If your utility bills are higher than average for heating and cooling in your Los Angeles home, it is possible that your home is poorly insulated, allowing the heated or cooled air to escape to the outdoors. Adding insulation to your house can be relatively easy, depending on the type you use and where it is installed.
Types of Insulation
Fiberglass batts are the most common type of insulation used today due to its ease of installation and relatively low cost, though batts are also available made from rock wool or recycled cotton at higher prices. Batts, which are easiest to use in unfinished areas, are sized to fit between framing members and available in several common thicknesses for walls, floors and ceilings. Blown-in cellulose and spray foam are commonly used for finished walls, floors and ceilings, because they require minimal damage to install, though they can be also used in unfinished spaces. Both require special equipment to install and are best left to professionals. Foam panels and structural insulated panels are commonly used for insulating foundations or crawlspaces, and as sheathing underneath siding or roofing.
In Los Angeles, the attic floor should be insulated to a minimum of R-19, up to R-49, using several layers if necessary. Floors should have at least R-13 and exterior walls should have at least R-13 if 2 by 4 framing is used, or R-19 for 2 by 6 walls. Foam panels can be used beneath the siding for increased R-values. Basements and crawlspaces should have at least R-10 installed on the exterior or interior.
Cut the insulation to fit around all obstacles and be sure to seal any points where air may leak through. If you are using batts, be careful not to compress them, as that will decrease their efficiency. Use blocking, flashing or mesh around furnace flues, chimneys and recessed lighting that is not rated for insulation contact.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Los Angeles, North Hollywood and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock