It may not be as “sexy” as installing a new kitchen or investing in a high-tech HVAC system, but if you want one of the best bang-for-the-buck ways to add value to your Massachusetts home (or to save money on your home energy bill), look no further than adding insulation to your attic.
A home should be insulated anywhere where heated or cooled air may encounter outdoor air or an unconditioned space. Some key areas to insulate include the attic, duct system, exterior walls, any interior wall that is next to an unconditioned space, foundations, floors with cold spaces below (such as a crawl space or unheated garage), and ceilings with cold spaces above (such as an attic). To learn more about places to insulate your home, see this graphic.
An R-value measures the resistance of heat flow through the insulation; the higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation is. The R-value is depends on the type of insulation material, its thickness, and its density, along with where and how the insulation is installed. Choosing the right type and amount of insulation for your home depends on factors ranging from the location of your home to the type of heating system you use. Here’s a guide to recommended R-values by region, courtesy of energystar.gov.
If you want to add insulation to an existing home, you need to find out where, how much, and what type of insulation is already in place. There are a few hopeful videos online (here’s one from EnergyStar on checking your attic’s insulation), but by far the best way to do it is to get a professional home energy audit.