Home Insulation FAQ: Cost, Safety, and Installation Questions Answered

Properly insulating your home is a large undertaking and homeowners have many questions about their insulation project and what insulation is all about. Read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about insulation.

Can new insulation be added on top of existing insulation?

Yes, new home insulation can be added over old insulation. Energy Star explains that “unless your old insulation is wet (or has been previously wet), moldy, smelly, or contains animal waste, contractors can just add new insulation on top. It is usually not necessary to remove existing insulation.” It is important though to have an insulation contractor inspect your insulation first.

I’m adding fiberglass insulation to my attic. Do I need to air seal my attic too?

Yes, because fiberglass insulation is not an air barrier. It provides a thermal blanket but does not prevent conditioned air inside the home from escaping through penetrations in the attic (e.g., chimney chases, venting, etc.). This air loss can result in increased energy use. Air sealing stops the escape of air from the home.

What is the difference between fiberglass insulation and cellulose insulation?

Fiberglass is made from melted sand which is spun much like cotton candy. It comes in batt form that can be cut and fit into wall cavities and in loose form that can be blown into attics. Cellulose is a loose fill product made of newspaper and treated to be fire retardant that can be blown into attics and dense packed into closed cavities.

Can spray foam insulation be installed in an existing home?

Yes, spray foam insulation can be installed in an existing home. Be aware though, it does not bond well with other insulation materials such as fiberglass or other old insulation, so that must be removed first.

What is the difference between open cell and closed cell foam insulations?

Closed cell spray foam insulation is made up of cells that are closed and packed tightly together. They are filled with gas that helps the foam rise and expand. Closed cell foam is a greater insulator due to its denser properties. Open cell spray foam insulation is made up of cells that are not completely closed. The cells are broken and air fills all the “open” space inside the material.

Can I write off my insulation install on my taxes?

You can receive a tax credit for energy saving upgrades added to your home, such as installing insulation, replacing windows and doors, or upgrading to a more efficient heating and cooling system. There are conditions and exceptions to the credit, so check out the ENERGY STAR website for the most up-to-date information.

Is my current insulation a health risk?

When properly installed, insulation is usually not a health risk. Handling insulation directly without personal protective equipment can cause skin and breathing irritations. It is recommended to have a professional inspect, test and remove old and damaged insulation (especially if it contains asbestos), as well as install new insulation. This will ensure that harmful loose fibers will be properly contained and not inhaled.

What type of insulation should I use?

The type of insulation you should use depends on your insulation project. Each type will increase the energy efficiency of your home and help lower your energy bill. An insulation expert can help you decide which type of insulation is best suited for your space, budget and local climate. The most commonly used insulation types in the Tallahassee area are: cellulose, fiberglass, spray foam, and foam board. Read more at the Department of Energy website.

Is installing home insulation a DIY project?

While it is doable to install certain types of insulation yourself, it is not recommended. There are several reasons why hiring a professional to install your home’s insulation is the wisest choice, including: DIY installation can be dangerous, the insulation might be installed incorrectly, the wrong insulation might be used, and a lack of proper equipment.

How do I prevent moisture from getting in the insulation?

Water vapor is always present in the air around us while things in our home create even more moisture. Installing insulation with the proper thickness will help prevent this moisture and increase the resistance to heat flow or transfer in your home. A vapor diffusion retarder can also be used to reduce moisture, especially if you are using a porous insulation material. Learn more at the Department of Energy website.

Why hire a professional insulation contractor rather than a home improvement or general contractor?

Professional insulation contractors are the best choice for your insulation needs because they are experts in their field. You can have peace of mind that your insulation will be installed correctly and safely the first time. Professional insulation contractors know cutting-edge installation techniques, how to maximize rebates for homeowners, and have the proper tools for the job.

Can insulation help reduce unwanted sound?

Yes, insulation is excellent at reducing unwanted sound from both outside and inside your home. Insulation absorbs sound vibrations which reduces the amount of noise. Different insulation types insulate sound at varying degrees. Fiberglass is a popular choice for soundproofing.

How much insulation should my house have?

The amount of insulation a house needs is dependent on its location. The amount of insulation a home needs is expressed in its R-value or insulating power. A home in the Tallahassee area needs much less insulating power than a home in Minnesota or Maine. Different types of insulation have different levels of R-value. For attic insulation, a Tallahassee home should have an R-value of 30 to 60 for an uninsulated attic, or R25 to R38 for an attic with existing insulation. These recommended R-values can change.

What should I know before hiring an insulation contractor?

Choosing the right insulation contractor for the job can be tough. Check out the insulation companies in your area with a Google search and do your research before signing your name on the dotted line. Read online reviews and ask friends and family for their recommendations. Make sure a company is licensed, bonded, and insured and never forget to ask for everything in writing, including a completion date.

Where can I get more information about insulation?

Contact the insulation experts at Allweather Insulation for the answers to all your insulation questions. We have been installing quality insulation in residential and commercial buildings, both old and new, throughout the Tallahassee area since 1955, and are an approved insulation provider for the City of Tallahassee.

664 Capital Circle Northeast
Tallahassee, FL 32301
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