The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Energy Conservation Code, have established minimum recommended levels of insulation based on each climate zone. This will vary depending on where you live. It is wise to know the recommendations before checking to see what insulation your home has.
Typical locations for insulation are: ceilings with unheated spaces, basement walls, all areas above vented crawl spaces, cathedral ceilings, kneewalls (the short walls in a finished attic), between interior walls, floors over unheated garages/porches/additions, and attics.
Where does insulation go? What areas of my home can I check to see if it is properly insulated?
If you experience drafts, floors or walls that are particularly cold, or if you find it difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home, chances are, you may need insulation.
Insulation works to prevent the flow of "conditioned" air from leaving the area of your home/business you want comfortable. In winter, insulation keeps your house warmer by preventing the warm air from escaping your home. In summer, insulation keeps your house cooler, not allowing the hot air into your home. Heat, is a form of energy, and by nature moves from warm areas to cooler areas. Insulation simply prevents this energy from constantly moving heat out of, or into your home. Insulation also has a secondary use for sound control. Insulation inside of walls of bedrooms, bathrooms, or home theater rooms, prevents sound carrying from one room to another. Walls that have no insulation cause the phrase " the walls are paper thin", because there is a hollow space between rooms to carry sound.
The most commonly used types of insulation are fiberglass and cellulose. There are other varieties as well, with varying price ranges. There is cotton, foam, and mineral wool. It is best to consult with a contractor to help decide which insulation will best serve your home and budget.
What kinds of insulation can be used?
Absolutely not! In fact, many prefer to roll out additional layers of insulation over the existing , especially up in the attic. If you already had insulation with an R Value of 19, and you added another layer of the same value, your new R Value would be 38. The R Value represents the insulation resistance to heat flow. the higher the number, the the greater the insulating capability. IMPORTANT TIP: when adding insulation layers, be sure to use unfaced batts and lay them cross-wise on the existing layer.
If I install insulation, do I need to remove the existing insulation?
How do I know if I have a problem, or need insulation?