No matter how much we love our homes, they come with their own set of unique challenges. If you live in an older home, chances are you’ve run into one or two unpleasant surprises in your day.
It may be time to add more insulation to your home when you notice your rooms feeling:
- Drafty, no matter how high you crank your HVAC system 💨
- Musty smelling 👃
- Hot, even with your A/C on 🔥
Adding insulation isn’t necessarily difficult, but it is a time-consuming process. If you are at the beginning of your insulation installation journey, you likely are wondering, “How much insulation do I need?”
We’ve created a comprehensive guide to all things insulation related, including how much insulation you need for your installation.
7 Signs You Need More Insulation
How do you know that it’s time to replace your insulation? Here are some signs to watch out for.
1) Your Home Is Unusually Cold 🥶
Is your furnace keeping your home warm? If not, it could be a sign that your home’s insulating power is not up to snuff. You might be able to deal with the cold for a while, but it can eventually become a nuisance or a serious problem if you live in an area that experiences extreme cold.
2) Your Home Is Unusually Hot 🥵
Much like a cold home, a strangely warm house can be a sign of insufficient insulation. A home that can’t be properly cooled can be dangerous if you live in an excessively warm climate zone.
3) You Live in an Older House 🏡
As our homes age, the existing insulation inevitably begins to settle into the walls, causing it to be less effective overall.
4) Utility Bills Are Changing 🧾
If you notice that your utility bills are steadily climbing with no obvious reason why you might be in need of some extra insulation.
5) You Have a Reoccuring Pest Problem 🐁
Mice and other types of pests love to nest in old insulation. When insulation settles or is poorly installed, mice find their way into your home and pull apart your fiberglass insulation to make nests. If you’re seeing signs that a family of mice has moved into your home, then it may be time to add more insulation.
6) Ice Dams Are Forming ❄️
If your roof has ice dams forming on it every winter, it’s likely that your attic insulation is not holding its own. Attics need enough insulation to ensure that heat does not escape from your house, melting any snow and creating ice. Ice dams can lead to exterior house damage further down the road. When you add insulation, you save yourself from serious problems in the future.
7) Your Allergies Are Worse 🤧
Find yourself sneezing even after allergy season is over? We’ve got bad news. It might be due to your insulation. As it ages, insulation can fail and allow moisture to get trapped inside it. This can lead to mold growth, which irritates the respiratory system.
4 Benefits of New Insulation
Adding insulation may seem stressful, but the benefits far outweigh the temporary discomfort. Here are some changes new insulation may bring to your home.
1) Lower Energy Costs 📉
Adding in new insulation can lead to a significant decrease in your energy bills. Proper insulation allows for better heat flow, which keeps your whole home warm all winter long.
2) Reduced Noise Pollution 🎧
You might not think of your insulation as being a noise barrier, but it absolutely is! When you add new insulation, you’re helping to block out any noisy sound outside of your home.
3) Eco-Friendly 🌲
An energy-efficient home is an eco-friendly home! Adding insulation allows you to use less energy running your HVAC system.
4) Better Resale Value 💰
Fresh insulation can increase the value of your home. If you are looking to sell in the next few years, this is a great investment to make.
How Much Insulation Do I Need?
Alright, we’ve convinced you. It’s time to reinsulate your home. But how much insulation do you actually need?
The amount of insulation needed can be calculated fairly easily! But first, you’ll need to gather the information listed below!
Understanding R Values
When it comes to insulation, one of the most important measurement’s to know is your ‘R-Value.’
R-Value is a way of measuring how insulating a material is. In order to ensure that your home is up to code, it’s important that your home meets the required R-value for the area you live. For context, homes in warmer climates typically have a lower R-value than those in colder climates.
Knowing your home’s required R-Value will help ensure that you get the right type of insulation for your home.
Measure Your Home
Once you know your R-Value, you’ll need to measure in order to determine how much insulation you’ll need. The first step is to measure the width and height of each wall in the room you want to insulate. Be sure to subtract the area of doors and windows to get an accurate result.
Determining the square footage of a room should help give you an accurate idea of how much insulation your home will need. Still feeling unsure? Tools like an online insulation calculator can help you feel confident.
Check Your Existing Insulation
Before you begin installing new installation, it’s a good idea to get a sense of the state of your existing insulation. Depending on the shape it is in, you may be able to use a smaller amount of insulation just to fill in any odd cavities or gaps. This strategy can help you save money and get a better estimate of how many rolls of insulation you will need.
Types of Insulation
There are many different types of insulation that serve different purposes. Depending on your home’s needs, one type may work better for you than another. Here are some of the most common types of insulation on the market.
- Blown-In Insulation – If you are just looking to boost the power of your existing insulation, it is likely that a professional will recommend that you look into blown-in insulation. This type of insulation is made from a mix of fiberglass, minerals, cellulose, and wool. This sort of loose-fill insulation is perfect for small spaces that need a bit more insulating power.
- Blanket Insulation – When your home was built, it is likely that some sort of blanket insulation was installed. This product comes in rolls that are trimmed to fit on the wall. It is usually made primarily of fiberglass.
- Concrete Insulation – Concrete blocks are typically used to create a foundation for a home, but did you know that they can be used to help insulate it as well? By adding insulation inside the hollow part of your concrete blocks, you can help keep your home more protected from the elements.
- Foam Board Insulation – Foam boards are another popular way to insulate your home. They are very effective when it comes to thermal retention.
- Spray Foam Insulation – Spray foam is typically used to patch any areas where air is leaking into the home through the foundation. While you can spray foam vulnerable areas of your home, such as windows and doors, it is generally better to leave more extensive spray jobs to a professional.
Can I DIY My Insulation Installation?
If you’re interested in DIYing your insulation installation, we would advise you to be careful about what type of insulation you choose. Some forms are easier to install than others.
At the end of the day, proper installation is key to ensuring that your home remains efficient and damage-free. A trained professional will be able to help you make informed choices for your climate zone and individual home.
How Much Will It Cost?
The cost of insulating your home will depend on the size of the rooms and what materials you choose to use. In general, you can expect to pay around $0.30-$2 per square foot. While you can save money by doing it yourself, it may be easier for you to call in a professional. In that case, expect to spend around $350-$800 in labor costs.
For full home insulation, it is likely that you will pay $2,000-$8,000 dollars.
Contact Your Local Insulation Professional
Ready to insulate your home? It’s time to reach out to an insulation professional near you. At First American Roofing and Siding, we are proud to offer our customers efficient service that will help you cut back on your energy bills. Contact us today to get a free estimate!