Did you know that if your home was built between 1988 and 1998, you are likely living in one of the 46 million under-insulated homes in the U.S? That’s from a 2003 study from the Harvard School of Public Health.
That’s a shame considering how much insulation helps lower your electric bills. So how do you know if your attic is under-insulated?
How do I know if I need more insulation?
Insulating your attic is one of the most cost effective things you can do to save on your heating & cooling bills year round. Throw in rebate incentives your utility company may offer, and it’s a win-win for everyone!
ENERGY STAR states that if your attic insulation is just level with or below your attic’s floor joists, you definitely need to add more insulation. If you can’t see your joist, go ahead and measure how deep your insulation is. If it’s less than 11 inches (fiberglass or rock wool) or 8 inches (cellulose), which is equivalent to around an R-30, you could probably benefit by adding more.
OK, so yeah, I need more, but how much more, you might be thinking.
How Much More Insulation Needs Added?
The amount of insulation you need depends where you live and is measured by the R-value, which measures the insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the R-value, the better.
The Department of Energy has an insulation calculator that gives you the estimated R-value your attic needs based on your zip code, whether your home is new or built earlier, and what type of fuel you use to heat your home.
For most Midwest homes, the R-value should be between R49-R60.
Once you know the R-value needed, use this insulation calculator to give you a good idea of how much insulation you need. The calculator takes into consideration how much insulation you already have and the size of your attic. Don’t want to crawl around in your attic? No problem. We’ve got people to do that for you.
Calculating the payback period
You might be wondering, “is it really worth paying for more insulation?”
If your home’s attic lacks the R-value it needs, then the question is really, “When will it pay for itself?” Because, eventually, it will!
To see how many years it will take until you’ll break even, use Finehomebuilding.com’s insulation payback tool.