Decide on a type of insulation. Common forms include fiberglass, expanded polystyrene and foam. Fiberglass insulation houses fibers that may be irritating to some skin types. Keep skin exposure to a minimum by wearing long sleeves and rubber gloves. Choose a material with a high thermal resistance rating (R-value). Material with a higher manufacturer's rating lasts longer and is more efficient. Insulation is rated based on thickness, density and type. Pick a product with your home's design in mind as well as your budget.
Determine where to install the insulation. If you are building a new home, every exterior wall should be insulated. Adding additional insulation on top of existing material when fixing up a home may be effective, but insulation should be added to unprotected areas first. Too much insulation may cause different temperatures throughout certain parts of a home. Begin with places prone to cooler air such as garages, basements and attics. Wear a safety mask and safety glasses when handling insulation. Choose a mask rated for fiber protection instead of just for dust.
Insulate the exterior walls of the home. Using a flashlight and screwdriver, look behind an electrical outlet to see if any insulation is present in the walls. Be sure to not pile too much insulation around electrical wires. If a rodent happens to play around with the wires, the insulation could eventually burn and start a fire. If insulating an exterior attic wall, wear a hard hat and lay down a few boards to stand on to keep you from falling through your home’s ceiling.
Check duct work and around water pipes. Duct work is susceptible to energy loss if it runs through uninsulated areas. Investigate pipes, especially those outside or under the home. Unprotected pipes should be insulated with a very high R-value insulation for maximum protection. Pipes can freeze and break in the wintertime if improperly insulated. Insulating the pipes will also keep warm water more readily available in colder months.