In Florida, where most people consider the weather warm and comfortable year-round, you may be wondering why it is important to insulate your home. Winters may not be so cold as to require much heating, but summers are frequently too warm to be comfortable without the assistance of air-conditioning.
One of the most important reasons for insulation is to prevent cool air from escaping and warm air from heating up your home. There are certain areas that are especially important to focus upon.
Insulation for Concrete Construction
Concrete can be a popular material to build with in Florida's subtropical climate. Traditional concrete block construction has very little insulating value. Concrete acts just like stone. It conducts cold very efficiently to the outside and heat very efficiently to the inside of your home.
If you are building a new home or commercial building using concrete block, use insulated concrete block. This type of block uses polystyrene, polyisocyanurate (polyiso) or polyurethane, and occasionally vermiculite or perlite pellets in the concrete is poured into the blocks. The resulting blocks are 10 times more insulating than conventional concrete, without any loss in structural strength.
The same results have been identified when these materials are added to concrete as well.
In a home with existing concrete walls, polyisocyanurate can be sprayed on existing surfaces. This is usually cheaper than purchasing foam board made of polyisocyanurate. It also has the advantage of conforming more effectively to the surface. You will experience a minor loss in interior space, but this could be more than compensated for in your lower electric bills.
In Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, more heat is gained through the roof than any other area of the house. This is especially true if your roof is dark or uses galvanized sheeting. This makes insulating your attic especially important. You do not need the radiated heat from the sun fighting with your air conditioner's efforts to keep your home cool.
Retrofitting a home with additional insulation is usually quite simple. Additional batts or blankets of fiberglass insulation can be installed not only between ceiling joists, but they can also be laid over the top of the ceiling joist, creating an extra barrier for cool air leaving the home and hot air radiating down from the ceiling.
Other Tricks for Reducing Heat Gain
If you are building a new home, consider the color of your roof. A white roof absorbs very little heat. In Florida's climate where your primary concern is cooling, you can use this to your advantage. When insulation is added in addition to a light-colored roof, your cooling bill will drop considerably. This is easily demonstrated by painting a galvanized roof white. Before painting it, you cannot hold your hand against the roof on a sunny day. After painting it white, the roof barely feels warm.
Value of an Energy Evaluation
At Baker & Sons, we specialize in HVAC systems and electrical. That is why we know just how much impact insulation has on the efficiency of your HVAC system. We have seen homes where we have been able to replace an air-conditioning unit with one of much smaller size once the home has been properly insulated.
Here is what you can expect if you call us to inspect and evaluate your insulation.
- We will conduct a thermal evaluation of your home. The best times of year to do this are either in the winter, when you are using some heat to keep your home comfortable, or during the summer when you are using your air-conditioning.
- We will validate our thermal information by physically checking your attic, floors and walls to see why your home loses its cool (or heat).
- We will determine what type of insulation you have and its thickness so we can convert that information into R-values. If adding additional insulation is not going to improve your R-values, we will let you know.
- We will recommend the best options available for your particular home.
- We will also inform you as to how long you can expect it to take before your insulation upgrades will pay for themselves.
Call Baker & Sons today at (941) 377-3702 for a careful and honest evaluation of how effectively your home is insulated. We would be happy to explore all the solutions available to you, and help you as a Florida property owner experience the best energy savings possible.