Robert Lamoureux | Looking for a hot tip on insulation

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question: Mr. Lamoureux, thank you for giving us the opportunity to write in and ask questions of you. Your years of experience speak for themselves and it seems you have a wonderful reputation in Santa Clarita. Our question is regarding heat loss/insulation. We’ve been in our older, 1980s home, for about three years now. As we approach winter months and weather, we are reminded of the heat loss that we obviously must be losing through the attic/ceiling insulation.  

The windows of the home had been installed a couple years prior to us purchasing the home so we know we are OK there, but with the amount of heat we have to throw at this home during the colder months just to stay comfortable, I can only imagine that the attic insulation is lacking. What do we need to do to improve this?  

I am not a handy guy so even if I did pop my head up there I wouldn’t know what to look for. Any recommendations as to where to begin on this? 

— Randall P.  

Answer: Randall, great question. It sounds like you’ve thought this through and are likely on the right track, if there was no information that the insulation had been redone prior to you purchasing the home. I’d get a licensed and insured insulation contractor out for an evaluation and estimate.  

Schedule three different companies, but prior, verify that their licenses and insurances are in good standing.  

Get their feedback on what is currently in place and its condition, as well as an estimate to remove and replace with new. Always be sure that the bid states that they will remove all current insulation as well as clean the area prior to installation of new insulation. My personal opinion is that we do not need spray foam insulation here in Santa Clarita, so save yourself a ton of money and use standard batten-type insulation with a high R-value. The R-value is the amount of insulation the product offers, so the higher value, the more work it does for you. This will make a massive difference in the comfort and efficiency of your home.  

Other things you can do would be to install ceiling fans, which can be set to reverse the air, sending down the warm air that has risen. This also makes a big difference, circulating the already warm air throughout the home. This is especially helpful if there are vaulted ceilings in your home. So much warm air rises and just sits (and in the case of poor insulation, vacates the home). The fans circulate that air and bring it down to the living area, making the overall temp warmer in the lower areas. Just these things alone should make a big difference for you. Best of luck.  

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].         

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