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Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association

Frequently Asked Questions About Cellulose Insulation


What Tax Credits are available for adding or upgrading insulation?

Tax law is constantly changing. For the latest Federal Income Tax credit information visit or Check with your state and local governments for any special incentives available.

Are there incentives available from my local utility company?

Utility companies, especially those generating power in coal-fired plants, are encouraged through various federal and state initiatives to support consumers and businesses seeking to implement energy conservation programs. Electric co-ops, which are owned by their customers, are often especially proactive in helping their members implement energy-saving projects. Check your utility company's website or call their local office to find out what incentives are available in your area. The DOE's DSIRE website also provides a database of incentives by state.

What do I need to do to qualify for these incentives?

Each incentive program will outline its unique requirements. If you are depending on incentives, make sure you understand whether you qualify for them before beginning your work.

Where can I find information on other Energy Saving opportunities?

A good source for energy saving tips is the Energy Star program website from the US Government at

How much more insulation should I install?

Each area of the country has different recommended R-values for insulation. Use the U.S. regional R-Value map to find out the recommended R-values for your area and use our insulation calculator to get an idea of your potential savings.

How do I know the R-value of my current insulation?

Every product has a different R-value so make sure you read the packaging carefully.

As a rule of thumb, if you have six inches or less in the attic (or the insulation does not cover the joists), it would be smart to add more insulation. Use U.S. regional R-Value map to determine the total R-value recommended for your area.

You can always add more insulation in the attic on top of the existing insulation to achieve even more energy savings and comfort. Use our insulation calculator to get an idea on how much you can save by increasing the R-Value in your home.

Do I have to take out the insulation that is already there?

Not necessarily. Adding more insulation has a cumulative impact on the overall R-value. In attics, If the insulation is damaged or improperly installed, in the case of batt products, it might make sense to replace it completely with blown-in cellulose insulation.

You can also add cellulose insulation on top of the existing insulation, improving the overall quality and R-value.

In walls, it is possible for contractors to install additional insulation so it compresses the existing material, completely filling the wall cavity with performance enhancing cellulose insulation.

How do I find a qualified cellulose insulation contractor?

CIMA Producer members can provide referrals for qualified insulation contractors by states here on the website. To find other professional installers, check with your local utility company, the Yellow Pages, the Buyers Guide on the Insulation Contractors Association of America web site or search the web for cellulose insulation installers in or near your city.

Which is the best insulation for the environment?

That’s easy – cellulose.

Cellulose insulation is made from at least 80% recycled paper, primarily newsprint. Most of the recycled paper is post-consumer waste adding even more benefit by redirecting it from the waste stream and landfills. Cellulose insulation also has the lowest embodied energy score of any major insulation. See the complete list of environmental facts and benefits here on the website.

Doesn’t using recovered paper for insulation make it necessary to cut more trees to make new paper?

Not really. Unlike metal, glass, or plastic, paper can’t be run again and again around a recycling loop. The fibers get shorter with each recycle, eventually ending up as useless powder. It will always be necessary to add new fibers to the papermaking process. It just makes good sense to redirect some recovered paper fiber to long-term use as insulation to make way for new fibers.

Do I need a Vapor Retarder?

With cellulose insulation, a vapor barrier isn’t recommended except in cases of high humidity areas, such as pools and spas, or in extremely cold climate zones, usually 9,000 HDD or more.

What is the best insulation to use in a cold climate?

Studies by Oak Ridge National Laboratory show that the performance of cellulose insulation remains stable in even at very cold temperatures thus making it one of the best choices for insulating homes in colder climate areas.

Refer to the R-Value chart here on the website for more information.

How much money can I save installing more insulation?

For a general idea on how much you could save on your utility bills by increasing your insulation use our savings calculator.

What does R-value mean?

R-value is a measure of resistance to heat flow through a given thickness of material. The higher the R-value, the greater the resistance. As explained in the section, "Why Insulate?", resisting heat flow is the primary purpose of insulating, which in turn lowers energy costs. Click here to find the recommended R-values for your area.

Where can I get Cellulose insulation if I want to do it myself?

Cellulose insulation is available at most home improvement stores and lumberyards. Many stores also rent machines for installation and can also help with any insulation questions you might have. Some stores may provide the blowing machine free with the purchase of cellulose insulation so be sure to inquire about any such special offers.

Do I need any Special Equipment for cellulose insulation DYI projects?

Yes. Cellulose insulation is compressively packaged, so it must be installed with a blowing machine, which can be rented or sometimes borrowed from most home improvement stores, or lumber yards, or tool rental centers. As with most home improvement projects, it is recommended that you wear protective gear such as a mask and goggles for minimum discomfort during the installation process.

Does cellulose insulation cause skin irritation?

No. Cellulose insulation does not contain any glass fibers, such as found in fiberglass insulation, that cause skin and respiratory irritation.

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