Insulation the First Step in Saving Energy

Frequently Asked Insulation Questions

How much insulation should I have in my house?

For insulation in Seattle wood framed buildings, we recommend R49 in the attic. Floors should have R30.

The R value is a measurement of the insulation’s resistance to the change in heat. In general, a  higher R-value number yields a better insulation. These R values take into account things like composition of the insulation and thickness, so how many inches of insulation you will need varies by product.

Can I have too much insulation in my house?

Yes, but only if you cover over areas where your house ventilates, (soffit vents). It is important to maintain sufficient air flow throughout the house for proper moisture exchange.

What about using newspaper as insulation?

In the old days, people did put newspaper in the walls as insulation. But as many found out, that doesn’t mix well with electrical wires that run through walls and Seattle weather will turn that into a mold trap. Some do it yourself guides may advocate this, but we believe the risks outweigh any reward. If you suspect you have newspaper in the walls of your home, consider getting some blown in wall insulation instead. Today’s insulation has many green options. Or if you are replacing siding, consider insulated siding (or putting insulation under siding), as this is a great way to keep heat transfer to a minimum without insulation of walls.  

Why is fiberglass insulation pink?

The Owens Corning company created pink insulation as part of their marketing. They use the Pink Panther as a mascot. 

Is insulation green?

Certainly cellulose insulation which is made out of recycled paper, newspaper, and plant fiber is green. Fiberglass is made from glass fibers. And glass, originally silica, is also an organic material (sand). Most manufacturers use some recycled glass in their fiberglass production these days. However, as you probably know, fiberglass is not something you want to breathe in. It can be harmful to your lungs, and well, that loses some green points for it. Overall any insulation you choose is going to save you and the planet energy, and that is green living indeed.

Why is insulation the first upgrade to do in energy saving?

The Department of Energy starts its whole discussion of energy saving in the home with insulation. Houses are built today with insulation as a standard feature to keep heat transfer to a minimum, but it wasn’t always the case. Insulation like other aspects of your house degrades over time, and you can improve your energy use by 30% if you have insulation up to code. While houses have many different ways to heat and cool, insulation is a standard way to gain tremendous energy savings. And its one of the least expensive ways to achieve them.

What is a home energy audit?

A Home Energy Audit is:

  • Series of tests targeting home performance concerns including comfort, efficiency and safety
  • Tests Include: Infrared scan of home, Blower Door Test, Attic and Crawlspace video scan, Combustion safety testing and much more!
  • Initial audit usually takes 3 hours. Follow up consultation with a Home Energy Specialist is included in price

Who performs the home energy audit?

  • Our BPI Certified Home Performance Technicians trained in all aspects of home performance and building science
  • Tech’s are fun, friendly and passionate about making homes comfortable and efficient

What happens after tests are conducted?

  • A Home Energy Specialist will go over the report and results of your home energy audit
  • You receive a prioritized action plan of choices that will improve your home’s comfort, efficiency and health
  • You are now empowered to make smart choices that address your concerns with confidence!

Where is Washington Energy’s insulation based?

We have two locations, one in Lynnwood and one in Tacoma where we dispatch our trucks for insulation and other services.

Are there insulation rebates for Washington residents? 

Yes, our local utilities such as PSE, Snohomish PUD and Tacoma Power offer insulation rebates and we are a participating contractor with those three programs. Our representative will deduct the applicable rebates from your contract so you get them instantly.

Why do you recommend cellulose insulation?

We offer all types of insulation but like cellulose because it is environmentally friendly, flame retardant, rodents don’t like it, and it has the highest R-value per inch (energy efficiency) of all the blown-in insulations.

  • It is environmentally friendly because it is essentially ground up, recycled newspapers.
  • It is flame retardant because it is treated with a chemical called borate.
  • Rodents won’t nest or eat cellulose, whereas they will with fiberglass.
  • Cellulose has an R-value of 3.7 per inch whereas fiberglass has an R-value of 3 per inch.

We offer both cellulose and fiberglass insulation, so call us to learn more.


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