If you are shopping for a home or already own a home I’m almost positive that you are not going into the attic.  I definitely think you should and take a tape measure or yard stick with you.  This article will deliver reasons why you want to maximize your insulation depth otherwise known as the “R – value” of a home.  The attic of a home is an area that you can increase your insulation depth reasonably cheap.  The Mundelein home inspection I performed had an insulation depth that I considered under depth and would require a repair replacement cost for my clients.  I like to see at least 12″ of insulation in an attic or R-38.  The building code in Illinois is 16″ or R-49.  When we build homes, we install R-60 which is 19″.  As most of you know, I’m a home inspector in Illinois and we are in one of the colder regions that requires more insulation depth.  I’ll explain the different types of insulation and why you might want to use one over the other.

  • Rolled fiberglass by Owen is a great product that I would use as a bottom layer in an attic, walls, in crawl spaces, sill plate areas, basement walls.  The rolled fiberglass product has a vapor barrier and is a great product in areas that moisture may enter.  This would be your whole home.  It is a great product when building a home, but is cumbersome when trying to use it in attics after the home is built.  Getting the bales of rolled fiberglass into the attic can be time consuming.
  • Blown in fiberglass is my favorite product for do it your selfers.   This product is easy to use and can be installed easily on a Sunday afternoon.  The cost of this product is about $1.00 a square ft. per 9″ of purchase material.  Most contractors will charge you $2.25 a square ft installed.  This product has an easy clean up and easy delivery into attics.  This blown in insulation is installed by a 2″ line that is connected to a pumping system that it services on the exterior of the home while the material is being installed by a worker in the attic.  This is the product that I suggested my clients from the Mundelein home inspection use in their attic for energy saving.
  • Styrofoam board is a great product that can be used in basement walls against the foundation.  I suggest that this product be totally sealed to prevent moisture build up in the walls that will eventually turn into mold.  This is a great product if installed properly.  This product was used in the basement of the Mundelein home inspection and seemed to be installed properly.  There was no evidence of water or moisture issues that could be seen with my Fluke thermal imager or Tramex moisture meter.

The bottom line is insulation will save you money on your utility bills if the proper amount of insulation is installed.  The R- value equations is 1″ of insulation is equal to 3.2 of a r-value.  It has been proven that a well insulated home will reduce your heating bills in half.   This is the same information I gave my clients from the Mundelein home inspection.

If you are still unsure of how the r-value of insulation is conceived, then please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

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