Insulation Series 3: How Much Insulation Is Needed?

There’s nothing like spending less to keep your home at a comfortable temperature no matter how terrible the weather outside is. And now, it should be clear from reading parts one and two in the series that insulation plays a big role in this. But exactly how much do you need? Too little, and you may see ice dams in the bitter cold. Too much will stifle airflow and may lead to mildew and mold. The amount of insulation recommend for your house will vary depending upon two key factors:

  • Your Location: For example, you will need a lower R-value of insulation if you reside in Southern Texas and a higher R-value of insulation if you reside in Maine.
  • Your Home’s Age: A home that is more than 10 years old will in all likelihood require additional insulation. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to retrofit your house with insulation such as rock and slag wool and fiber glass.

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Finding the Right Level of Insulation

There are a few ways to quickly gauge the optimal amount of insulation for your home. The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) has created a great map as a reference that displays suggested levels of insulation for each of the seven designated climate zones. This map is based on the U.S. Department of Energy’s recommendations.


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Another helpful tool is Lowe’s Blown In Calculator. To judge how many bags of insulation you will need, this calculator measures four key variables:

  1. Current insulation depth
  2. Type (fiberglass or cellulose)
  3. Your R-value, i.e. how many inches you will need (See map)
  4. Your attic’s dimensions

So, how much does your home need? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t crystal clear That’s what the experts are for. The map and calculator may be helpful tools, but they can only give an estimation. The experts at Van Martin can give your home a free, no-obligation inspection and tell you exactly what areas of your home are improperly insulated and how to address these areas. Give us a call at (937) 222-7855.