What “Shin Deep” Insulation Does For Your Electric Bill?

When I think about insulation as it relates to cool air I think about a lunch box. When a lunch box has that nice thick layer of that silver insulation, it keeps its contents nice and cool throughout the day. The same holds true for your home, if your home is properly insulated then your home remains cool throughout the day. Now let’s take that same lunch box and keep the lid open all day, what happens? Chances are the ice pack inside is going to be less effective and inevitably the contents are going to get warm. Having no lid on your lunch box is like having no insulation above your ceiling, in your attic.

As the sun beats down on your home all day it is slowly penetrating your attic and if there is not the proper amount and type of insulation up there, it is slowly seeping into your home and therefore making your air conditioning unit work harder. We all know that when any appliance works harder it take more energy and more energy is more money, we have quite a domino effect going here.

In order to find out if you have the right type or amount of insulation, take a peak in your attic. Can you see the boards that are holding your ceiling up, the trusses? If so, you are in need of more insulation. If you do see insulation, how deep is it? We recommend R30 – R38 blown insulation that it is at least 13″ deep (or up to your shin). Insulation comes in various “R Factors” the greater the R factor the more efficient the insulation.

If you do have insulation, what kind is it? Does it look like a bunch of old newspapers or some sort of dusty paper product? While this type of insulation has been around for some time and when used for a short period of time is effective; we do not recommend it. This could be a major culprit in why your home is so dusty. When this type of insulation is in your attic and you have a break or crack in your duct work, the velocity of the air coming through the ducts actually works as a vacuum through that break and pulls all that dust into the air flow which eventually makes its way into your air and home. It also does not work well with humid climates such as ours, as dampness shrinks paper.

If you’re in the process of building a home, do not cut corners on the insulation. While you might be saving a little money up front you will end up paying for it in the long run with higher electric bills. Make sure that as you are doing the walk-throughs with your contractor that you are asking about the type of insulation being installed.