How Much Insulation Should a Home Have?
A well insulated home has lower fuel bills for heating and air conditioning than a similar home without insulation. Bills may be as much as 50 percent less when a home has been well insulated.
Determining the proper amount of insulation for a home is basically an economic decision. Fuel savings are balanced against the cost of insulation to determine optimum levels. In our region, considering fuel cost and expected weather conditions, current recommendations for insulation are R-30 for ceilings and R-19 for floors and walls. The "R" value is a measure of a materials ability to resist the flow of heat. The higher the "R" value, the better the insulation qualities of the material.
Remodelers will find ceilings the most accessible for adding insulation except for vaulted or cathedral ceilings. Uninsulated floors are the next place to consider. Unless you are planning to do extensive remodeling, you will find walls difficult to insulate. Previously uninsulated walls usually present no problem if a vapor barrier can be installed; however, partially insulated walls can be difficult and expensive to retrofit.