To determine if you need additional insulation it’s important to figure out where there is insulation on your home and how much.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends hiring a professional to do a whole house inspection including an energy audit. An energy audit will show where air leaks are within the home before adding additional insulation.
If you don’t want to hire a professional for an energy audit, then look for the following:
¨ Where your home is, isn’t and should be insulated.
¨ What type of insulation you have.
¨ The R-value of the insulation you have currently.
This information should be available on a newer home. Just contact the builder. If it is an older home or you don’t know who the builder was, you will have to do the inspection yourself if not using a professional evaluation.
To inspect and evaluate your current insulation you will need to examine various places in your home such as the attic, basement, walls, garage or anywhere floors are adjacent to an unheated space.
For exterior walls examine the insulation using an electrical outlet. Always turn off the power to the outlet. Remove the outlet cover and shine a flashlight into the space around the outlet box. Look to see if there is insulation around the box and its thickness. Try to pull out a small amount of insulation to determine what type of insulation you have. Check outlets in both the lower and upper floors and in all parts of the house.
In any spaces where there is insulation (unfinished basement ceilings and walls and crawl spaces, inspect and measure the thickness in inches of the insulation. If the house is new, there may be insulation on the outside of these walls. Check with the builder or original homeowner to find out and if so, what type and what areas did they insulate.
Once you have determined all of these factors, see the U.S. Department of Energy’s website for their insulation fact sheet to find out how to determine the R-values of insulation previously installed in your home. They also have information on how much and what type of insulation to use in your region and climate.