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Batt Insulation Options

Heating and HVAC
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When it comes to saving on heating and cooling costs, having proper insulation in your attic is critical. Attics are often a major cause of high electric bills. Attic insulation keeps homes cooler in summer, warmer in the winter, and prevents your heating and cooling system from working harder than they need to. Batt insulation is an easy and cost-effective option for installing insulation in your attic. Batts are pre-cut panels of insulation that come in a variety of lengths, widths, and R values, which is a measure of thermal conductivity. Batt insulation offers several options and some distinct advantages over other types of insulation.

Faced Batts vs. Unfaced Batts

Batt insulation is designed to fit within most average wall framing and is available with or without facing. Faced batts are best for exterior walls and attics, as the facing material retards vapor buildup and makes handling and attachment easier. Unfaced batts are made of long, resilient glass fibers bonded with an acrylic resin and are lightweight, and provide both thermal and acoustic insulation. Unfaced batts are useful for eliminating unwanted noise in internal walls.
Both faced and unfaced batts are available in pre-cut sizes or in rolls. When determining the best batts for your attic, remember that the higher the R value, the better the thermal performance is.

Batt Materials

Most batt insulation is made from fiberglass; however, other options exist, including cotton, sheep’s wool, and rock wool. Cotton batt insulation is made from post-industrial denim and cotton fibers and is available in R-13 and R-19 unfaced batts. Sheep’s wool, historically used as an insulation material for joints in log cabins, is also available in batt form. Both cotton and sheep’s wool batts are treated for pest and fire resistance before manufacturers sell them.

Installation

While batt insulation is often easy to install, it is best to contact a professional to do this part, as the thermal performance of the batts relies heavily on proper installation. When deciding on an insulation installer, it is a good idea to obtain cost and material estimates from several contractors for the R value you need. You should also ask contractors about air-sealing services and costs, as these can also help you save energy and lower costs, and are typically done at the time of insulation installation.

Batt insulation is an easy and cost-effective way to lower monthly heating and cooling bills. While hiring a professional to install batt insulation may require an initial investment, the energy savings you get in return far outweigh the costs when adding insulation to your home.

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