9 things you may not know about your home’s insulation

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You can buy energy efficient appliances and programmable thermostats, but a poorly insulated house will still cost you year after year. Here are nine things you may not know about insulating your home.

1. Insulation is measured in R-value – the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. Insulation that is compressed will not perform at its full R-value.

2. Here in Des Moines (Zone 5 on the map above), your attic should have between R38 and R60 insulation.

3. Need to know how much insulation you should have? Try this calculator.

4. Home insulation degrades over time – from small leaks that build up or from critters that get into the walls and steal insulation for their nests. Just because you had enough insulation 10 years ago doesn’t mean you do today.

5. Adding more insulation to your home will pay for itself in the long run – even on newer homes.

6. Spray-on foam insulation is very effective on exterior walls. R-values range from R-4 to R-6.5 per inch, which is up to 2 times greater than most other insulating materials of the same thickness.

7. One of the most cost-effective places to add insulation is in the attic – especially on the attic door (which often lacks insulation).

8. Adding insulation to exterior walls is more expensive and usually requires a contractor. But it may be worth the cost in a cold climate like Iowa.

9. MidAmerican Energy offers a free home energy check to make sure your insulation is up to the job.