There is a trend in the construction industry toward the use of spray foam insulation as opposed to the traditional pink roll batt or even cellulose varieties. With fuel costs rising all the time, it is becoming more important all the time to recognize and incorporate this important advancement in energy conservation and human comfort.
The second law of thermodynamics states that heat will always flow in one direction only, and that it will always flow from warm to cold. What that means to a home owner is that heat is always going to try to escape from the warm house to the cold outside, and that is why houses require insulation. One of the problems with traditional pink roll insulation is that it is installed and then stays in one place. Houses do actually move they settle and shift and expand and contract over time and are then not exactly the same as they were when they were built. Spray foam insulation expands and contracts with the structure, so the insulation seal is never broken.
One might be surprised to learn that the installed foam insulation will be very familiar looking; it is the exact same foam insulation that has been seen in water heaters and refrigerators for years. The canisters of the material are quite small, compared to what they produce, since spray foam insulation expands to one hundred times its original volume once it is sprayed on a surface!
There are two main types of spray foam insulation – closed cell and open cell. The closed cell type does not allow any air movement through it and is used on side walls. It has the very highest R-value. The open cell type does allow for some air movement and is used in ceilings, where there must be some ventilation.
Foam insulation is also insect resistant and fire resistant and does not ever settle or shrink. It is also moisture resistant, which is very important for those who may be concerned about the growth of mold in their homes.
There are do-it-yourself spray foam insulation kits available, though most experts agree that for spaces over two hundred square feet, it is best to have the foam professionally installed. The process is somewhat messy, and it is important that the installer be familiar with the process, so that the correct amount is applied.
Spray foam insulation costs far more than the traditional pink roll insulation or cellulose insulation; it is about triple the cost. However, statistics from over a year ago claim that spray foam insulation will save a home owner thirty nine percent on heating and cooling costs. Given what has happened to fuel costs in the last year, the thirty nine percent could turn out to be a very large amount of money.
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