A common reason for energy loss in the home is insufficient insulation. Insulation in the attic or ceiling is one of the most important aspects in providing a boundary between your home and outside air. It also helps to minimize the heat lost during winter and reduce the amount of heat gain in winter.
To see if you have enough insulation, measure the amount currently present. If the amount is less than 6 inches thick, you might consider adding insulation to your home.
Next, determine the type of insulation – the three main types are fiberglass, cellulose, and foam. Fiberglass is the most common, cheapest, and least efficient. It looks like cotton candy with the main colors being white, pink, and yellow. Cellulose is a little more expensive, and the most common used for do-it-yourself installation. It is made of recycled paper mixed with harmless chemicals making it bug-proof and fire retardant; it also reduces outside noise. The final insulation type is foam, the most expensive and efficient insulation available. Foam must be installed by a professional and the average payback is five years.
The efficiency of insulation is stated in R-values. R-value is the resistance to heat a product has – the higher the R-value, the more heat resistant. Most product labels state the R-value per inch, which is the baseline for each product’s efficiency. According to the Department of Energy, the R-values for the three most common types of insulation are: fiberglass-2.5, cellulose-3.5, and foam-6. CAEC recommends having your attic insulation at R-38. Below is a graph showing how many inches of each type of insulation is needed to reach R-38.