Does My Home Have Enough Insulation?

According to a stat published by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), 90 percent of all the homes in the U.S. are under-insulated.  If this is true, what measures can a homeowner take to make sure his or her insulation proves to be sufficient?

The primary considerations for determining if you have enough insulation are threefold:

  • consider where in the U.S. you live;
  • calculate the “R value” of your insulation; and
  • factor in the age of your home.

Where You Live

When factoring the geographic location of your home into your research, most experts seem to divide the country into five climate zones. These follow mostly ‘common sense’ lines.  For instance, the highest levels of insulation recommended follow a northern track across the coldest states, such as Minnesota or Maine. Then you will find layers of temperature variation as you proceed south; for example, Kansas and Missouri fall within a middle range.  By contrast, the southern-most point of Florida, where temps rarely reach freezing marks, show the lowest in insulation rating numbers.  

R Value

The substance or material your insulation is made of is the next consideration.  You want to determine the “R Value” it offers.  Most people have fiberglass insulation installed in their walls and attic.  Hence the first step to take is simple: measure the depth of your fiberglass in inches and multiply it by 2.5.  Some people may have rock wool in their homes.  If so, the formula calls for you to measure depth of your insulation and multiply it by 2.8, then you can determine the R Value, a widely-accepted measurement for determining the efficiency of the substance used in insulation.  Florida requirements for insulation levels in residential homes states that:

  • For framed walls, the insulation level should be at least R-13 or higher.
  • For block walls, the interior insulation must be at least R-7.8 or better.
  • For block walls, the exterior insulation must be R-6 or better.
  • Ceiling insulation must be R-30 or higher.
  • Raised floors must have an insulation level of R-13 or higher.

Age of Home

Finally, the last factor is easy to assess.  You need to consider the age of your home.  Older homes typically require more insulation.  If your home is over ten years old then you may need to add more insulation.  You can use the above method to measure your current insulation levels or hire a home inspector to check your insulation levels and make recommendations.

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