At MIG Building Systems, we are always doing our industry research to stay up-to-date with the latest insulation knowledge. We recently read a Democrat & Chronicle article by Jerry Ludwig that answered an important insulation question for a concerned homeowner whose ranch house was built in the 1960s. He wanted to know what types of insulation he should choose for his attic, which desperately needs to be reinsulated. He also wondered what other areas of his home should be insulated to prepare for the upcoming winter months, specifically asking about the basement.
As colder temperatures are rapidly approaching, we thought everyone could benefit from learning how to properly insulate an attic or update the existing insulation, especially for an older home. Keep reading for highlights of Ludwig’s article along with our own insulation tips.
Insulating an Older Home
Older homes usually still have the original insulation in place and should be updated for efficiency. According to Ludwig, “The best solution is to remove the existing insulation and start over in the attic.” A thin layer of foam can be applied over the attic floor, which “helps seal any air gaps between heated and unheated areas of the home.” This is an important step in the insulation process because pipes and wires that run from the basement to the attic often create gaps that allow heat from the home to fill the attic space.
After the foam is applied, add about 12 inches of fiberglass or cellulose insulation (Ludwig, J). We are often asked which insulation material is the right choice, but the truth is that it heavily depends on budget and the project at hand. Fiberglass may be a better option when your home is located in a wet area because it doesn’t tend to absorb water. However, cellulose uses less energy to manufacture and generally costs less than fiberglass, so if you’re on a budget, it may be the better choice for you.
Ludwig makes a good point when he suggests:
“Baffles placed at the eaves will help to prevent the insulation from blocking air flow from the soffits. The attic access panel or attic stairway should also be properly insulated. Rigid foam rather than loose insulation may help here.”
Another option is to leave the original insulation in place and simply add more to it, but this method is not as effective as removing the existing insulation and starting over fresh. If your insulation is damaged or old, it’s important to replace it instead of simply adding more. Leaving dirty or contaminated insulation in your home could result in health issues, so it’s better to be safe and upgrade your insulation when in doubt. Finding and sealing air leaks in your attic will help prevent insulation damage in the future.
What Areas of the Home Should Be Insulated?
Insulating your home is a great way to enhance its year-round comfort and efficiency. The following areas are just a few of the places that can benefit from being properly insulated:
- Basements – The home can absolutely benefit from insulating the basement. The perimeter of the basement and the upper portions of the foundation are a good place to start. Basement insulation can reduce your energy costs and make your home more comfortable in the winter. Talk to one of MIG’s insulation experts to find out the ideal solution for your basement. It’s hard to tell exactly which areas need to be insulated until we inspect your home.
- Walls – Exterior wall insulation is a good solution for energy savings. If you notice your house is drafty or each room is a different temperature, you probably need more wall insulation in your home. Properly insulated walls can help reduce outside noises and increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems.
- Crawl Spaces – If you have crawl spaces in your home, it’s a good idea to insulate them. It’s important to find out whether your crawl spaces are ventilated or not before you begin the insulation process. When your crawl space is properly insulated, it helps improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home.
Home Insulation Services in the Rochester & Syracuse, NY Areas
The insulation experts at MIG Building Systems will work with you to determine the ideal insulation materials and processes to suit your Upstate New York home. It’s important to be prepared for the upcoming winter months, so contact us today to schedule your insulation service.
References: Ludwig, J. (2015, Oct 7). Ludwig: Upgrading insulation. Retrieved from: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/money/2015/10/07/ludwig-upgrading-insulation/73516892/.