When properly installed, insulation keeps your home at a uniform temperature and reduces heating and cooling costs. Insulation is found behind each interior wall in the home and is often left uncovered in attics and crawlspaces. Did you know that 90% of homes in the US are under-insulated? With that in mind, the insulation experts at A+ Insulation wanted to share some information with homeowners about evaluating the insulation in your home. How do you know if you have enough insulation in your attic, your walls, crawl spaces, or basement? Read on to discover the best way to check your home’s energy efficiency and the best way to add insulation to areas that need more.
Different Kinds of Insulation Are Used in Different Places
It is important to know that the type of insulation should vary throughout your home. Attic insulation is typically blown in or batted. (Batted insulation: fiberglass glued to a kraft paper backing to make it easier to handle and install.) Wall insulation is usually batted because it comes in a width designed to fit between wall studs. To add wall insulation after construction, it is usually blown in because you don’t have access to the inside of the walls. Basements typically have batted insulation as well. You will need to examine the various rooms in your home to determine what kind of insulation is already there.
Evaluating Insulation in the Attic
The insulation in your attic is typically visible. To examine it, simply look at the depth of the insulation. If you can see the ceiling joists, you probably don’t have enough insulation. Generally, homes need at least 12 inches, but 15-20 inches is not uncommon in a well-insulated attic. In the Midwest, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends an R-value of between R-38 and R-60.
Evaluating Insulation in a Wall
How can you see inside your walls? The easiest way to examine the insulation inside the wall is through an outlet. Turn the power off to the outlet you’re going to work with at the breaker, then remove the outlet cover. Visually inspect the insulation and measure its thickness. You can pull a piece of the insulation out of the wall if you need to examine it closely. The most common type of insulation inside walls is fiberglass batting, but blown-in or board-type insulation could have been used in more recently-built homes. Walls should be filled to capacity as any open area will allow heat transfer. Here in Kansas City, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends R-13 to R15 for walls and cavities.
Related Read: Adding Insulation – DIY or Go Pro?
An Energy Evaluation Will Pinpoint Problem Areas
The best way to determine where you need more insulation is to find out where your home is losing energy. You can do this with an energy evaluation. At A+ Insulation, we offer energy evaluations for free so you figure out exactly where a little extra insulation could save you the most money.