Insulation Smart

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Questions to Ask

Chances are you'll spend more time shopping for your next car than your next insulation.

Consider this. Just as a poor car purchase decision can increase ongoing fuel and maintenance costs and shorten vehicle life, a poor insulation purchase can increase home energy and maintenance costs and shorten the lifespan of your home. Use this handy checklist to ask the right questions and to cut through the confusion when speaking to an insulation retailer, dealer or contractor.

Know the insulation score! 10 questions to ask your retailer, dealer or contractor
Three Easy Steps:

A) Make a copy of this handy checklist for each insulation option you are considering.

B) Put a checkmark next to each question if the insulation answers the challenge.

C) Add up the checkmarks to score each insulation.

1. How well does the insulation control air leakage that can account for up to 50% of a home's energy loss?
2. Can the insulation create an air barrier without the use of extra finishing materials (tape, gaskets, plastic wrap) and labor?
3. How quickly will the insulation pay for itself? Could the monthly savings outweigh the monthly cost of financing?
4. How well does the insulation reduce air leakage in hard-to-insulate areas such as rim joists, cathedral ceilings, crawlspaces, garages, etc without extra materials?
5. Can the insulation help reduce the size and cost of heating and cooling equipment?
6. Will the insulation minimize air infiltration to help keep out allergens, dust and other outdoor pollutants?
7. Will the insulation shift with the home as it settles and keep its R-value over time? (If gaps or seams exist in the material, R-value is sacrificed).
8. How well will the insulation dry out, if it gets wet (i.e. through a roof leak)? Will it keep its insulating properties through the wetting and drying process? Is it a food source for mold?
9. Does the insulation contribute to a "greener" home? Will it improve indoor air quality? How much will it reduce energy consumption? Will it reduce the need for finishing materials to lessen the environmental impact during construction?
10. Can the insulation help control sound (around plumbing, between rooms, street noise)?
Insulation Product = ______________

Score = ___ / 10

Get Smart
There's more to insulation than R-value. If an insulation retailer, dealer or contractor tries to sell you on higher R-values than are required by code, ask for the expected payback in energy savings.

Check out our R-value Reality Check.
If you're told adding R-value beyond local code recommendations is a good investment, get a second opinion, fast!

Need more help?
See the Insulation Comparison Chart

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