What Tax Credits are available?
As of the beginning of fiscal year 2010, the Energy Star Tax Credit is 30% of the materials used in the installation up to $1500 (meaning if you receive a $600 tax credit for your insulation installation, you can still claim up to $900 in additional Energy Star rated products purchased in 2010) . All of our insulation products qualify for the Energy Star Tax Credit, and we present the customer with a certificate of tax credit eligibility from the manufacturer as well as an invoice with the labor and materials costs broken down individually for filing next year's taxes. For the latest information visit www.energystar.gov or www.irs.gov.
What does the term "R-Value" mean?
R-value is a measure of how well a material resists the passage of heat. The higher the R-value the more effective insulation is in keeping the home warm in winter and cool in summer. Insulation should always be judged by R-value rather than inches, as different insulation materials have different R-values per inch of thickness.
How much more insulation should I install?
Each area of the country has different recommended R-values for insulation. In the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky area, the United States Department of Energy recommends an R-49 in your attic. Every product has a different R-value, but as a rule of thumb, if you have six inches or less of insulation in the attic, it would be smart to add more insulation. You can always add more insulation in the attic on top of the existing insulation to achieve even more energy savings and comfort.
Do I have to take out the insulation that is already there?
Not necessarily. Adding more insulation has a cumulative impact on the overall R-value. In attics, if the insulation is damaged or improperly installed, in the case of fiberglass batt products, it might make sense to replace it completely with blown-in cellulose insulation. You can also add cellulose insulation on top of the existing insulation, improving the overall quality and R-value. In walls, it is possible for to install additional insulation so it compresses the existing material, completely filling the wall cavity with performance enhancing cellulose insulation.
Is it a good idea to insulate my walls?
If your walls currently have no insulation, insulation can be blown into the cavities through holes drilled through the interior or exterior of the home. By blowing in dense packed cellulose insulation into empty wall cavities, you can greatly reduce the amount of energy loss through the walls. If there is already some insulation in the walls, adding more to it will not be enough to produce a noticeable difference.
Do I really need to insulate my basement?
The importance of basement insulation depends on whether the basement is heated. If you heat your basement, or if your furnace or other sources of heat are in the basement, you should insulate the basement walls or band boards (if cement foundation) to contain the heat. If not, you should insulate the basement ceiling to reduce heat loss to the basement and keep your floors warmer.
How much insulation should I have under my floors?
Floors over unheated crawlspaces or basements should be insulated to R-19, while floors over open air (such as overhangs) should be insulated to R-30, if possible. If your home has a basement containing your heating system or other sources of heat, you should insulate the basement walls to R-13, rather than insulating the floor above.
Is it better to insulate my attic floor, the roof, or both?
Unless you are finishing the attic for living space, you should insulate the attic floor. Because your attic area is not a living area that needs to be temperature controlled, insulating the attic floor will create a heat barrier to block heat from either coming into or evaporating out of the living space. The general rule of thumb is that your attic should be no more than 5 degrees different than the outside temperature.
How much ventilation should I have in my attic?
In most cases, you should have one square foot of net-free vent area for each 150 square feet of attic floor area. Net-free area is the actual area that air can flow through. With screens and louvers, you can assume that is roughly half the gross area. We always install rigid foam baffles into the attic soffit areas to allow us to blow insulation into the pitch of the attic but not cut off the proper amount of ventilation.
Which is the best insulation for the environment?
That's easy – cellulose. Cellulose insulation is made from at least 80% recycled paper, primarily newsprint, giving it the highest recycled content of any insulation product. Cellulose insulation also has the lowest embodied energy score of any major insulation. It takes less energy to produce and transport cellulose insulation, which means fewer emissions are released in manufacturing it. Fiberglass uses approximately 10 times more energy than cellulose insulation to produce and transport, while foam products, derived from petroleum, use even more. In addition, neither of these products is recyclable.3
How much money can I save installing more insulation?
For a general idea on how much you could save on your utility bills by increasing your insulation, try using this savings calculator. My home has single-paned windows.
Would it be better to replace them with double-paned windows or to add storm windows?
Both double-paned or thermal windows and storm windows work by creating an insulating air space between the panes of glass. If your existing windows are in good shape, storm windows will usually be more cost-effective. If your existing windows are damaged or if you are replacing them for aesthetic reasons, you should install good quality double-paned windows. We use the #1 rated Consumers Digest window made by Alside, and can give you a free estimate on window replacement.