Given how much energy and money we pour into heating and cooling our homes, it makes sense that you'd want to preserve that conditioned air as long as possible.
Insulation plays a key role in keeping your hard-won controlled climate right where it needs to be, by maintaining your temperature as long as possible.
When hiring an insulation pro for your home, ask these questions:
Will you address air leaks in home?
Sealing air leaks is a critical part of any insulation project. Worthwhile pros will stop unwanted air flow before they add insulation. Avoid working with a contractor who doesn't provide this service. In many cases, addressing air leaks is equally as important as the insulation installation itself.
Can you provide a (heat resistance value) R-value fact sheet?
Your insulation's effectiveness is measured in thermal resistance, otherwise known as R-value. A higher R-value means the insulation is better at slowing down heat. The ideal R-value for your home depends on what kind of space you're insulation and the climate you live in. Make sure your pro provides a fact sheet that explains the R-value of your materials. Most home insulation is rated between R13 and R60, with the highest R-value usually reserved for the attic.
What kind of insulation will work best for my home?
Different needs will require different types of insulation. Working with a pro who is knowledgeable about the different types of insulation and their best uses will ensure a successful project. Avoid working with a pro who cannot provide recommendations.
How will you handle the sign of a water leak?
Leaks can pose a major problem to your new insulation, especially in attics. Be sure your pro will alert you to leaks and provide the necessary solution (which can sometimes be calling a roofing pro or plumber). Fixing a leak can delay your job and incur extra costs, but installing your new insulation over excess moisture can cause major problems later.
What kind of rebates or tax credits are available for this work?
Because insulation is an essential part of energy efficiency, you can take advantage of many tax credits available from government agencies and rebates from utility companies. The exact details vary by region and type of material, so ensure your insulation contractor knows how to maximize your benefits. Some utility companies maintain a list of preferred providers, so find out if your utility company recommends specific contractors.
How much will insulation cost?
Insulation costs an average of $2,500. Most job costs range between $1,700 and $2,100. The range varies based on the type of insulation used and locations of installation.
Spray foam -- Spray foam insulation sticks to everything it touches, and so it can be easily sprayed into unusually shaped rooms. Typically, you can expect to pay between $2 and $5 per square foot.
Blown-in -- The average cost for blown-in insulation (also called loose fill) is about $1 to $4 per square foot. It's one of the least expensive options. Thicker insulation will cost more since it takes longer and requires more materials to install.
Batt and roll -- The average cost for batt and roll insulation is about $2 to $4 per square foot. Fiberglass insulation can come in the form of batts or rolls, and the type and thickness will impact cost.
Tweet your home care questions with #AskingAngi and we'll try to answer them in a future column.