Insulating Your New Home

Insulating a new home during construction is much more cost effective than going back and adding insulation after the house is built. These basic guidelines can help you understand your insulation needs.

Understand the Benefits of Proper Insulation

Whether you are building a new house for yourself or building to sell, proper insulation plays a key role in comfort and savings. During the summer, insulation reduces the amount of cooled air from escaping your home, preventing your air conditioner from having to work as hard. In the winter months, it is insulation’s role to keep the warm air from escaping through any gaps near your doors, windows, walls, and roof. Kansas weather, in particular, can range from blistering hot summers to below-freezing winters — making insulation a year-round necessity.

Know How Much to Insulate

Source: Energy Outfitter: Energy Savings Solutions

Source: Energy Outfitter: Energy Savings Solutions

Choosing an insulation company that understands your climate can make a huge difference in making sure you have the right amount of insulation. Insulation’s resistance to conductive heat flow is based on its thickness and density and is measured in R-values. The greater the R-value of your insulation, the greater the insulating effectiveness. For the Wichita area, we recommend having a minimum of R-38 insulation. If you are interested in finding the recommended R-value for another area, the Home Energy Saver Energy Calculator is a great tool.

Choosing Between the Standard Level or Additional Insulation

Some builders choose to install the standard level of insulation into homes (rather than the optimal level) in order to keep selling prices competitive. While this may attract some buyers, it is a better investment for the prospective home buyer to purchase a house that comes with additional insulation. Having to add insulation, later on, is not only a hassle, but it is also less economical.

Insulate in the Right Areas

To properly insulate a new home, you should consider all of the key areas where insulation may be needed. This usually entails insulating from the roof of the construction all the way down to the home’s foundation. Some of the most crucial areas for insulation include unfinished attic spaces, exterior walls, and floors above any cold spaces (e.g. above unheated garages). Building a new home is a huge task and one that should be done correctly. Contact our local home insulation advisors to ensure you are installing the proper insulation at the proper time.

Source: energy.gov

Examples of Where to Insulate:

1. In unfinished attic spaces, insulate between and over the floor joists to seal off living spaces below. If the air distribution is in the attic space, then consider insulating the rafters to move the distribution into the conditioned space. (1A) attic access door

2. In finished attic rooms with or without dormer, insulate (2A) between the studs of “knee” walls, (2B) between the studs and rafters of exterior walls and roof, (2C) and ceilings with cold spaces above. (2D) Extend insulation into joist space to reduce air flows.

3. All exterior walls, including (3A) walls between living spaces and unheated garages, shed roofs, or storage areas; (3B) foundation walls above ground level; (3C) foundation walls in heated basements, full wall either interior or exterior.

4. Floors above cold spaces, such as vented crawl spaces and unheated garages. Also insulate (4A) any portion of the floor in a room that is cantilevered beyond the exterior wall below; (4B) slab floors built directly on the ground; (4C) as an alternative to floor insulation, foundation walls of unvented crawl spaces. (4D) Extend insulation into joist space to reduce air flows.

5. Band joists.

6. Replacement or storm windows and caulk and seal around all windows and doors.

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory 

Building a new home is a huge task and one that should be done correctly. Contact our local home insulation advisors to ensure you are installing the proper insulation at the proper time.

For more information on insulation, read the Insulation Contractors Association of America (ICAA) to find out the value of insulation in new construction.