I ask all the time if a house is Energy Star or to meet certain criteria and with this one I got the answer, "We paid for extra insulation."
Who know what that means.
Extra as compared to what? What is the normal and what are they adding to that?
When I get "extra" fried onions, or tomatoes, or pickle on my steak and cheese sub, I can tell as soon as I take a bite that I have "extra" over what is the normal.
But with insulation? What's extra?
So, when I measured the insulation in this very expensive, very large house, with "extra" insulation, I wondered again.
What does extra mean!?
Seven or eight inches isn't a whole lot!
The insulation guys always argue with me about how much insulation should be in an attic to gain a certain R-value.
There is no point arguing with me. I don't manufacture the stuff and set what the R-values are.
R-value, or Resistance Value, meaning the amount of insulative value a given product provides, is determined per inch. I know the insulation companies like to say there are so many square feet and so many bags were put into it, therefore there is this or that much insulation. But there are too many ways to make mistakes with that calculation to trust it. And how can anyone say that the number of bags installed was accurate.
Per inch is the best way to calculate it, given the kind of insulation that is there. Click here for a chart to see what R-value different kinds of insulation provides. I provide that link on my reports.
The blown-in fiberglass above provides about 2.2 per inch. So, this 7 - 8" level above would be providing between 15.4 and 17.6 in R-value.
That is very little insulation! The Energy Star standard for our area is R-38. Previous to Energy Star, and without "extra" insulation, the amount is R-30.
Further, insulation companies are required to leave a sheet declaring what they did.
The sheet left in this attic lists the kind of insulation that was used and how much.
This company claims to have put in 14.2" (how they get the .2 is above me) but still, 8" of blown-in fiberglass is not 14.2".
They also claim R-38 up there, shown on the left.
That is actually a clear photo of the sheet they left. The sheet itself was exceptionally blurry.
Maybe for a reason!
My recommendation: get a home inspection! My client could not be there. He did not tell me about his "extra" insulation until I called him with the basics of the inspection. He said he was "hoping" I would check the insulation. Well, of course I check the insulation!! That is MY Best Practice. You think I am not going to investigate the insulation? My client called me the next day to say they were putting in "more" insulation. Having my charts to tell him how much should be there he was much better informed.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560