How Much Insulation Do I Need?

All you need to know about insulation, pink panthers & winged monkeys

A lot of homeowners go through life with a nagging suspicion they might need more of that pink, fluffy stuff known as ‘insulation’ in their attic. That their heating bills are higher than they ought to be because warm air is escaping from their living areas into the cold attic above. That when they enter Home Depot or Lowes they are supposed to know something about something called an “R” value, before they run away, shrieking and even more confused. That this all somehow relates to a silly Pink Panther animated character, an inept French police detective named Inspector Jacques Clouseau, and an old movie starring Peter Sellers, but they can’t figure out how.

Well, we at Fix St Louis can’t help you with movie trivia, but we can help you figure out whether or not you can stop thinking about that pink fluffy stuff that lives above your ceiling.

So, how much insulation do you need? It’s all really quite simple. You live in Missouri. Make sure you have 9 inches of that pink stuff throughout your attic. The people who sell insulation try to confuse us by referring to “9 inches” as “R-30″. Well, la-dee-dah. Why do they do try to confuse us like this? I have no idea, perhaps you should ask Inspector Clouseau. Maybe because there are homeowners who try to seem smarter than the rest of us. They think that if 9″ is good, 13″ must be better, so they belly-up to the insulation bar at Home Depot and say, “Hey, Mr. Insulation man, hit me with another roll of R-38″. Let’s ignore these folks, and just trust me on this. For an attic, all you need to know to buy insulation for an attic in Missouri is “R-30″.

Which begs the question about whether you personally should be buying insulation at all. The answer for most people who have never tried to add installation is “no.” And the answer you will hear from most people who HAVE ACTUALLY TRIED to install insulation themselves, and who wish to speak in a family-friendly manner, is “heck no.”

You see, it doesn’t even take an inept French detective like Inspector Clouseau to suspect that the design of attics was a conspiracy hatched by the handyman industry to ensure full employment. The typical attic is a proverbial torture chamber for most people. A small space in which there is no room to stand-up and, if you do, your head may be impaled by a nail sticking down from the roof. And unless you were a member of your high school balance beam team, and can get around up there by placing your feet only on the narrow edges of 2×4’s that are 16″ to 24″ apart, you will crash through the ceiling and land on the floor on the next level below. And, did I mention that those attics can reach what seems like 1,000 degrees on the Kelvin scale on a hot summer day?

But at Fix St Louis, we train our technicians to handle this hostile environment. To handle the job more easily, some of them actually transform into winged monkeys in your attic, like those that appear in the Wizard of Oz, then convert back to mild-mannered technicians before they come back down and make contact with you and your family. (Hey, it’s no more preposterous than a pink panther).

You’ll probably want our technicians to pick-up the insulation at the store once you hear what the two types they’ll be selecting among are like. If it’s a small job, they may buy rolls of insulation, which are very bulky and might not even fit in your car. If it’s a big job, they’re more likely to use a machine to blow-in loose insulation, and that requires two technicians — one to fill the machine from the floor below, and the other to pretend to be a fireman using a hose in your attic. This loose insulation is less expensive per inch than the roll stock, and faster to install. If you already have some insulation up there, we may even find ways to save you money by adding less than 9″, so that you end-up with a minimum of 9″.

So while we actually enjoy telling our our customers how to save money by doing some of their home repairs themselves, we put this one in the category of “don’t-it-yourself.” Just contact Fix St Louis and we’ll send over our highly-trained team of winged monkeys technicians to keep your house warm and your heating bills low!

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