Insulation 101

3/17/2011

Did you know that about 50% of your energy usage goes towards heating and cooling your home? Without proper insulation, the warm or cool air inside your home can escape, wasting energy and costing you money!

If your home is uncomfortably warm in the summer or cool in the winter, it may be time to add or replace your home's insulation. Inspect your insulation for the following points:

  • Material type. Insulation comes in several different materials and forms, and price ranges and installation methods vary as well. You'll want to determine what type of insulation your home has in order to calculate its R-value (R-value refers to the insulation's resistance to heat flow; a higher R-value indicates a more effective insulation). Also consider whether this material is the best insulation for your home—is it naturally fire-resistant? Will it be damaged by moisture? Is it subject to pest damage?
  • Level. Check your attic to get an idea of how much insulation your home has. The insulation should come past the top of the joists in the floor. If it doesn't, you may need to consider adding more. A home energy assessor can help you evaluate the R-value of your existing insulation based on material type and depth.
  • Location. If you think your home only needs insulation in the attic, think again! In addition to the attic, other areas of the home that should be insulated include the exterior walls, floors, basement, and crawl space.

Luckily, installing or adding insulation is a relatively inexpensive project, and in most cases, can be done by the homeowner. This is one home repair you shouldn't put off—it's actually the most efficient energy-saving measure you can take!