The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 50 percent to 70 percent of the energy used in a home is consumed by heating and cooling. You can significantly improve your home's energy efficiency and lower your energy bills by making sure your home is properly insulated. Experts say your home's walls and attic, as well as floors above unheated garages, crawl spaces and unfinished basements should all be insulated.
There are four main types of home insulation: blanket insulation, which is packaged as rolls or precut sections called batts; loose-fill insulation; rigid foam board insulation; and spray foam insulation. Fiberglass, thermoplastic foam (including polyurethane, polystyrene and polyisocyanurate), cellulose and (to a lesser extent) mineral wool are the most common insulation materials. Some insulation types, such as fiberglass or loose foam, will also require a vapor barrier to protect the material from moisture damage that can accumulate over time.
Experts say choosing the best insulation depends on your climate, the location in your home where the insulation will be installed, whether you have a new or existing house, and how much you want to spend (assuming you end up with more than one viable option).