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Do I Need More Insulation In My Attic


Attic insulation is instrumental in regulating the temperature in your home, ensuring a comfortable living environment, and ensuring energy efficiency. Homes that do not have adequate amounts of insulation experience hot temperatures in the summer, cold temperatures in the winter, and will experience high power bills as their HVAC units work hard to try to maintain temperature. Homeowners might wonder - “Do I need more insulation in my attic?” This article will help inform and then answer the question if you need more insulation in your attic.

Signs That Your Attic Insulation Needs Improvement

On average, attic insulation can last 80 to 100 years; However, it is continually decomposing and losing energy efficiency. In order to maintain the same level of insulation, experts recommend adding attic insulation every 15 years. Here are some tell-tale signs that your home may be ready for an insulation top off.

  • High energy bills despite consistent usage patterns.
  • Difficulty maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout your home. You can check this by seeing if your home is able to achieve a temperature setting on a thermostat on the top level of your home during the summer.
  • Feeling excessively hot air near the ceiling on the top level of your home.
  • Ice dams forming on the roof during winter.
  • Uneven distribution of heat or cold air in different areas of your house.

Benefits of Adding More Insulation to Your Attic

  • Increased energy efficiency leading to lower utility bills. Your HVAC units won’t have to run as long to heat or cool your home. Heating and cooling a home is one of the most, if not the most, expensive power expensive home owners have.
  • Enhanced indoor comfort by preventing heat loss or gain.
  • Reduction in noise transmission from outside sources.
  • Protection against moisture and condensation issues.

How to Determine if You Need More Attic Insulation

1. Check the current insulation level:

  • Identify the type and thickness of existing insulation material.
  • Determine if it meets recommended R-value guidelines for your region. In 2018 MD, VA, WV upgraded the building code on attic insulation to be R-49 value, which is approximately 18” of blown insulation.

2. Conduct a visual inspection:

  • Look for gaps, voids, or compressed areas in the insulation layer.
  • Check for signs of water damage, mold growth, or pest infestation.

3. Consider climate factors:

  • Evaluate whether you live in a predominantly hot or cold climate.
  • Take into account seasonal temperature variations and weather conditions.

4. Consult with a professional:

DIY vs Professional Attic Insulation Installation

While homeowners can install attic insulation themselves, its not recommended unless i batted insulation is what you are installing. That is because batted insulation comes in rolls in varying thicknesses and is much easier to install. The most common attic insulation is blown insulation. Blown insulation is installed using a large machine that blows the insulation into the attic. Blown insulation installation is a 2 person job (minimum), requires equipment that home owners would have to rent, and the insulation comes in large bundles that would require home owners to rent a box truck to be able to transport. Because of the equipment, product, and installation knowledge required to install blown attic insulation, it is strongly recommended that home owners engage a professional company for this service.

Types of Attic Insulation Materials

There are 3 main types of insulation that can be used in attic applications:
1. Blown Insulation. Insulation is installed using a machine that blows the insulation into place. This type of insulation settles very well, minimizing air gaps, and creating great insulating properties.
2. Batted Insulation. Pre-cut rolls of insulation that comes in varying R values. Can be faced or un-faced. Gets installed between joists. This is the easiest insulation to install as a DIY method but provides the least insulating properties.
3. Spray Foam Insulation. Comes in 2 types: open cell or closed cell. Open cell is used in attic applications (closed cell is mainly for crawlspaces). The foam is applied to the underside of the roof (not on the attic floor like blown and batt insulation). In this application, there cannot be any insulation on the attic floor too because it will trap air in the attic and can lead to moisture issues. Spray foam insulation has the highest insulating properties but it is also the most expensive, often 3x the cost of blown insulation.

Recommended Attic Insulation - Cellulose Blown Insulation

Because of its insulating properties (R-value) and relative affordability, blown insulation is the most recommended insulation for your attic. Here are the different types of materials used in blown insulation applications, including our recommendation of cellulose insulation:

  • Mineral & Rock Wool - has a loose fill, is made from recycled materials, Dense nature means it is good for filling wall cavities (gravity makes it fall), air pockets can form because its dense, can cause health hazards if inhaled
  • Fiberglass - requires special handling because it is made up of bits of glass, can be hazardous if inhaled, most home owners no longer fiberglass due to health concerns
  • Cellulose [RECOMMENDED]- cellulose is the best and go to type of insulation for blown in applications. Commonly made from recycled newspapers, there are no microscopic bits of dust to inhale that you get from the other types of insulation. In addition, cellulose insulation gets treated with borate, which makes it resistant to burning and a natural pest deterrent. Its not super dense so it settles very nicely and does not form air pockets, giving the home owner a great seal.

Hiring a Professional Insulation Contractor

Insulation installations are usually big ticket items for home owners because attics can be large, and depending on how much insulation is already present, can require a lot of insulation to get up to the R-49 (~18”) code in MD, VA, WV. Therefore, it is important homeowners do their homework to make the right decision. Here are some tips on selecting the right contractor to do your work:

  • Work with an insulation company. This might sound intuitive; however, there are many service companies that do insulation on the side these days. Example: the pest control industry has become infatuated with insulation sales and insulation services because they come with large price tags. You want an insulation company doing your insulation job, let the pest control company focus on what they do best - pest control. Environmental Pest Control uses dedicated insulation vendors whenever its customers require insulation services.
  • Discuss Top Off Insulation vs. Total Removal & Install Insulation services. If your current insulation is not contaminated (pest urine or feces, mold, etc...) then a top off service is your best option and also the cheapest option! Total removal & install is only needed when your current insulation needs to be removed.
  • Discuss the process. There should be a project manager assigned to your job to ensure everything goes smoothly leading up to and on the day of installation. After the job is completed, a job walk through should be performed with the homeowner and the project manager to ensure everything was done correctly and that no damage to the home occurred. Professional companies will have a job completion form that the homeowner signs.


Blown Cellulose attic insulation is the best overall type of attic insulation. It does not pose health risks other types of insulation do and comes with borate that makes it pest and fire deterrent. in 2018, MD, VA, WV upgraded the R Value minimum requirement in attics to R-49, which is approximately 18” of insulation. Environmental Pest Control helps homeowners needing more insulation. Whether you need more insulation via a top off service, or have had wildlife issue in your attic requiring insulation removal and install, our team of dedicated insulation vendors will provide you with the insulation service you need. Call us today for a free estimate!

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