Frequently Asked Questions About Insulation

At Pure Eco, we are always ready to field any and all insulation and energy efficiency related questions you may have.

Below, we give you answers to 18 of the most commonly asked questions we here from customers again and again.

But if you have another question or concern, feel free to explore our Web pages for in depth information or to contact us by calling 877-778-2551!

  1. How much can I save on my energy bill by installing insulation and making other improvements?

It's not uncommon for good insulation to save you as much as 30% on your monthly energy bills, but of course, exact savings will differ from person to person. Many people have saved hundreds of dollars in a year after major energy efficiency upgrades, some even saving thousands.

The bottom line is, you are losing money every time you turn on your heater or AC unit if conditioned air can simply escape through the walls, attic, or crawl space. 

Air sealing, high R-value insulation, a radiant barrier, and other improvements let you trap conditioned air in, while providing for controlled ventilation through vents and fans. There will be an initial upfront cost, but over the years, you'll continue to save substantially from month to month.

  1. What is "R value?" And why does it matter? Do I need the absolute highest R-value material for my home or business?

R-value is simply a measurement of the ability of any material to insulate. It tells you how effectively that material will keep a house cool or warm after you've spent money cooling or heating it.

In warmer climates, like Southern California, an R-value of 30 is a recommended minimum. In temperate climates, R-38 is minimum, and in cold climates, R-49 is often the minimum recommended R-value. For flooring, however, lower R-values, as low as 13 or 24 are typically used.

Which type of insulating material you use, good air sealing and proper insulation method, and the quantity of material used will all affect actual R-value. The higher the R-value the better, but that said, you don't necessarily need the absolute highest in all situations - a balancing of R-value with cost and other factors may make the most sense.

  1. Should I add my new insulation over the old insulation to increase R-value?

Whether or not it's recommended to lay new insulation over old depends on the condition of the old insulation. If it's in poor condition, it should be removed.

Old, moldy, damp, or otherwise damaged insulation will lose much of its effectiveness. You don't want to pair good insulation with bad, or the bad can hurt the effectiveness of the good.

But, if your current insulation is in good enough shape, you can stack the new insulation on top. But you never want to stack batts unless you first remove the intermediate vapor barriers (paper backing) so it won't create condensation in the middle of your insulation.

  1. What's the difference between fiberglass and cellulose insulation? Which is better?

There isn't much difference in R-value or effectiveness between fiberglass VS cellulose insulation products.

Fiberglass is made of ingredients like limestone, silica sand, soda ash, and tiny glass fibers that give it more strength. Cellulose is made of recycle newspapers, with boric acid and other additives added in to make it fire, mold, and insect resistant.

Fiberglass is the most popular insulation material and is also the most affordable, while cellulose is considered by most to be a somewhat more eco-friendly choice. But both of them are good options overall, and it just depends on the preference of each client.

  1. Why is air sealing so important? Do I need to air seal before I insulate?

You should never put in new insulation unless you know for sure that the are to be insulated is free from significant air leaks. The only way to do that is through thoroughly testing the area and then sealing up all holes, both small and large, with appropriate materials.

People sometimes ask if it's really necessary to air seal before insulating an attic, crawlspace or other area. It is. You can lose 30% to 50% of your insulation's R-value if it's installed over air leaks and major drafts.

Plus, the dust will be pulled onto your insulation, and a moisture problem may develop, both of which can seriously hurt the effectiveness of insulation.

  1. Do I need a radiant barrier if I already have insulation in my attic?

Radiant barriers are not something you necessarily "have to" have, but they're certainly good to have. They reflect out radiant heat from the sun that would otherwise get through the roofing and build up inside your attic. Such heat build-up can weaken shingles over the years, besides seeping down into your living space below, and simply making the attic unbearable to walk in even for a few minutes.

Insulation and good ventilation are your first needs with any attic. Adding a radiant barrier is a good idea if the heat level in the highest room in your home is still way too high. It's up to you whether to install a radiant barrier, but it's not a matter of either a radiant barrier or insulation - good insulation should always accompany your radiant barrier, if you get one.

  1. Which is better: blown in insulation or batts?

Both blown in (loose fill) insulation and batts insulation have distinct advantages. And there are different situations where one or the other may be preferred.

Batts work well between standard sized studs and rafters, while blown in insulation can fill in odd-sized spaces better. If loose fill is put in the ceiling or into walls, a plastic cover should be used to hold it in place in most instances. 

Blown-in is often used on attic floors, while batts is often used in walls and ceilings and crawl spaces. But there is not hard and fast rule - in theory, you could use either type almost anywhere.

  1. Where is the most important part of the house to get insulated?

If you had to choose just one room to insulate, it would certainly be the attic since more energy is lost through the attic than anywhere else on the building. Second would probably be the crawl space, and third all exterior-facing walls.

But in reality, the key to good insulating power is creating a full envelope so that conditioned air has no way of escaping (rapidly) and costing you extra money. 

Any part of the building with contact to the outside needs to be insulated - and if you want to heat/cool particular rooms inside without always having to heat/cool the whole house, then you need to insulate fully internal walls and floors/ceilings between house levels as well.

  1. How important is a home's ventilation system?

Vents, attic fans, and your HVAC system all help air to ventilate in and out of the house and circulate within it.

All houses "breathe." That is to say, air will enter and leave the building somewhere at some rate. But only by controlling where that occurs and at what rate it occurs can you minimize your energy bill without risking a mold and mildew explosion due to excess moisture - caused by poor ventilation.

  1. Can insulation create an effective sound barrier?

Yes, high grade insulation is often used to create an effective sound barrier between rooms of a house or between a room and a noisy street just outside. But you have to use specifically soundproof insulation, like that offered by Roxul, if you expect to get satisfactory results.

Roxul's "rock wool" soundproof insulation is unique, combining volcanic rock and steel slag to create a very strong barrier that insulates against sound as well as heat transfer.

If you want to create an exceptionally quiet baby room, a media room, or just a haven from all sound disturbances, soundproof insulation will do the trick.

  1. Do you clean attics and crawl spaces?

Yes, we offer full attic and/or crawl space cleaning services. The attic and the crawl space are two of the least used rooms of a house, and they often get extremely dirty.

No one likes the idea of venturing into the crawl space or even the attic and scrubbing mold and mildew off of boards, vacuuming up rat feces, and removing clutter, dirt, and grime by hand. Yet, you need a reasonably clean space to ensure full effectiveness of insulation and to discourage rodents and insects from making their home in your attic or crawl space.

We can also do air sealing, insulating, re-insulating, rat proofing, and other services at the same time we clean your attic and/or crawl space!

  1. How can I keep rodents and other vermin from getting into my attic or crawl space?

At Pure Eco, we can not only seal your attic and/or crawl space to prevent air leaks but we can "rat proof" it as well.

That means we will seal up small holes through which mice can squeeze, cover over major openings, put up metal mesh that rodents can't chew through, and strengthen any weak points that rodents might claw through.

We can also help you clean up these spaces and catch and kill existing rodents in them, as we work to prevent any future entry.

  1. Do I need to replace my ducts or vents?

Old, dusty, damaged ducts and vents can cause poor ventilation and may cause you to circulate contaminated air. A corrective is definitely needed.

But in many cases, you may be able to simply have your old ducts/vents cleaned. Whether or not they should be replaced depends on the type of damage. It's always possible to repair them, but if too badly damaged, it's actually cheaper to just install new ones.

  1. Are UV air cleansers and air scrubbers worth it?

Keeping up the quality of the air you and your family breathe from day to day is important. UV air cleansers and air scrubbers can eradicate contaminants that might otherwise be missed, such as bacteria, mold spores, and allergens - besides filtering out dust and cigarette smoke.

Whether or not a UV air cleanser or air scrubber is worth it to you will depend on the current quality of your indoor air, on whether you have residents of your home more susceptible to respiratory problems (like someone with asthma, children and the elderly, or someone very sensitive to allergens, and on how important top quality indoor air is to you.

  1. Can I get an energy efficiency audit of my home?

Yes, we at Pure Eco are energy efficiency experts and can thoroughly examine your home to determine its level of energy efficiency.

We can find out where you're doing well and where improvements could be made. And we can make any upgrades you decide to implement.

  1. Can I really have a significant impact on helping the environment?

There are many ways in which everyone can help the environment in their daily lives. One of the most doable ways is by maximizing the energy efficiency of your home.

Cutting down on energy use through greater efficiency will reduce our collective carbon footprint in the L.A. Area. One building may not have a huge impact by itself, but over the years, the combined effect of Pure Eco energy efficiency upgrades have certainly had a big impact. 

  1. Can you help me get rebates and incentives?

Yes, Pure Eco's staff is knowledgeable in all the local, state, and federal rebates and incentive programs. We know who will qualify for which ones and can educate you on how exactly to apply.

You can also contact your local gas or electric company or visit their websites to find out about local rebate programs. Or visit this helpful website for info relevant to Southern California in general.

  1. Do you offer free estimates?

Yes, at Pure Eco, we give you a free, no obligation estimate on any services you're interested in having done.

An initial quote can often be done over the phone, while a more detailed quote may require an on-site visit by our service personnel. 

We are located in Chatsworth & Encino, CA, and also serve the communities of Pasadena, Northridge, Hollywood, Camarillo, West Hills, Tarzana, Simi Valley, Porter Ranch, and many more!

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