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Insulation: Use & Care

Use & Care

Insulation Installation: Read Between the Lining

Insulation is an important element in lowering heating and cooling loads, but it must be installed properly to get its energy efficiency benefits. Some areas of your home may be easy to insulate yourself, and others should be assessed and installed by a qualified contractor.

What’s in Your Walls?

It’s easy to check your home’s insulation in some areas, and may be more difficult in others. Review the Insulation Buyers Guide chart to identify the type of insulation you have, then multiply the R-value per inch by the total inches of insulation. Once you know how much you have, calculate how much to add. Check an exterior wall’s existing insulation by removing the electrical outlet. First, turn off the power, then carefully remove the outlet and use a flashlight to view the insulation’s type and thickness.

Mind the Gaps

Whatever type of insulation you choose, make sure it is a continuous surface with no gaps or cracks. Insulation only prevents heat transfer if there are no gaps in exposed surfaces. You don’t want to leave holes around openings for pipes, wires, and other utilities, but you also shouldn’t cover electrical equipment.

Fit Factors: The Right Stuff

Insulation doesn’t work as well if it’s not installed correctly. This includes being installed too loosely, squeezing batts in too tightly, or not blowing in loose-fill to the correct depth.

Let Your Home Breathe

Insulation is generally low maintenance, but be sure to periodically check for moisture, and you should consider asking a contractor to install air barriers and vents to let your home breathe.

Buyer’s Guide

Before you shop for efficiency upgrades, visit the Insulation Buyer’s Guide for easy facts and figures that can help you choose the best materials for your home, needs and budget.


If you’re thinking about making efficiency improvements, the Insulation Overview is a great place to get acquainted with the basics and your options, before you buy or install. Return to Building and Materials.

This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Southern California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

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