Many Florida homes are not insulated to the best level. Older homes are far much worse, and they’re likely to use more energy than their newer counterparts. And this translates into higher heating and cooling costs. Even if your home is pretty new, adding thermal insulation to the crawl space will save you money by reducing your monthly bills.
But what’s thermal insulation, and is it any different from normal insulation? If so, what are its benefits? Read on to find answers to these and other questions you might have.
Thermal Insulation Basics
Thermal insulation is any system that’s used to keep homes warm during cooler months and cooler during the hot summer season. They work by reducing the heat flow or transfer to the exterior surfaces of a home. Specifically, they control three aspects of heat transfer, and these are:
- Conduction of heat (solid materials)
- Convection via air (natural or mechanically driven)
- Radiant transmission through low-density materials.
Different insulation materials have different R-values. And these values are determined by the type, thickness and weight per square foot.
Benefits of Thermal Insulation
A sealed, insulated, and moisture-protected crawl space makes your home more comfortable than one that’s not conditioned and sealed. Since there’s no air leak, the internal temperatures and conditions will remain constant throughout.
Insulation also improves the durability of the home. In other words, your home won’t be exposed to moisture and organisms such as mold that cause wood rot. This means fewer repairs.
If you’ve been spending lots of money on energy bills, insulation will help you slash those costs. Heat loss will be a thing of the past, as you’ll conserve energy. You won’t need to turn on your HVAC for long to heat up or cool your home.
Making your home energy-efficient through crawl space insulation means less greenhouse gas emissions, which is a plus for the environment.
Common Insulation Materials
Let’s look at some of the popular insulation materials on the market.
- Expanded polystyrene. It’s made of beads that have been bonded into rigid foam plastic boards. Thanks to their higher R-value per thickness, they provide up to 50% better insulation performance.
- Glass wool fiber. Made from spun glass loosely woven and bonded using resin. Thickness can range from 2.5 to 12 inches. As well as being low-cost, it’s lightweight, easy to install, non-settling, and it can fit easily into uneven surfaces.
- Spray polyurethane foam. This is a semi-flexible plastic foam with a high R-value. It can insulate irregular space easily. Plus, it leaves no gaps or joints.
- Polyester fiber. It’s a stable and durable insulation material. Our only concern is that it’s prone to compression damage, which may lower its R-value.
- Cellulose fiber. Loose-fill insulation made from finely shredded newsprint with chemicals added to enhance fire resistance and discourage fungal growth. They easily fill irregular space and have a higher resistance to air leakage. However, they can irritate the eyes and settle after some time.
Which Insulation Is the Best?
Your choice of insulation products depends on the application and the amount of insulation you need as well as the prevailing weather conditions.
That being said, we strongly recommend rigid foam since it does not hold water or contain organic food sources that could encourage mold growth. An excellent option for those considering insulation is ExTremeBloc™, an expanded polystyrene foam that incorporates graphite improving insulation by 24%.
ExTremeBloc™ also is treated with a termiticide to deter the pests who would normally eat through insulation. And when these panels are installed, the crew will leave an inspection gap to allow for pest control inspections.
Additionally, ExTremeBloc™ insulation also can be used when encapsulating a crawl space with a CrawlSeal™ vapor barrier. Pairing these solutions together gives you the most bang for your buck, as you will be properly sealing the crawl space from water, moisture, and gases, and they help create an energy-efficient space and home.
How much energy you will save depends on factors like shape, size and design of the home, your family’s living habits, and the local climate. The type and efficiency of existing HVAC systems and the fuel that you use also have an impact.
If you need help insulating the crawl space, you’re at the right place. The expert team at Alpha Foundations provides professional and hassle-free inspections and installations to homeowners across Florida. Get in touch with us today for a free crawl space inspection and quote with no obligation.