Many homeowners dream of living in a period home, full of character and with a sense of history that is exciting to be a part of. But, with the older home come issues that require special care and attention. One of the big ones is the issue of heat loss, and other problems related to less-than-efficient insulation.
If you’re considering the purchase of an older home, or you’re experiencing these problems in the home you’re in now, what do you do? Writer, designer, and homeowner Alyssa Davis is here to share her own experiences in her older home, specifically talking about her solution – blown-in insulation …
Older homes can be among the most beautiful to own. I have a deep love of my older home. I love the fact that it has a history, and that it has been around longer than I have. Older homes seem to ooze charm and character. What I didn’t like about my older home is that it was lacking in quality insulation.
All exterior walls of the home need some type of insulation, or you run a risk of losing heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. What’s more, drafts can lead to condensation damage inside the actual walls of the home. By adding insulation, you form a barrier between your walls that allows you to reduce drafts and save money on your energy bills.
For my older home, I chose to use blown-in insulation. With blown-in insulation, you don’t have to worry about de-constructing your walls to install traditional batting-type insulation sheets.
What is Blown-in Insulation?
Blown-in insulation, as the name suggests, is literally ‘blown’ in to your walls. Your contractor will make a small opening in the wall and actually pump a loose fill material into the inside of the wall. This is not a DIY project for the average homeowner, since the technique that is required for blown-in insulation requires specific equipment and training. This type of installation requires that you pay a professional for installation.
A pro will have the equipment and knowledge to make the hole into your wall, and they also have special hoses, pumps, and other equipment that allows them to do the job effectively and efficiently. This type of insulation installation is a fairly quick process. We had a large section of our home insulated this way and it took around a day-and-a-half for two contractors from start to finish. Our contractors even matched the paint up to finish the job and cleaned up after themselves; they were so thorough that I didn’t have to do anything but write a check.
Materials Used for Blown-in Insulation
If blown-in insulation sounds like something that interests you, you will find that there are several forms of blown-in insulation that are used. Which one your contractor recommends really depends on the type of project as well as your own tastes and budget.
For our project, our contractor used cellulose insulation, which I love because cellulose is so eco-friendly and is not harmful to humans at all. Cellulose is made mostly from recycled newspapers and then treated to be fire resistant. Fiberglass and foam are also sometimes used in blown-in insulation installation.
Cost of Blown-in Insulation
While the cost of blown-in insulation varies from region to region, and really from contractor to contractor, our insulation ended up costing around eighty cents per square foot. That’s not much more than standard insulation sheets, and the best part is, my walls didn’t have to come down in order for me to get quality insulation in place. Our energy bills are lower, and we don’t get any uncomfortable drafts circulating in the wintertime.