How much insulation does my house need?

Different areas of the country have different recommended R-values for insulation based on the geographic location and corresponding climate. In general, colder northern climates will have higher required R-Values than warmer tropical locales. Consult the Department of Energy’s chart for recommendations for your area, but in general they recommend you insulate to R-38 or about 10 to 14 inches, depending on insulation type.

Why should I hire a contractor to put insulation in if I can do it myself?

Professional contractors devote their time to understanding insulation and its affect on your home. Because proper installation is essential for insulation to perform at its peak potential, you want a professional to install it. Additionally, having a good knowledge of air infiltration, ventilation, and thermal resistance are just a few of the areas critical to installing insulation correctly. Professionals have training, are familiar with local codes and regulations, and they can offer guidance about the type and amount of insulation that is best for your home.

Why didn’t the contractor install insulation over my garage area?

If the area is a non-conditioned space (meaning you don’t heat/cool it for livable purposes), then adding regular insulation will not effect energy use and may offer little to improve ambient temps. In areas like this, a radiant barrier performs better and is more cost efficient.

Is it messy to have attic insulation installed in my home?

Generally speaking, insulation is blown into your attic is a clean process because it involves using a hose that runs from the supply to the application area. Batt insulation is also a very clean process since they are large pre-sized chunks of insulation.

How long does it take to install attic insulation?

Most homes can have insulation installed in a single day, and many in a few hours. In general, installation time depends on the size of the home.

Can you have too much attic insulation?

Generally speaking, no. However, there is a tradeoff between additional benefit, cost and reduced access to areas of the attic due to depth.

What are my options for sealing can lights?

The best option for can/recessed lighting is to install ICAT lights that are going to be air tight. Another option is to buy a can light box (similar to a styrofoam cooler) that can be placed over the light from the attic side and then sealed with caulk. If you can’t seal them, then make sure you use hardware cloth, metal flashing or scrap wood to create a gap of at least 3 inches all around the fixtures to prevent insulation from covering them.

How important is it to seal penetrations in the ceiling?

We can’t emphasize the importance of this step enough! Gaps in the attic floor allow heated (or cooled) air escape to the great, unconditioned outdoors, making any insulation you add to your attic significantly less efficient. It’s a huge energy waster and it can even potentially cause moisture problems in the winter months. Seal up those holes before you add your insulation to the attic!

What does R-value mean?

Insulation is identified and labeled by its R-value. “R” stands for resistance to heat flow; therefore, the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.

If I have a radiant barrier in my attic, do I also need regular insulation?

Yes, radiant barriers work in combination with insulation, not in place of it, so you need both in your attic space along with good ventilation to maximize the efficiency of the home.

How important is it for the insulation to be “smooth” on top?

A uniform, even layer of insulation will be more efficient than significant “peaks and valleys” in the insulation. The effect is similar to why you don’t want bald spots in the attic floor insulation.

How important is it to avoid “bald” spots in the attic?

VERY important. It’s important to try to get full and even coverage of the insulation in the attic. There are studies that show how leaving just 5% of the attic un-insulated can reduce the overall effectiveness by over 20%!

What is the difference between fiberglass and cellulose insulation?

Fiberglass is made from molten sand or recycled glass and other inorganic materials under highly controlled conditions. Fiberglass is produced in batt, blanket, and loose-fill forms.
Cellulose is a loose-fill made from paper (usually recycled) to which flame retardants are added.

What sets your advice on this site apart?

As experts in the fields of radiant barrier and insulation, we often find that questions about the two  overlap. Radiant barrier and regular insulation work very well together and we highly recommend you have  a pure aluminum radiant barrier along with the recommended level of R-value in your attic space.

We constantly get questions about recommendations for insulation contractors and while the levels of recommended R-value may vary from city to city around the USA, we always tell customers to buy insulation by the bag, not the inch.

We created this website as a place to help customers understand why buying by the bag is the only way to buy insulation, and as a place for insulation contractors who install by the bag to be found by customers looking for a contractor. If you are a contractor and you’d like to get listed on our site, please contact us.