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As the autumn weather approaches in some parts of the country, take this opportunity to rest your air-conditioning unit and not yet resort to your heater. Open the windows and let the fresh air fill your home. While you enjoy this energy-saving season, start thinking about your current insulation and how efficiently it will get you through this coming winter.

Whether you’re choosing insulation for a new house or updating your current house, energy-efficient insulation opportunities await you! Heating and cooling our houses accounts for up to 70 percent of the energy we use overall. Smart insulation choices that use recyclable products or are lifetime-guaranteed can help reduce the amount of garbage that goes into landfills, which in turn will reduce air pollutants and will make the environment safer. This goes without mentioning the amount of energy you’ll save, therefore the amount of money that you won’t spend on bills. To get you thinking, here are five smart insulation products.

Reflective Foil
Foil can insulate your house much like it keeps your food heated in the oven or dry and fresh in the fridge. Reflective foil is made from thin sheets of plastic film coated in aluminum. Best used on the inside of your roof or on the walls of your attic, reflective foil reflects sun away from your home. This keeps the sun out in the summer and allows your home to remain cool. It also protects against wind and keeps heat inside your home during the winter. Reflective foil works best in areas that don’t receive direct sunlight. If foil is set up in direct sunlight, the foil can melt or catch on fire. However, as long as the foil is completely flat, it will not gather pools of sunlight that cause melting or fire. A gap should also be left on the top and bottom of the foil to let air circulate in and out and to allow moisture in your house to leave.

Fiberglass is made from recyclable products and from sand, which is not renewable but is found in abundance all over the world. To install, fiberglass batts are stapled between studs on the walls and then drywalled over. Fiberglass can be used in attics, on walls, on floors, on furnaces and in air ducts. Not only does fiberglass keep your heat inside in the winter and your air-conditioning inside in the summer, but it can also help prevent the spread of noise. Though fiberglass is considered safe to use, your best bet would be to find fiberglass with the least amount of formaldehyde, which has been found to cause irritations and sensitivities.

Cotton batts are used much like fiberglass. Cotton scraps are usually collected from blue jean companies. The company recycles the scraps they don’t use, and insulation companies take these scraps and turn them into insulation. Fire retardants are added to the cotton, so they are fire resistant. Installation is much like fiberglass, but perks to using cotton are that it’s more sound resistant, it’s more suitable for windy conditions and there are no health concerns.

Foam spray
Foam sprays fill in the cracks that even fiberglass misses. As a new invention, foam sprays allow you to spray between framing studs in basements, attics, roofs, exterior wall cavities or crawlspaces. A one-time spray should last a lifetime, and the foam expands and contracts with your house over time. The foam is non-toxic, and it reduces air movement, therefore it removes dust from the air and helps prevent allergies. The foam also controls moisture from entering and therefore helps to prevent mold. As with fiberglass, the foam does not allow cold air to enter the home in the winter or warm air to enter in the summer. Because foam sprays go a long way and last a lifetime, they are a smart investment toward long-time insulation.

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