A Guide to Checking Your Home’s Insulation Levels

home insulation levelsIf you’ve never checked your home insulation levels — or haven’t done so recently — don’t put it off any longer. Insulation is critical to home comfort, as well as to keeping energy costs affordable. According to industry estimates, 90% of U.S. homes are under-insulated by current Department of Energy (DOE) standards.

What Kind Of Insulation And Where?

Common residential insulation types are rollout fiberglass batts or blown-in cellulose particles. Because heat rises, the primary destination for home insulation is the attic. Insulation may also be installed inside exterior walls.

How Much Is Enough?

Insulation’s thermal performance is rated by its R-factor — its resistance to heat. Recommended home-insulation levels depend on your climate zone.

Here in Corpus Christi —Zone 2— DOE standards call for insulating the attic to a level of at least R30 up to R60. For fiberglass batts, this translates to a depth range of 10 inches to 18 inches. Cellulose loose-fill depth should be 8 inches to 16 inches.

How to Check Your Attic Insulation

To measure attic insulation, follow these simple steps:

    • Wear a long-sleeve shirt and long pants.
    • When up in the attic, step only on the center walkboard. Don’t step on insulation beds, as the ceiling below may collapse.
    • To measure fiberglass batt depth, insert a yardstick between the edge of the batt and the adjoining ceiling joist and push it down until it contacts the ceiling below. Note the depth of the insulation on the ruler.
    • To measure cellulose insulation, insert the yardstick straight down into a mound of insulation until it contacts the ceiling. Because cellulose depth may vary in an attic, it’s a good idea to measure at several points, then figure the average depth.

What About Walls?

Opening up exterior walls to measure insulation isn’t feasible unless you’re already doing major home renovation. A simpler way is to contact a qualified HVAC contractor. These professionals utilize technology like thermal imaging to identify the type of wall insulation, as well as to determine the amount, without opening the wall.

Contact the pros at CCAC about bringing your home insulation levels up to current standards for optimum indoor comfort and efficiency.

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    David Mathewst David Mathews is the owner of CCAC Air Conditioning and Heating. A Corpus Christi native... More »