Attics and Basements – Where to Insulate and Why

November 19, 2019by Whitson

Updated August 2023

Newly constructed attic prior to insulation.Understanding how to keep your Grand Rapids home comfortable and energy efficient throughout every Michigan season is important. The key to long term comfort and savings is installing the right amount of insulation, especially in your attic and basement. Navigating this process involves grasping insulation needs and guidelines and understanding factors like climate zone, desired R-value, and material types. This guide delves into the key considerations, assisting you in achieving an energy-efficient, comfortable, and economically sensible home by empowering you with practical insights to make informed decisions.

Importance and Benefits of Sufficient Insulation

Take advantage of the many benefits proper insulation brings to you and your home. Insulation creates a barrier against fluctuating indoor temperatures to increase your indoor comfort and reduce energy consumption. A consistent indoor temperature means less stress on your heating and cooling system which leads to lower energy bills and lower carbon emissions for a positive environmental impact and decreased carbon footprint. Plus, insulation has excellent soundproofing properties which enhance privacy and noise reduction. Combine insulation with air sealing to prevent air leakage and add vapor barriers to control moisture for a powerful duo of energy efficiency.

Factors to Consider

person reading an electricity billWhen installing insulation, several factors must be considered. Consider your climate zone, as insulation needs vary across regions. We require different levels of insulation in Michigan due to our unique climate demands. The R-value, a measure of insulation’s effectiveness, should guide insulation material choices, as different types of insulation, such as spray foam insulation or fiberglass blown in insulation, offer varying R-values. Furthermore, adherence to building codes and regulations is essential, ensuring compliance and safety. A well-informed approach encompassing these elements ensures optimal insulation for energy efficiency and comfort.

Insulation Guidelines by Area

Insulation guidelines vary by area within your home. The Department of Energy offers excellent insight into the best places to insulate, such as your attic and basement. In unconditioned attics, insulate between and over the floor joists to prevent heat transfer. For conditioned attics, insulate the sloped roof and walls to maintain a comfortable environment. Extra exterior wall insulation can be added if your home feels uncomfortable even with adequate insulation and consider your soundproofing needs when insulating interior walls. Ensure your crawl space is properly insulated and encapsulated to protect the floor above and insulate your basement’s box sills to make your home more energy efficient. Air sealing is equally crucial to tackle gaps, cracks, and leaks to enhance overall insulation effectiveness and maximize energy efficiency.

Recommended Insulation Levels

Colder states like Michigan require a higher R-value to keep homes warm during the frigid winter months. According to an uninsulated Michigan attic needs a recommended level of R49-R60 of insulation to be properly insulated. The thickness of the insulation depends on the type of insulation being installed, whether cellulose, fiberglass, or spray foam insulation. Helpful resources, such as insulation calculators, can give you an accurate estimate of how much insulation may be required. A professional insulation installer will provide you with the most accurate information.

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

The temptation to go the DIY route with your basement or attic insulation installation can be very strong; the lure of saving money on insulation material and labor hard to pass up. But inexperience and lack of expertise may end up costing you more money in the long run. Professional installers have the experience, expertise, and equipment needed to guarantee your insulation is installed safely and correctly the first time. Rest assured that your insulation complies with all energy codes and regulations and that every insulation technique or assessment is done to ensure your insulation achieves its maximum energy efficiency. Balancing cost, expertise, and safety is crucial when deciding between these options, but it’s best to rely on the peace of mind a professional brings to the job.

Create an Energy Efficient Home from Top to Bottom

Fiberglass insulation in basement of custom home with new ductwork.Ensuring sufficient insulation in your attic and basement goes beyond mere comfort; it’s a strategic decision. Evaluate your insulation needs diligently and take proactive steps. A well-insulated home reaps enduring benefits, from energy savings to enhanced comfort to a smaller carbon footprint. Our expert team at Whitson Insulation is here to answer all your questions about insulation products and services for your home. We take pride in providing professional insulation services that assure our Grand Rapids customers enjoy a well-insulated home that stands the test of time. Contact us today to learn more.

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