Home Insulation

Energy Myth: Some insulation products are better than others.

Fact: Different insulation types have slightly different R-Values; however, any insulation is only as good as it is installed, at the right depth and with proper air-sealing prior to installation.

Home Series Booklet: Home Insulation (PDF)

No-Cost/Low-Cost Tips:

  • Evaluate your home for its insulation potential. Insulation should be installed on any surface separating a heated space from an unheated space. Look for the following: ceiling at R-30 to 38 (12 to 14 inches depending on insulation type), walls at R-13, floors over unheated spaces R-19. See all of Home Insulation.
  • Before you insulate, it's necessary to stop air leaks in your home. If you don't tighten your home, money spent on insulation may be wasted. Caulk and seal all leakage areas prior to adding insulation. See Home Tightening, page 2 of Home Insulation and pages 29 and 30 of Home Energy Projects.
  • Check the attic for good ventilation. A well ventilated attic will not only reduce problems with moisture build-up but it can also reduce cooling costs in the summer by 10% or more. Good natural ventilation makes attic fans unnecessary. See pages 6 and 7 of Home Insulation.
  • Adding ceiling insulation is the lowest cost way insulation can improve energy efficiency. The do-it-yourselfer can easily add insulation to an attic with two people in one day. Pull up existing ceiling insulation that covers interior walls and seal the holes made for the plumbing and electrical wiring. See page 8 of Home Insulation.

Investment:

  • Insulation should be installed on any surface separating a heated space from an unheated space. See page 3 of Home Insulation.
  • Floor insulation can also be done by the do-it-yourselfer. See page 14 of Home Insulation and pages 37 and 38 of Home Energy Projects.
  • Wall insulation in an existing home is expensive but a good investment in the long run. This will require a contractor. An excellent time to drill holes in the exterior walls is when adding or replacing you home's siding. All of the work will be under the new siding and the addition of the siding will only add to a well insulated wall. See page 16 of Home Insulation.
  • Windows can account for 10 to 25% of your heating load. For existing homes with single pane windows, add storm windows. For replacement windows or for new construction see pages 18 and 19 of Energy Savers and pages 15 through 18 of Home Tightening. Excellent information on the energy features of all types of windows can be found at the Efficient Windows Collaborative link below under "Other Links and Resources."
  • Use higher density insulation, such as rigid foam boards, in cathedral ceilings and on exterior walls of new construction. See page 5 of Home Insulation and chapter 2 of Energy Efficiency Tune-up.
  • For suggested insulation levels for your climate area in Arkansas see our Climate Zone Compliance Tools section.