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We now have winter in Iowa and this week when the wind was blowing alot, my living area was 58 degrees. It's an old house and I'd like to have insulation blown in. Would my husband & I be able to do it, and if so what tools and supplies will we need?

Please send me an email to soon.

Also how many inches of insulation do we need for attic?

Sincerely, Cathy VanDerLinden

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Adding insulation is a great way of saving energy however for insulation to work properly you must first air seal your home.  Think of insulation like a winter sweater that you wear.  Its nice and warm until the wind picks up then you feel the chill again in the air. This same thing happens in your home. As air blows through the walls, attic and basement areas it pulls the warmth of the home right with it.

If you do a little investigation on your house you will be able to find exactly were this air is leaking from.  Fiberglass insulation acts like a filter. It traps dust and the dirt that is floating in the air.  Go into the attic and pull it up in areas where the walls below are located, do the same near any pipes and wire openings. That black stains you see trapped in the insulation is the dust that has been coming up from the basement, through your outlets and from around the pipes.  Using spray foam block these areas well. Stopping this occurrence will slow down the loss of the heat, making the insulation you already have work better. 

If your home suffers from ice dams in the winter, you have a lot of energy loss near the gutter areas. Pay attention to sealing the exposed top plates of the wall so no air from the wall can leak up into the attic from down below.

Also if you have a basement. The top of the basement wall areas that the framing sits on is also a great energy loss area. If you put your hand up in that area you will feel the cold right away. Purchase foam 2 inch boards and cut them to fit as tight as you can into this area. Then using spray foam fill any gaps that surround them. You would be amazed at how well this will make the rooms above warmer.

Once that is tackled your ready for insulation. You must block off the wall area near the gutter area with foam boards.  These W shaped baffles sold at all home centers prevent the new insulation from blocking the air flow from the overhangs into the attic.  Once every bay in the attic is baffled, and you have sealed off every opening that you can find. Your ready for the insulation part of the project.  Ideally the more you have the better you are. R-38 or more is suggested.  This equates to around 15 inches of the pink stuff.  Be sure not to cover over any high hat (can type) lights or they could overheat.  Using batt insulation you want to criss cross over the wood beams on the floor. If your a bit on the adventurous side you can rent a insulation blowing machine from most of the big box store rental areas. And use blow in insulation.  This is much easier to do as well as fun.  It gets into the areas that are hard to reach with the batt type. But its even more important to use the baffles to prevent any insulation from falling into the soffit.

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