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How do I know what type of insulation to use when building my home?

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  • RJ Systems (Retired) Jan 28, 2014

    I agree with going to the Dept. Of Energy for help with your selections and options. Fiberglas batt has always been my favorite though. It comes in different "R" (Resistance) values as needed. In a new installation with open walls, it can be rolled out and laid in easily between the studs in your walls. Most walls are constructed with 2 x 4 inch studs which actually only measure one and one half inch by three and one half inches. Wall insulation is supplied to fit the dimensions of the construction of your wall. Also, the distance between the studs can vary from 14 - 16 -18 - 20 - 22 - and 24 inches. The closer together they are, the better the installation is. (And more expensive due to the extra number of studs needed). Fiberglass also comes with a brown paper backing which provides a good vapor barrier and one and one half inch overhang from the fiberglass to make it easier to staple or tack to the studs. For better "R" values for your walls, you can use Tivek (?) or thicker Styrofoam on the outside walls under your siding. When doing a great job of insulating your home, be mindful of ventilation to prevent mold from forming in a moist, warm location. There is a lot of things to cover concerning insulation that I am not qualified to give. But no matter what else you find to make your home better insulated, always ask about how the insulated areas will be vented and kept dry. I have seen many installations where proper venting was ignored and very bad results down the road. I hope this helps a little. Good luck on a large project. Roger

  • RJ Systems (Retired) Jan 29, 2014

    Hi Paul. Its Roger again. I missed 1 VERY important point in insulating your new home. Doors and windows. A door normally comes with its well fitting frame and seals and that's great. But the door frame is fitted into a space made up of 2 x 4 s by the carpenter and is intentionally made a little larger than the door frame so the the door frame can be squared up to insure the door closes and seals properly. Shims are used to accomplish all this and the space between the door frame and the 2 x 4 frame made to install it in, is almost never insulated. When the tyvek (spelling (?)) is cut to fit the door frame, the seam there is never sealed either. That leaves just the siding on the outside of the house and the drywall or sheet rock on the inside of the house for insulation. The same is true of windows. I'm over 35 years out from my classes in Residential Construction, but these small details were a high point with my instructor. Your contractor won't be happy about you wanting these details to be properly attended to but if these areas are ignored, you will easily be able to feel the cold all around your windows and doors on a cold day. Insulating all those details will make a worthwhile difference in your heating and cooling costs. Attic insulation should be heavy. Just be careful not to block the air space above the eaves, going into the attic. That's where the roof joins the wall. There will be vents in the eaves outside and in the roof. The air space between them needs to be kept clear to properly vent your walls and attic. Once again, Good luck and let me know if I can be of help on anything else. I think you will get my posts now. Stay in touch Paul. I'll help all I can. Roger



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It seems to me that a reliable source would be this site from the Department of Energy. You just enter your zip code along with some other info and it provides recommendations for your building:

Posted on Jan 15, 2014


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1 Answer

For 266000 cubic feet area, how many BTU require?

Hi Fred:
Sounds like you have a project that will require more details to be able to calculate an answer.
If we're trying to heat a building that size, we should know:
- Type of construction.
- Insulation factor - walls
- Insulation factor - ceiling
- Minimum Outside air temperature
- Design Inside air temperature.
An HVAC specialist would them match these to a chart showing how many BTU per hour heat source would be required.
Hope you find this helpful.

Jan 13, 2016 | Office Equipment & Supplies

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What are signs of squirrel damage in home attic?

Usually torn out insulation and stool droppings.they like to build nests out of insulation fibers.any disturbed areas check for droppings and nut shells.

Mar 25, 2015 | Heating & Cooling

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Need to know the type of vapor barrier needed for a second floor unfinished ceiling with insulation and a metal roof..

It depends on your local code. Contact your building department, get a permit and ask the inspector, he will help you and if you follow is instructions you will pass the inspection.

Sep 19, 2014 | NTSupply NT-1200 Heavy Duty Vapor Barrier...

2 Answers


How large a space are you hoping to cool? One room? One LARGE room? One SMALL room? One floor of a two-story house? A whole four-story house?

What's your climate like where you live? Very hot, dry, year-round? Cool most of the year but two weeks of hot during the summer? Just a little too warm in summer? Blazing hot all summer, including nighttime?

How's the insulation in the building you want to cool? Is it a plain steel building with no insulation? Is it a trailer? Is it a frame house with 4" walls and R13 fiberglass insulation? An old frame house with no insulation? An adobe building? A timberframe house with 8" of polyisocyanurate foam insulation?

All these are important to know when you select an air conditioner.

For most of the USA, assuming a frame house with 4" of fiberglass insulation, a 10,000BTU air conditioner will cool one large room or two small rooms pretty well, or a 5,000BTU AC will do one medium-sized room. Different places, and different house designs, and different types & amounts of insulation, will all have a profound effect on how much AC you need/want.

Jul 25, 2014 | Goodman Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

Other than asbestos, what other types of building insulation are considered dangerous?

Urea-formaldehyde foam, which is know to release poisonous gas. Avoid at all costs.

Jan 31, 2013 | Insulation

2 Answers

Where can I find out how much and what type of insulation I need for the home that I'm going to build?

Another good place to see what insulation you would need is a company called Radia Source. They will send you free samples so you can find the right one for your home. You can visit them at and request that free sample and see what reflective insulation you would need for your home.

Jan 31, 2013 | Insulation

1 Answer

I have extension cords running over the place, Can i put them under my rug? Thanks

Hi Nikki, I have seem to have the same problem although its usually around the holidays, If you have purchased heavy duty/outdoor rated extension cords either the orange or yellow mostly then you should not have a problem hiding them under a throw rug or carpeting, they have a high insulation rating and thickness to help safe guard heat build up. However if you are using the regular run of the mill convenient store type extension cords (the white or brown thin ones with doublesided receptacles) I would not hide them under any kind of material like a rug or carpeting, these type of extension cords can build up heat if left plugged in for extended periods of time and due to thin insulation and low amp ratings the can become quite hot to the touch, one short could cause a spark that could posssibly start an electrical fire so beware, another solution is to bundle a few wires together with zip-ties/plastic cord wraps and run them along a wall up against a base board so there out of the way and not so visible. A trip to your local hardware store should help you out.

Oct 16, 2012 | Lands Phones

1 Answer

Do i have to use romex to feed a new addition to my home or can i use 12/2 or 12/3 wire that i already have

Hi - Romex is a brand name for NM type cables, and is acceptable wiring method in the 2012 National Electrical Code for use anywhere that is not a wet location in residential buildings; unless your state, county or town specifically prohibits its use.

When you say "12/2" or "12/3" all you are telling us is that you have some type of cable that consists of 2 insulated wires and a second cable type that consists of 3 insulated wires (and possibly a ground wire - but you didn't say "12/2 with Ground" as it would be indicated on the packaging. This same "12/2" or "12/3" designation is used to describe BX, AC, MC, NM, UF, and other cables, too. Since I do not know what cable type you have, I can't say that you can use it or not with any certainty. I can tell you that based on the 12/2 or 12/3 info you provided, it can be used on 20 amp circuits without a problem.

Please provide the cable type or description for a better answer.

Mar 07, 2012 | Hammering

1 Answer

We have AC LG Zet cool 1pk, with size room 5x6x3, the problems is we doesn't have cool on the room, but ac is good condition with standard free on. pleas e help me to solve this problem. thanks. RS. Urip...

Depending on the type of building and insulation. For building with good insulation and not many windows, you could manage with a 18000BTU, but if your insulation not so good, you should need 24 to 26000btu unit.

Mar 16, 2009 | LG Heating & Cooling

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