adding insulation to an existing home
Unless your home was specially constructed for energy efficiency, you can usually reduce your energy bills by adding more insulation. Many older homes have less insulation than homes built today, but adding insulation to a newer home may also pay for itself within a few years.
To determine whether you should add insulation, you first need to find out how much insulation you already have in your home and where.
A qualified home energy auditor will include an insulation check as a routine part of a whole-house energy audit. An energy audit will also help identify areas of your home that are in need of air sealing. (Before you insulate, you should make sure that your home is properly air sealed.)
If you don't want an energy audit, you need to find out the following:
If you live in a newer house, you can probably find out this information from the builder. If you live in an older house, you'll need to inspect the insulation yourself if you don't want an energy audit.
Inspecting and evaluating your insulation
- Turn off the power to the outlet.
- Pull out a small amount of insulation if needed to help determine the type of insulation.
- Check outlets on the first and upper floors, if any, and in old and new parts of a house. Just because you find insulation in one wall doesn't mean that it's everywhere in the house.
Determining recommended R-values
When you find out the R-values of your home insulation from the home builder or your own inspection, you can then use the U.S. Department of Energy's Zip-Code Insulation Program to determine how much insulation you should add and where to achieve the recommended insulation levels for maximum energy efficiency.
Estimating costs and payback
See the page on estimating the payback period of additional insulation.
Deciding what type of insulation to add
If you decide to add insulation to your home, review the information on the types of insulation available to help you decide what type to use and where.