Can you advise on attic insulation and uninsulated can lights for a 1971 ranch home?


Can you advise on attic insulation and uninsulated can lights for a 1971 ranch home?

Asked by Marilyn Horne

'I live in a 1971 ranch in Longwood, FL. We have a new a/c (15 seer), newer ductwork from 2005, newer roof in 2007, but we have never upgraded the insulation. We have lived in the house 10 years and have been told that it is almost non-existent - a mixture of old (1971) cellulose and same added fiberglass. We were told that it would be best to blow in fiberglass. Also, we have several recessed lights (16) that were added in 2004. Apparently are not insulated and need to be covered in order to blow in the insulation. I do not mind fiberglass if it is formaldehyde free. I would appreciate some professional advice re types of insultation and the can lights - I think it might be expensive to replace but is it worth it?' .

Answer this question


Scott Grieves, CPM, CEA's picture

I would consider insulation that has been certified with a blend of recycled material and install insulated boot covers on the non-IC rated cans in the attic. This would be in my opinion a cheap investment with the best ROI.

If you are after the best quality I would also add radiant heat block/ foil to the attic at the same time you re-insulating.

Note: In my opinion Foam insulation (closed cell) is the best however it would be too costly on an older built home and it would be difficult to seal 100% unless cost was not an issue.

Here are a few other tips:

  1. Double check the ducts to make sure they are tight---no leaks before you insulate.
  2. Get at least two quotes on the insulation job from a certified licensed contractor that specializes in insulating older homes. You never know what you are going to run into on an older home. They might have to address convection and conduction issues. Older homes tend to leak a lot compared to the new code built homes today or not enough.
  3. Check with your insurance company on Florida Wind Mitigation before you insulate. They can recommend an inspector to review the home and give other options available to reduce your homeowner's insurance policy and at the same time add insulation.
  4. Check with your local power company on any potential rebates for insulation, duct work, new A/C and if they offer a free pre- or post- energy audit survey.
  5. I recommend you contact MASCO. They are an insulation company that has built a good reputation here in Kissimmee. (407) 678-9451

For more information:

Read "My attic has non-IC recessed lights. What is the best approach to insulate it?" a Q&A answered by Michael Holcomb.