Insulating An Existing Home

Many older homes are not adequately insulated which results in a lower energy efficiency and higher energy bill$. To improve house-hold energy efficiency for your customers start by checking the insulation in the home. You’ll first want to check places bordering unheated spaces such as a garage. The structural elements are usually exposed in these areas, which makes it easy to see what type of insulation you have and to measure its depth or thickness (inches).

Inspect the exterior walls using an electrical outlet:

  1. Turn off the power to the outlet.
  2. Remove the outlet cover and shine a flashlight into the crack around the outlet box. You should be able to see if there is insulation in the wall and possibly how thick it is.
  3. Pull out a small amount of insulation if needed to help determine the type of insulation.
  4. Check outlets on the first and upper floors, if any, and in old and new parts of a house. Just because you find insulation in one wall doesn’t mean that it is everywhere in the house.

Inspect and measure the thickness (inches) of any insulation in unfinished basement ceilings & walls, or above crawl spaces. If the crawl space isn’t ventilated, it may have insulation in the perimeter wall. If the house is relatively new, it may have been built with insulation outside the basement or foundation walls. If so, the insulation in these spaces won’t be visible. The builder or the original homeowner might be able to tell you if exterior insulation was used.

Once you’ve determined the type of insulation your customers’ have in these areas and its thickness (inches), you can now determine that R-value of the insulation in the home and properly assess if additional insulation needs to be installed to help with energy efficiently.