Insulation 101

House attic insulation

It may not be as “sexy” as installing a new kitchen or adding a bathroom or investing in a high-tech HVAC system, but if you want to one of the best bang-for-the-buck ways to add value to your Connecticut home (or to save money on your home energy bill), look no further than adding insulation to your attic.

According to Remodeling.com, an investment in insulation for your attic will recoup an average of 86.1 percent of its investment in a New England home – more than any other single home improvement investment measured by the website.

But what kind of insulation should you add, and how much? Is adding insulation to your attic alone enough to tame your energy bills?

To answer these questions and more, let’s take a look at some home insulation basics.

  1. What insulation types and materials are available?
    Insulation can be made of any number of materials, with categories ranging from batts and rolls to spray-in foam and concrete block. Check out this DOE link for a comprehensive listing of insulating types.
  2. Where should I put insulation in my home?
    A home should be insulated from foundation to roof – anywhere where heated or cooled air may encounter outdoor air or an unconditioned space. Some key areas to insulate include the attic, duct system, exterior walls, any interior wall that is next to an unconditioned space, foundations, floors with cold spaces below (such as a crawl space or unheated garage), and ceilings with cold spaces above (such as an attic). To learn more about places to insulate your home, see this graphic.
  3. What is an R-Value?
    An R-value measures the resistance of heat flow through the insulation; the higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation is. The R-value is depends on the type of insulation material, its thickness, and its density, along with where and how the insulation is installed.
  4. How much insulation does my home need, and what R-Value should I buy?
    Choosing the right type and amount of insulation for your home depends on factors ranging from the location of your home to the type of heating system you’re using. Here are some R-Value guidelines for insulating a home in Connecticut, courtesy of our friends at EnergizeCT:

    Connecticut R-Value Recommendations
    Area Gas, Heat Pump, Oil Electric
    Attic R30 to R60 R38 to R60
    Cathedral ceiling R30 to R38 R30 to R60
    Cavity R13 to R15 R13 to R21
    Insulation sheathing R2.5 to R6 R5 to R6
    Floor R25 to R30 R25 to R30
  5. How do I add to my existing insulation in my home?
    The first step when adding insulation to an existing home is to find out where, how much, and what type of insulation is already in place. There are a few hopeful videos online (here’s one from EnergyStar on checking your attic’s insulation), but by far the best way to do it is to get a professional to look at your home.
  6. How do I find a contractor to add insulation to my home or business?
    The first step once again is to have a professional assess your home’s whole energy footprint with a comprehensive professional energy audit.

Did you know that a CMC home energy assessment (energy audit) includes an assessment of your insulation needs – along with on-the-spot air sealing and other energy efficiency measures – all for a single one-time payment of only $149 for electric and gas heated homes or $174 for propane heated homes?

Contact us today to learn more and schedule your home energy assessment!

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