The Best Insulation to Keep Heat Out This Summer
There are so many misconceptions that regularly go around in the world of HVAC systems. In my line of work, I think misconceptions just might be the one thing that circulates more than air. Bad jokes aside, though, it’s important to discuss them from time to time. The ones I hear most often include: you don’t need to change your air filter regularly, you don’t have to have an annual HVAC checkup if you don’t use your system a lot, and all HVAC service techs are super handsome.
Okay, okay, I know I said no more bad jokes. Anyway, there really many misconceptions about HVAC systems that I hear from folks all the time. The one I can most understand if when folks tell me their impression is that insulation is only necessary for houses in cold climates, not for houses in Sacramento and around Northern California where we live. I mean, insulation often looks like fluff found in a winter coat, and I think this creates a tendency to associate its value with cold weather.
The truth, however, is that insulation works in all seasons. During the summer it can actually keep cold air inside your house and the hot air out, just like it keeps warm air in and cold air out during the winter months.
The truth, however, is that insulation works in all seasons. During the summer it can actually keep cold air inside your house and the hot air out, just like it keeps warm air in and cold air out during the winter months. That’s why today I want to talk about the best insulation to keep heat out during the summer.
The Best Insulation to Keep Heat Out This Summer
It’s important to note that not all insulation is created equal, and that the insulation you choose has the potential to affect how often you have to run your AC to keep your home comfortable. This, as you probably know, drastically affects your energy bills in the summer. So, insulation can save you a lot of money—year-round. Do I have your attention now? Good, I thought so.
Generally, the best insulation to keep heat out of your house in the summer is the same insulation material you would use to keep cold out during the winter.
I’ve talked in the past about how to how to insulate ductwork to lower your bills during the summer, but never specifically about whether one type of insulation was best for keeping heat out. Generally, the best insulation to keep heat out of your house in the summer is the same insulation material you would use to keep cold out during the winter. That is to say that there really isn’t a particular type of insulation that is all that more effective in hot weather than it is in cold weather. There is, however, one type of insulation that I would warn against for summer: mineral wool.
The problem with mineral wool is that most varieties of it do not have the qualities to make it fire resistant. That’s not to say that your home will ever be so hot that your insulation would burst into flames, but it is important for me to share with you any potential hazards. So, other than mineral wool, I would stick to using the same type of insulation for hot and cold conditions alike.
The Best Year-Round Insulation for Your Home
What makes picking insulation for your home so tricky is that there are essentially five major groups of insulation you have to choose between, regardless of what time of year it may be, and of whether you’re insulating an attic, an in-law suite, or a solid brick wall in an old home.
Let’s take a look at each of the best winter and summer insulation options on the market:
- Loose-fill cellulose: Loose-fill cellulose insulation is the most common choice for homeowners. Loose-fill means it was blown in through holes at the top and bottom of the walls with low pressure, and that it falls short of the 3.5 lbs of cubic foot density it needs to be considered dense-packed cellulose (more on that shortly). This is the choice of many DIY handymen who want to spend as little as possible and do the job with a blower from a local hardware store. Do I recommend this? Not really. This sort of job leads to spotty and uneven density because you can’t ensure it distributes evenly inside the wall. If you know how a radiant barrier works to keep out heat, you’ll know this won’t be good news.
- Dense-packed cellulose: The only difference between dense-packed and loose-fill cellulose is how it’s installed. This type of insulation is blown into the wall with more force, ensuring a denser layer and more even spread. It’s also tougher work that’s best left to an insulation professional. With this type of job, homeowners will feel a noticeable difference in daily temperatures.
- Loose-fill fiberglass: This choice of insulation shares much in common with the first one on our list: It’s popular among DIY homeowners and can be installed with a blower. It’s a bit more expensive than the cellulose variety, but the difference in its constitution helps it to spread much easier. The downside is similar to loose-fill in that you can’t be sure that the entire surface of the wall has been sealed.
- Dense-packed fiberglass: This is a really tricky sort of insulation. By nature, fiberglass is not as dense as its cellulose counterpart, which means even though the dense-packed installation method spreads it evenly, it still might not do as good of a job keeping outside air from getting in as the cellulose variety.
- Injection foam: This type of insulation is exactly what it sounds like. You inject it into your wall and then it expands to insulate the areas around wires and outlets. It’s more versatile, which makes it a great choice for nooks and crannies.
One last misconception that I’d like to dispel here today is that you can just go on down to the store and pick out your own insulation and do the job yourself. As you may have noticed in the list above, picking the right year-round insulation for your home is a complicated business, one that I highly recommend leaving to a professional insulation contractor like Bell Brothers.
…picking the right year-round insulation for your home is a complicated business, one that I highly recommend leaving to a professional insulation contractor like Bell Brothers.
When you work with the team at Bell Brothers, you can trust that you’re not only going to get the perfect type of insulation for your individual house, but that it will also be installed perfectly, leaving no chance that air might pass through a poorly-sealed area. Knowing the summer benefits of insulation of insulation is a great start, but don’t hesitate to call us up for some help from the pros!
At Bell Brothers, our trained HVAC professionals would be delighted to help you pick out new insulation that’s perfect for keeping air out of your home during the summer—and winter—months. We can also help make your home more energy-efficient by cleaning and sealing up your leaky ductwork. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Wondering how to finance a new HVAC—or even a furnace or window upgrade? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.
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