An insulation's R-value--the material's thermal resistance or resistance to heat flow--depends on what area of the nation you reside in and what portion of the home you're insulating. The greater the R-value the greater the material insulates. R-values vary from zero to 40 and more--the smaller value suitable for warm weather areas, such as Florida, the large value appropriate in cold climates, such as Chicago. The Department of Energy has an Internet site that shows what the R-value needs to be for your area. There are a range of environmentally friendly insulation products on the market. Blown-in cellulose insulation made from 100% recycled paper and treated with borates for fire-resistance and protection against insects is tagged by the Environmental Protection Agency for efficacy against termites, cockroaches, ants, earwigs, and a number of other insects. This product includes no free formaldehyde, no ammonium sulfate, no fiberglass, and no debris. A buddy reopened sealed pocket doors on the top floor of his 1900 triple-decker in Boston recently and from within the walls--and the pocket doors--came shredded paper. From the late 1800s primitive insulation could be comprised of a range of mundane substances, such as paper, wood shavings, corncobs, and even seaweed. Mineral wools--materials like rock slag"spun" into fibers--were installed in homes as early as 1875 and are still in use today. These ancient substances can be left in place. Another merchandise winning green accolades from the market place is polyisocyanurate, a rigid material that each depth has a higher R value than batt or blown-in fiberglass, cellulose, and cotton insulation. Polyiso also offers an effective moisture barrier when used with aluminum foil facers in masonry cavity wall applications. This sort of insulation can be installed between furring strips once the walls in your home have to be replaced entirely. Another green insulation product is cotton insulation made from recycled denim; this item is itch-free and simple to install. Additionally it is treated with borates to keep insects off. Keeping warm in an old home can be tricky business. Houses built before 1940 were seldom insulated, and when they were the products initially used may have slowed or settled over time, allowing heat to escape and the chilly air to creep in. I was raised in an 1880 Queen Anne in Newton, Massachusetts--a balloon-framed home with very little insulation. I recall those icy January times well. When I complained that the house was too cold, my dad would simply answer,"Put a sweater on." Among the biggest mistakes is installing insulation with no proper ventilation path between the insulation and the building outside. This can create moisture issues. Thermal insulation shouldn't be set around old wiring. The National Electrical Code recommends against blown-in or batt insulation about old knob-and-tube wiring, which could protect against heat dissipation in the electrical conductors and start a fire. Old houses can be drafty areas, and hot air can escape from a great number of areas. Check and see where you might be losing heat in your home. Notice that the principal site of heat loss is through the top of the home. Heat rises and can escape though roofs which aren't adequately insulated.
How can you limit moisture issues?
What kind of insulation do you use?
How much insulation do you want for your property?
The most common insulation retrofit for older houses is loose fill because it can reach areas where it is hard to install insulation. The National Park Service (NPS) recommends using loose-fill cellulose (recycled paper ) insulation that's been treated only with borates as a flame retardant, as opposed to insulating material treated with ammonium or aluminum sulfate. "Insulation handled with sulfates reacts with moisture forming sulfuric acid, which can cause damage to many metals (like copper plumbing and wiring), rock, brick, and timber.
Are there any alternative green insulating material? Asbestos was a frequent part of heating insulation by 1910, and by the 1930s it was also being added to a building insulation products. Total removal of the insulation could be too invasive to many old homes so it needs to be left alone--unless your job is a entire rehab and you will be removing ceilings and walls. If the asbestos is flaking, you can encapsulate the substance --recall asbestos fibers are a health issue only when airborne. This answer will differ from old home to old property. Since warm air has a tendency to rise and cool air to collapse, insulating the loft is where to begin. If the loft is used as a living area, say a house office or play area, the insulation should be placed between the rafters.
It had been largely stopped in the 1980s because of concerns of off-gassing as the product remedies, but now we have a better comprehension of the item and that the quantity of vapors generated is finite. Following the first curing the material won't off-gas, unless it comes in contact with moisture or water, then it can break down and start off-gassing once more. You can have your house tested for these vapors by an environmental firm in your region. When retrofitting an old home with insulation, among the main points is to avoid creating moisture issues. Mold growth, peeling paint, and even rotting wood are signs of elevated moisture levels. In northern climates, moisture from living spaces (bathing, cooking, etc.) can cause problems when it migrates into walls and condenses in insulation, particularly during cold weather. In southern climates, moisture problems happen in the summertime when moist air from the exterior migrates to the construction. In such cases there is controversy over where to put the vapor barrier. Ask your insulation manufacturer for the appropriate placement.
Where do you put in insulation?
When insulating unfinished attics, place the batts on the ground with the vapor retarder facing toward the living area.
How can you decide whether you need insulation?
What should you do with insulation? Building insulation can be categorized into four basic categories: loose fill (cellulose, mineral, or glass fibers); batts (fiberglass, cotton, or different wools); rigid boards (composed of plastic foams or glass fibers); enlarging sprays (proprietary methods ). Batt and rigid insulation typically come into play during a significant restoration that needs replacing walls or when you're installing insulation in unfinished spaces such as attics. It's easy to confirm whether you have attic insulation--typically loose fill between ceiling joists or vulnerable batts of colored fiberglass. You can even check your outside walls for a collection of patched holes. Cotton batting treated with borates is a fantastic selection for an old-house retrofit. The National Park Service advises using insulation treated with borates in historical structures because it will not corrode piping. Blowing in insulation is the least invasive way of insulating your old property. You can add blown-in insulation on the inside or out the house. There is better guidance available than my dad dished out. Today there are tons of energy-saving, cost-effective thermal insulating choices available on the current market, and choosing what's acceptable for your house is dependent upon several factors. Here are a few suggestions to guide you through your old-house insulation project. An early insulating material still on the market now is Homasote fiber board, which is made up of 100 percent recycled paper mixed with a small quantity of additional components, such as paraffin wax as a water repellent and copper metaborate for immunity to fungi, termites, and carpenter ants. It's a Fantastic soundproofer, and although it has an R-value of just 1.2, South Pole explorers from the 1930s and'40s lined their buildings with it