Insulation of any type will help improve the efficiency of your home's heating and cooling system. Some home insulators include items that are inexpensive, such as window treatments and hot water heater blankets, which, in turn, may result in a reduced electric bill. Installation of other items, such as a concrete form insulator, when building a new home will help maintain home insulation.
Traditional insulators in the home include the rolls, batts and blown-in insulation, which are found in the attic, walls and basement of your home and are typically installed when a home is built. It is a good idea to check the attic insulation every 10 years or so to make sure that it is still efficient. Roll and batt insulation does eventually decrease in its thickness due to age, and you may need to add additional insulation. If your insulation falls below 4 inches thick, you may want to add more to bring it up to 6 inches or more. R19 is the thickest insulation---it is 6-3/4 inches thick.
A radiant barrier is an insulator in your home that can be placed in the attic on top of your roll, batt or blown-in insulation for extra heat protection. This type of insulator in the home will reflect radiant heat instead of absorbing it and does not take the place of traditional insulation but adds to its properties. Radiant barriers are a shiny silver material, which attaches to a styrofoam board. You simply attach the radiant barrier to the beams and joists in the attic, and they help to repel heat from the roof entering into your attic and your home. A radiant barrier can reduce the radiant heat transfer from the inside of the roof into the attic.
Insulated Concrete Form
Basements can lose a large amount of your home's heat through the ground. Insulated concrete forms address this issue by placing preformed interlocking blocks, planks or panels on the ground level of a new home. Concrete is added inside the forms, and the end product of insulated concrete remains in place as the house is being built. This type of insulator in the home will work from the ground level upwards to keep heat and cold from entering your home through the ground.
Double-paned windows provide extra insulation over single-paned windows and are an energy star efficient item. There are also window treatments that have a high insulation factor built in to them. Drapes are available with a heavy heat resistant backing to block the sun's heat and the cold from entering your home through the windows. There are also stylish curtains that have a tight weave to serve the same purpose. These items are inexpensive and simple to install. Window treatments will maintain your home's energy efficiency.
Water Heater Blanket
An electric water heater blanket is an inexpensive insulator in your home. It is an insulated blanket that you cut to fit over your water heater. This keeps it warmer in the winter and does not use excessive electricity to heat your water for your home. A water heater blanket also preserves the cold air from circulating around your water heater and freezing the pipes, which can cause it to burst. These types of blankets are most cost-effective when your water heater is located in the basement or outside.