Helpful Tips for Checking Your Home’s Insulation Levels

Helpful Tips for Checking Your Home's Insulation LevelsThe insulation level in your home is the primary factor in keeping heating and cooling costs low and indoor comfort high. It wasn’t always so important: Back in the era of low energy prices new houses typically came with as little as three or four inches of attic insulation. Many homeowners today are still living in those houses that are under-insulated by current Department of Energy standards — and paying for it in higher operating costs and diminished temperature control.

Where and How Much?

The floor of the attic is the most critical area for insulation. The right amount of attic insulation inhibits rising heat in the winter from radiating through ceilings into the attic and causing your furnace to run extended cycles to compensate, increasing heating costs. In summer, conversely, the overheated attic radiates heat downward through the ceiling and makes your A/C work harder to keep you cool.

The proper insulation level is determined by the depth of the material. More depth equals more heat resistance, known as R-factor. In our climate zone the DOE recommends insulating to a level of R38 up to R60. The right depth depends on the type of insulation you utilize. Most residential attic insulation is either fiberglass batts or cellulose loose fill.

A Matter of Inches

Climb into your attic, making sure you remain on the center walkway at all times. Take extra care not to step out on top of insulation between the ceiling joists — the ceiling below will not support your weight. Measure the depth of insulation between the ceiling joists. Here’s the recommended range by type:

  • Fiberglass batts: 12 inches to 18 inches
  • Cellulose: 10 inches to 16 inches.

If you need more to reach the right level, the good news is: it can simply be added on top of the existing layer. You can even mix types. Blowing in a layer of new cellulose atop original fiberglass batts is a common strategy to upgrade insulation.

For options to reach the proper insulation level in your home, ask the experts at Paitson Bros. We’ve been on the job for you since 1922.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “john-kasawa/Shutterstock”

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