Lately, you’ve noticed an uptick in your energy bills and there’s a musty smell coming from your crawl space. This is bad enough in and of itself, but you’re busy enough as it is at the office. You like to think of yourself as able to tackle most home improvement jobs around the house, and you suspect the insulation in your crawl space (and possibly the attic) need replacing. What to do?
If this sounds familiar, here are a couple of scenarios for you to consider when deciding whether or not to do it yourself or call in a professional, as well as some handy insulation installation tips.
Why New Insulation?
Increased energy costs, fluctuations in temperature and musty smells all point to a home that needs new insulation. This may be due to to the age of the insulation, or the fact that it was poorly installed to begin with. Moisture and rodent infestation are just a couple of factors that can leave your attic and crawl space with damp and foul-smelling insulation.
The reasons for installing new insulation are the same as the reasons for installing it when the home was originally built. It’s going to keep your home warmer during winter and cooler during summer, and help reduce your energy costs. As a bonus, new insulation also reduces your environmental impact.
Installing Insulation Yourself
If you’ve determined that you can afford time away from work and complete insulation installation yourself, here are five stages of installation to follow after you have removed the old insulation. Be advised that this removal is often an extremely dirty and time-consuming job. Don’t use any of the old insulation – dispose of it immediately. Clean up any areas where rodents have nested or where there are droppings.
1. Don’t Forget the Vapor Barrier!
Don’t just lay a plastic vapor barrier on the surface of your crawl space, as it will just shift and allow a buildup of dirt beneath it. Besides that, it will do little to nothing when it comes to preventing an accumulation of moisture. The professional way to install a vapor barrier is by securing the sheets of plastic with thick wire stakes resembling large staples.
2. Insulation Preparation
First, you need to determine how much insulation you’ll need to purchase for your crawl space. Measure the length and width of the space to be insulated and multiply the two numbers. This will give you the square footage of insulation needed. Compare your results to any recommendations you can find for your attic and/or crawl space. You’ll also need to figure out the correct R-value needed. Check the manufacturer's instructions in order to determine how much insulation you need to achieve the recommended R-value. Stage the purchased rolls around the perimeter of the space or spaces to be insulated so you’ll be able to access them during installation. If you are installing insulation in a crawl space, you will want to take the entire roll into the crawl space first and open it inside, rather than opening it up outside of the crawl space and trying to drag individual pieces in. In general, you want to fill the entire void created by the floor joists to get the best and highest R-Value possible and maximize the available space.
3. Don’t Cover Soffit Vents
This is a common mistake when insulating attics. Covering these vents restricts air flow, trapping moisture in your crawl space. Use baffles that are stapled to the roof planking between rafters and above the soffit vents instead. This also applies to crawl space vents; do not cover them up.
4. Laying In Insulation
As you lay in the insulation, start at a place that is furthest from the access to the crawl space or attic. Cut the insulation rolls to length with a utility knife, and start the next length of section at that place in the roll. Once the end is reached, butt it up to a new roll. Remember to lay the rolls tight enough together so as to eliminate any gaps.
5. Be Prepared for Obstacles
You’re going to need to create workarounds for obstacles such as tight corners and cross braces. As you do, be careful that you don’t compress the rolls too tightly as this affects the insulation value. Pipes and electrical connections can present obstacles in crawl spaces and attics, as can recess lighting in attics.
If all this sounds simple, and you can afford to take time away from work -- congratulations, you’re ready to get started! However, if you’ve decided this is one job better left to professionals, then your next step should be in selecting the best installer in your immediate area.
Having New Insulation Installed For You
Here in the Pacific Northwest, Clean Crawls has been professionally cleaning crawl spaces and attics for over 16 years, replacing and installing insulation and ridding homes of pests. During this time they have been the recipient of Angie’s List Super Service Award for ten consecutive years, and have earned an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Because they are the largest crawl space retrofit company in the region, Clean Crawls is able to satisfy your insulation needs in a timely fashion with results that are guaranteed to satisfy. Clean Crawls can finish your job more quickly and with better results than other insulation companies.
Okay, you’ve made your choice. If it’s doing the job yourself, best of luck to you! If, on the other hand, you’ve thought better of it and want the most reliable insulation company in the Pacific Northwest, than contact Clean Crawls today to get a free estimate for your new insulation installation.