Layer Up: How to Choose the Right Insulation

Home Heating and Cooling

Why is insulation a good idea? How much time do you have? Besides keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer (which saves energy and lowers costs), it absorbs sound from noisy appliances, and controls moisture from cooking, washing, and bathing. Oh, and we’ll also help you pay for it

Now that you’re sold on why you should have insulation, here is how to do it the right way.

Know your R’s.

The R-value stands for “resistance” and determines how thick your insulation should be to keep heat from escaping your home. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power, but remember that recommendations vary depending on region. 

  • Attic: R30 to R60
  • 2×4 walls: R13 to R15
  • 2×6 walls: R19 to R21
  • Floors: R25
  • Crawlspaces: R19 to R25

We recommend consulting with a PSO-approved service provider to find out what R-value is best suited for your home’s need. You may even qualify for a PSO rebate if you upgrade to more energy-efficient insulation.

Types of insulation.

There are several different types of insulation, and each has its own unique characteristics. Here are the most common types and where they work the best.

  • Blanket (batts and rolls): DIY-friendly and relatively inexpensive. Use it for standard stud and joist spacing.
  • Sprayed foam and foamed-in-place: Another popular method, this is super effective for adding insulation to finished areas, irregularly shaped areas, and around obstructions. Closed-cell foam is more expensive, but lets out way less heat.
  • Loose-fill and blown-in: Whether the material is cellulose, fiberglass, or even rock or slag wool, this insulation is blown or poured into place in existing finished areas, irregularly shaped areas, and around obstructions.

For more types of insulation (there’s a lot) check out the Department of Energy’s page.

Keep out insects and rodents.

Bugs and other vermin have been known to chew through insulation. To keep your insulation bug free, apply insecticide to the panels, treat the area both before and after with insecticide, and keep outdoor plantings at least two feet away from the walls.

When it comes to saving energy, it’s always great to insulate.