in, and reflective. Homeowners frequently ask, “Which type of insulation is best?” Much depends on your home’s construction and local climate, but for many homeowners is: “All of the above”. Each type has its own set of benefits and combined offer the most effective insulating benefits.
Batt Insulation Blown-in Insulation Reflective Insulation
Reflective or radiant barrier is the newest and most advanced type of insulation on the market and is the only type of insulation that blocks the transfer of radiant heat. Developed by NASA, it is a strong, thin aluminum foil sheet. It works with existing insulation to boost the insulating power of your home, keeping you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter while reducing your energy bills and extending the life of your heating and cooling systems. Eagle Shield’s High-Performance Radiant Barrier Reflective Insulation™ is the first and only radiant barrier insulation recognized by NASA and endorsed and certified by the Space Foundation.
Similar to Reflective Insulation, Eagle Shield High Performance Reflective Coating is a paint-like semi-liquid that can be sprayed on surfaces that are uneven or difficult to reach. It reflects radiant heat to make you more comfortable and reduce your energy costs.
Eagle Shield Batt Insulation is made from mineral fibers, including fiberglass or rock wool and comes in pre-cut panels. Batt Insulation works by resisting the flow of heat through convection using the small air spaces between its fibers to trap the rising air and slow heat loss through walls and ceilings. At the same time it has low heat conduction. These panels are available in widths suited to the standard spacing distance between wall studs and attic or floor joists. They must be hand-cut and trimmed to fit wherever the joist spacing is non-standard (such as near windows, doors, or corners), or where there are obstructions in the walls (such as wires, electrical outlet boxes, or pipes).
Eagle Shield Blown-in Insulation works similarly to batt insulation, slowing the rate of heat convection. Blown-in, or loose-fill insulation includes cellulose, fiberglass, or rock wool in the form of loose fibers or fiber pellets that are blown using pneumatic equipment, usually by professional installers. This form of insulation can be used in wall cavities, unfinished attic floors, or any hard-to-reach areas such as crevices, corners and irregularly shaped areas, and for filling in around obstructions.