There are many reasons why you might want or need to install insulation in various parts of your house. Your house may be old and the insulation is the original insulation. Your insulation may not be up to code. Your insulation may not be thick enough to insulate well. When you decide to install insulation, there are some pitfalls that you should avoid:
- Do not remove the backing from fiberglass insulation. The backing is there to help you avoid problems in your home from condensation and rot. It is called a ‘vapor barrier’ and routes moisture throughout your home. The backing should be installed against the wall or house.
- Do not cover any ventilation with fiberglass insulation and do not wrap wiring with insulation. Insulation can be flammable.
- Don’t allow gaps in your attic. If you do find small gaps, use spray foam or seal with caulk.
- Often, attic doors are not insulated. If yours is not, place insulation against the attic door and then add weather stripping around the edges of the door. Without these precautions, a great deal of conditioned air will escape through this door.
- Don’t skimp on the amount of insulation you put in your home. If you are generous with insulation, your home will regulate and maintain temperature much better.
- Use as high an R-value as possible. R-value measures heat transfer through the insulation. A higher R-value means that less heat can be transmitted through the insulation. Using low R-value insulation is not effective.
- Although your old insulation may look dirty and grimy, do not remove it. Instead, add insulation over the top of your old insulation. This is much more effective in the long run and will save you money. The only reason you should remove your old insulation is if it is inundated with mold.
- Make sure that after you have installed your insulation, you have no gaps against the walls. Gaps that cannot be filled with batted insulation can be filled with foam or blown in loose fill.
- Do not use fiberglass insulation in basements. Fiberglass traps mold well and basements are notorious for having moisture problems. Instead, use closed cell foam board and spray for basement installation.
- Never place insulation close to water heaters, oil burners or anything hot. The backing is especially flammable and will be a major fire hazard for your home.
Although it is best to call a professional to install insulation in your home, you can do this yourself if you do your homework, read directions and follow directions carefully. With the proper insulation your home will be extremely energy efficient.