Insulation Overview

If air sealing is the windcheater around your house, then insulation is the warm wooly jumper (Yes, I grew up in Australia, not here in the USA).  And in some countries sheep wool is actually becoming a “green” alternative insulation material. 

In our area of Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties in New Jersey, however, we have a number of different insulation approaches – tailored to your house.

Insulation Types

Depending on your needs and preferences and depending on what we discover during the home energy audit we may recommend a combination of insulation approaches, including:

Insulating Board









Cellulose Insulation









Spray Foam Insulation








How much insulation?

The simple answer is; as much as possible!  Even newly built houses typically don’t have an optimum level of insulation.  And older houses were built when energy costs were low typically had minimal insulation by today’s standards.

Energy prices are on the rise making environmental consciousness a hot issue, so saving money on your home is becoming a major focus for many American families. Updating or upgrading the insulation in your existing home or putting eco-friendly, thermal insulation in a new build can help to lower energy costs and keep homes comfortable and secure.


Insulation effectiveness is measured by the “R” value, which measures thermal resistance.  The higher the R-value the longer it takes for heat to flow from one side of the insulated assembly to the other.

A 3 ½” fiberglass batt is R11, a 6” batt is R19, 1” of loose cellulose is R3.75, a 2” Thermax insulated panel is rated at R13 and spray foam, depending on type, ranges from R3 to R6 per inch of thickness.

We typically aim for R50 in attics and recommend the maximum possible in walls and other enclosed places.  Basements and crawl spaces benefit from spray foam or insulating board applications.

The BAD News

OK, so you have fiberglass in the walls and a nice layer of R19 in the attic – why is it still cold and drafty?

Insulation effectiveness is massively compromised by gaps, by “air-washing” and by compressions.  Good installation is key to effective insulation. 

Gaps between laid batts, or created when batts are fitted around electrical and plumbing fixtures allow airflow and heat loss.  Airflow through the insulation has two effects – it reduces the insulating value and it collects dirt.  Insulation is not an air barrier!  You can see where insulation has been air washed by the dark discoloration where the fiberglass has filtered out airborne dirt.  The dirt in turn makes the insulation less effective.

Fiberglass, cellulose and foam rely on trapping air in the packets of the material for their insulating power.  If fiberglass is compressed, by squeezing it into a joist bay for instance, then the amount of trapped air is reduced, and insulation value lost.

The GOOD News

The good news is that we know about these issues, check for them during an audit, and take great care in avoiding them when installing additional insulation.

Call us for a Home Energy Audit Today!  973-492-1890

Home Energy Matters - 410 State Route 23 - Pompton Plains NJ 07444