Blown-in insulation has been used for many decades in homes all over the United States. It is often made from recycled newspaper in the form of cellulose. It insulates very well and has a higher than average R-value, depending on the depth that is blown.
- How it works: A mechanical blower is attached to a box full of cellulose. The installer points where they want the insulation to go through a hole in the wall and fills up the space.
- Types of blown-in insulation: Though there are several types of blown-in insulation available, the most common is loose-fill pelleted cellulose.
- Benefits of blown-in insulation: When packed densely into place, fire-proof cellulose loose-fill insulates very well. It is easily blown into tight places, which further increases the R-value. Additionally, it is moisture resistant, and the borate that it is treated with keeps insects and other vermin at bay.
- Cost: Calling in professional installers, such as Green ID, typically costs a homeowner $1500-$2000 for a 1500 square foot home.
Spray foam insulation seals leaks and gaps inside existing walls and is the perfect solution for those who are looking for a relatively inexpensive way to fix a larger problem, while increasing the home’s R-value.
- How it works: liquid polyurethane is sprayed into the cavity of the wall, where it then hardens and transforms into solid foam.
- Types of foam: Spray foam comes in two varieties: half-pound open-cell foam and a more dense type called two-pound closed-cell foam. Of the two, the two-pound variety does a better job at insulating, but isn’t always the right choice for the job or the budget.
- Benefits of spray foam: Of all the insulation types, closed-cell foam has the highest R-value of any type on the market, up to R6 per inch. Furthermore, spray foam takes up much less space than fiberglass or comparable blown-ins. Spray foam can save you as much as $500 per year in energy costs.
- Cost: Professional application of spray polyurethane is typically calculated by the board foot. Open-cell spray foam generally costs $0.35 to $0.55 per board foot. Closed-cell spray foam typically costs $1.00-$2.00 per board foot.
- To calculate the board footage of the space that you want to be insulated, multiply the area by the depth in inches. It should look like this: square feet x depth in inches = board feet. To calculate the price of the job, take the cost of the spray foam that you choose and apply it to your measurements. For example 2,000 board feet at a depth of 0.50 = $1,000.
Fiberglass batts are among the most inexpensive ways to insulate your home, especially when the walls are already open, like in an attic area. The important part about installing fiberglass batts is to pay close attention to how they are installed. One loose corner or tear reduces the R-value accrued from the installation.
- How it works: Large, rolled batts of fiberglass are designed to fit the standard amount of space between wall studs. They fill the large void and stop air from penetrating the exterior wall.
- Types of fiberglass batts: Fiberglass batts usually come in a single variety. The only real variance between one roll to another is overall thickness and color. Choose what works best based on what area of your home you are insulating and the recommended R-value for where you live.
- Benefits of fiberglass batts: Fiberglass batts are ideas for those who need to insulate quickly and save money in the process. They are installed fairly simply. When installed tightly and securely, fiberglass batts improve energy efficiency by up to 25 to 30 percent.
- Cost: The average cost per square foot is between $0.64-$1.19. So, for a 500 square foot area, your estimate will vary between $145-$200, for material costs alone. For a professional job, add between $150 and $300 for labor, resulting in a total cost of $300 to $500 for materials and 6 hours of labor.
Usually installed in attics to reduce summer heat and insulate against winter cold, radiant barriers are perfect for reducing heating and cooling bills, while increasing your home’s R-value. Reflective barriers, though different in design, function similarly.
- How it works: Reflective or radiant barriers are different from other insulation types due to their thermodynamics. While most insulation works by slowing heat flow, the basic principle of radiant and reflective barriers is that they reduce radiant heat gain instead of slowing it. For example, as the sun bears down on your roof, the heat transfers through the material radiating into your attic and warming it. While other insulations slow this heat transfer process, reflective or radiant barriers reflect and absorb to keep the area tepid.
- Types of reflective or radiant barriers: The substrate of a reflective barrier usually consists of plastic films, cardboard, strand board, and air infiltration board, which is then covered by a highly-reflective aluminum-type of material. These basic barriers can be combined with other insulation to optimize their effects.
- Benefits of reflective or radiant barriers: Though this type of insulation works better in warmer climates than in cool, the average savings per home is around 10% in terms of cooling costs.
- Cost: Depending on the type and brand that you choose, the average square foot of radiant barrier costs about $0.15-$0.30. So, to cover a typical 500 square foot attic, you will likely spend $175 to $325, with double sided barriers being slightly more expensive. To pay for professional installation, add to that approximately $500 to $750 for labor.
Home insulation costs – What you need to know
The average home in America is approximately 2500 square feet. For anyone researching estimates associated with insulating their home, it is important to make the distinction between the separate costs associated with each part of the home. This is because the costs vary depending on what is being insulated (walls, attic spaces, etc.).
Since most homeowners are looking to insulate previously built structures that have drywall, blown-in insulation typically works best in the interior. A hole is cut, insulation is blown in, and the hole is sealed, leaving the room warmer and more efficient at about $1.00 per square foot.
Roofs need to be sealed prior to the installation of insulation, which means seeking out and filling gaps, closing vents, etc. This is due to the fact that, over time, water degrades insulation, rendering it completely useless. An insulated and sealed roof leads to a warmer attic in the winter and a cooler attic in the summer. Look to spend approximately $1500 to pay for a professional job, or a bit more for radiant or reflective barriers.
If you have an attached garage, or simply want to keep your garage cooler in the hot summer months, insulating the door with foam is simple and only takes a few hours to complete. Depending on whether you opt for batts, foam boards, or reflective insulation, you will likely pay about $200 for a 9’ door.
Insulating the attic
Keeping your attic warm in the winter and cool in the summer especially is costly. Insulation is the wisest choice to ensure that your attic temperature is cool and manageable, especially in during the hot Phoenix summer. Though not considered to be a DIY job due to the dusty and cramped environment, insulating your attic brings hefty benefits in terms of savings and increasing your home’s R-value. The good news is that attic insulation can be installed correctly by a professional for a relatively low price. Estimates vary depending on the insulation type that you choose. For the most part, however, look at paying around $1300 to $2000 total.
Weatherizing your home comes with tax credits and rebates, including some from local utility companies such as SRP and APS.