Many homes, especially older ones, were built with insufficient attic insulation. Heat escapes through poorly insulated attics in winter, and enters in summer, causing you to use more energy controlling indoor temperatures. Installing blown in attic insulation is an effective solution to improve energy efficiency and comfort.
Blown in insulation refers to loose fill materials like fiberglass or cellulose that are blown into attic spaces using special equipment. Read on to learn all about the benefits of upgrading to blown in attic insulation.
Why Blown in Insulation is Ideal for Attics
Loose fill blown in insulation has become the go-to method for insulating attics because of these advantages:
Air Sealing Ability
Loose insulation completely fills gaps and settles around any obstructions. This creates a consistent barrier without weak points subject to air leaks.
Adjusts Around Obstacles
Ductwork, wires, chimneys and other obstructions are common in attics. Blown in insulation easily fills in around these elements for seamless coverage.
No Supports Needed
Batts require installation of supports along rafters first. Blown in insulation stands on its own and conforms to the unique shape of each attic.
Unlike some other insulation types, blown in insulation can usually be added with minimal disruption to the home. No need to tear apart walls or move furniture.
You can obtain thicker insulation and higher R-values by blowing in loose fill versus using batts. More thickness means more air sealing capacity.
Cost Effective Installation
Blowing in insulation goes faster and requires less labor than installing and shaping batts. Overall installation costs are very reasonable.
Choosing Between Fiberglass and Cellulose
There are two main types of loose fill insulation to choose from – fiberglass and cellulose. Both have pros and cons to weigh:
- Made from spun glass fibers
- Good acoustic insulation against sound
- Non-combustible material
- Lower material cost than cellulose
- Effective in hot and humid climates
- Potential skin irritation during installation
- Some air pollution concerns during manufacture
- Made from recycled paper/cardboard
- Higher R-value per inch than fiberglass
- Good moisture resistance
- Minimal dust during installation
- Made from recycled materials
- Cost competitive with fiberglass
- Settles over time so needs occasional topping off
Most insulation pros recommend cellulose for its higher performance and environmental benefits. But fiberglass works well too.
How Much Insulation Is Needed?
Determining how much insulation to blow in depends on several factors:
- Your climate zone – colder regions need more insulation
- Current insulation levels and type
- Condition of existing insulation
- Size and shape of your attic space
- Accessibility concerns in your attic
Some general guidelines on attic insulation levels:
- R-30 minimum for southern climates
- R-38 – R-49 recommended for northern regions
- More for cathedral ceilings or unconditioned spaces
An insulation contractor can evaluate your attic and make detailed recommendations tailored to your specific needs. Leaving some extra room for settling over time is also wise.
Air Sealing For Maximum Efficiency
For blown in insulation to work effectively, any air leaks in the attic need to be found and sealed. This air sealing step is crucial to prevent cooled or heated indoor air from escaping into the attic.
Areas that need thorough sealing include:
- Penetrations from pipes, wires, vents
- Gaps around chimneys or ducting
- Junction between walls and attic floor
- Knee walls and sloped ceiling transitions
- Access hatches and any dropped soffit areas
- Uninsulated can light housings (may need box extenders)
Caulk, spray foam, and weatherstripping can seal leaks for improved energy efficiency.
What’s Involved in Professional Installation?
Having blown in insulation installed by professional insulation contractors follows this general process:
Inspection and Prep Work
- Inspect attic space for any needed repairs or ventilation improvements
- Install protective barrier around attic access area
- Perform air sealing work as outlined above
Blowing in Insulation
- Use large hoses to spray in insulation, usually cellulose or fiberglass
- Work systematically through entire attic space to distribute insulation evenly
- Check depth sticks periodically to gauge insulation thickness
- Install 20-30% above final target depth to account for settling
- Remove any excess insulation and debris
- Inspect final insulation levels and make sure they are sufficient
- Install additional insulation in any low spots as needed
- Attach tag with insulation info (R-value, thickness, date)
Reputable insulation companies guarantee their coverage and make sure the job is done right.
Benefits of Properly Installed Insulation
Once your attic is properly insulated with blown in materials, you will begin enjoying benefits like:
- Improved energy efficiency and lower utility bills
- More consistent temperatures throughout the year
- Less outside noise entering living spaces
- Less pollen, dust and humidity in living areas
- Added fire protection from exposure to heat or sparks
- Increased home value with updated insulation
Blown in insulation delivers excellent performance for energy savings and home comfort when properly installed. Contact insulation contractors near you for quotes on upgrading the insulation in your attic space. Your budget and your family will thank you!