How to Measure Your Insulation

To inspect your insulation you need to have proper lighting, a tape measure, pen and paper and a screw driver. Start by walking around your home and identifying areas that could have different insulation details. You home will have at a minimum insulation in the walls, ceilings, some flooring and your attic. Write down a list of these areas and record your findings.

Inspecting your Open Attic

If you home has a pitched roof and an open attic, you’ll need to enter through the hatch which could be outdoors, in a hallway or a closet. Once you enter your attic, make sure to walk on the trusses or boards laid down across for sure footing.

Inspect the insulation and identify the type of insulation. Fiberglass batts are yellow or pink and come in rolls. Loose-fill fiberglass is either yellow, pink or white and looks like batts that are chopped up. Cellulose looks like chopped up newspapers and is a dark gray in color.

If you are dealing with batts, it is easy to tell the R-value of the insulation as is printed on the outside plastic or paper. If you’re evaluating loose-fill insulation, measure the tickness all the way down to the top of the ceiling surface. If it varies in depth, take an average of thicknesses, calculate and record the R-value according to an insulation chart.

Inspecting Closed Cavities

The most common type of closed cavity is within your walls. In a framed house, the walls are framed with 2″X4 with the insulation between the studs. If you have vaulted ceilings, your insulation will be above the ceiling cavity instead of the attic. Closed cavities can also be installed above garages or above crawl spaces. These floor vaults vary in thickness but should have 6 to 12 inches of insulation.

Re-insulating a closed cavity in your home can solve the comfort level of a home if previously poorly insulated. The trick to inspecting vaults is to find access to look inside. To complete the inspection, you will need a flashlight, screwdriver, tape measure and pen and paper. You may also need a drill in some instances too.

To inspect wall insulation, look for an opening around plumbing or electrical. A good place too look is under a kitchen sink or around a window if it is an outside wall. If you have dry wall, you can always cut a piece out and replace afterwords. Once you have your access hole, look in the cavity with you flashlight and see what type of insulation your wall has. tray and determine the thickness with your tools. If you are able, figure out how hight the insulation goes in your wall. Compare the different areas of your home with the type of insulation used and its thickness.

If your cavities are full of insulation, then you’ll need to direct your insulation improvement efforts somewhere else. If you have the funds and want to improve the insulation on areas that are full, this will still help improve your home’s energy efficiency.

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