Ways to Check Your Insulation

Ways to Check Your InsulationIt’s time to check your insulation to see if it’s up to current specs. If you haven’t done so in a few years—or never, if you only recently bought the house—you may discover that your home is under-insulated by 2017 standards. Insulation in the attic and inside exterior walls is your primary barrier against unwanted heat loss in winter or heat gain in summer. Adequate insulation keeps indoor comfort high and heating/cooling energy costs low. Here’s how to check your insulation to see where your house stands:

What Kind? How Much?

Most attic insulation is either roll-out fiberglass batts pre-cut to fit between attic joists or cellulose loose-fill blown into the attic under pressure. Fiberglass batts average around R-3 insulating value per inch while cellulose is more efficient and provides around R-3.8 per inch. Current Department of Energy recommendations for this climate zone call for insulation in the range of R30 to R60, which translates to the following depths in the attic:

  • Fiberglass batts: 12 to 20 inches.
  • Cellulose loose fill: 10 to 16 inches.

Exterior wall cavities should have enough insulation to fill the void and achieve an insulating value of at least R13. Per DOE recommendations, this equates to a thickness of at least 3 to 4 inches of fiberglass batts or blown-in cellulose.

Up In The Attic

Pick a cool time of day. Wear long-sleeves and pants plus a safety mask to avoid inhaling dust or insulation fibers. Step only on walkway boards and not on beds of insulation. The ceiling may collapse under you.

Using a ruler or yardstick, measure the depth of insulation installed between the attic joists.

Inside Walls

Accurately determining the state of wall insulation generally isn’t a DIY project. Small access holes in multiple inconspicuous locations are required to survey insulation. HVAC field technicians often use more high-tech methods such as infrared cameras to image heat loss through the walls, deriving an accurate estimate of insulation amount and effectiveness.

Need help to check your insulation? Ask the pros at Paitson Bros., at your service in Terre Haute 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. 

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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