An Insulation Roundup

November/December 2000
A version of this article appears in the November/December 2000 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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November 01, 2000
In the confusing world of insulation materials, telling the difference between fraudulent claims and the real thing is not easy.
                In the last two decades there has been tremendous growth in the variety of insulation products for typical stud-wall construction, and in our understanding of these products. The underperformance problems that arise from typical installations of either fiberglass or cellulose have become widely known, as have methods to avoid these problems. Simultaneously, state-of-the-art cavity insulation products have emerged that can improve insulating performance substantially. However, this growth in insulation choices has been accompanied by a boost in fraudulent and near-fraudulent claims,such as that reflective foils are a good alternative to wall or ceiling insulation.In the following review,I try to separate the wheat from the chaff.                 Fiberglass         Fiberglass insulation is the workhorse of the industry and the product most associated with the word insulation. When precisely installed, the R-value, or resistance to heat flow, ranges from R-3.2 to R-4/inch for both batts and loose-fill installations. Properly installed in walls,fiberglass works well. However, if it is installed with any voids whatsoever, performance can decrease markedly.   &...

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