advice needed on attic insulation

hello, I noticed my ac bills were getting high ($300 per month during summer). I don't know too much about insulation/home repairs but I had a feeling insulation wasn't good enough.
I called a local contractor to do inspection of insulation on home and give me quote for iimproving it.
Turns out the insulation job was poorly done and there isn't enough insulation up there.
I was told that Icynene insulation was the best. It's a type of foam that gets sprayed on. www.icynene.com
This is supposed to be the best. I was told it would cost about $2 per square foot to install it.
Is this a good price? What other methods of insulation are there? I live in Houston, TX - the summers here are brutal! It's very hot and humid. I hate it here during summer...I'm happy here during winters :)
I want to get the best insulation possible because I don't want to pay lots of $$$ for electric bills for AC in the house. I really don't care about cost, I just want to make sure I get a fair price and the best insulation possible.
Thanks,
Oskar
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Attic insulation is probably best purchased on the basis of R value. Bid the job to several different contractors and on the basis of a specified R value. Your local utility company probably has a recommended R value for attic spaces. Look at AC unit efficiency (SEER rating) for the next step in cost savings.
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Clark wrote:

Very good advice. Don't get hung up on the type of insulation. It all is good and is measured by the same "R value"
The only additional note I would suggest is the question of attic ventilation and sealing of the attic floor. You generally want good attic ventilation to remove excess heat and especially moisture to prevent attic and roof damage.
You want to reduce air flow form the cooled space below and the attic. This can be a problem for older homes. blown in insulation can help there.
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Clark wrote:

Even before that, look for leaks in the ductwork.
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wow! thank you for all the great advice! I will proceed to check all duct work for leaks, make sure ventilation is good and get the R value of current setup and proposed setup. I'll also check with local authorities for what R value is recommended in these parts. I'm guessing it would be high due to the very hot/ humid weather during summers. I also know the windows are single pane (lousy quality). I can feel them leaking when it's cold outside. I put the shades down to help that a bit. I also know replacing these windows with dual or triple pane will be pretty $$$. But it's all money well spent. I prefer to spend money on the house (possibly increasing value of home) instead of spending money on energy bills!
Thank you all so much,
Oskar
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Comments based on the assumption you have a wood frame house with vented attic and ducts in the attic: Duct sealing and insulation. Equipment age, condition, and efficiency. Amount of insulation.
If you want to look deeper, consider sealing the attic; placing insulation such as spray on foam on the underside of the roof deck, rather than on the attic floor; allowing some treated air in the attic. The Building Science Corporation web site discusses this.
T
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

First priority is attic ventilation. Without ventilation, insulation won't work very well. There are three usual methods of attic ventilation: 1. Ridge vents 2. Passive devices such as wind turbines 3. Active devices such as fans.
None, however, work without adequate soffit vents. You can't have too much soffit venting.
So, your attack on the problem should be: 1. Install more - a lot more - soffit venting. You can do this yourself (cut hole, cover with screen, repeat). 2. Have a ridge vent installed. 3. Decide whether you want several turbines or a fan. 4. Block all access to the attic from the house. Again, you can do this yourself with a ladder, "Great Stuff," duct tape, packing material, dead cat, or whatever works. You must ruthlessly attack all light fixtures, vents, etc.
Now you're ready to attack the attic itself. Check back here when ready.
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Please also have the AC cleaned and serviced. A dirty AC uses a lot more power.
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I'd get the Icynene insulation srpayed on the attic floor up to the joists. Then on top of that put in layers of regular (unfaced) fiberglass batts. It's also possible that tyour attic ventilation could use some help. There are solar powered fans that can be put in the roof that will keep it well vented. I'd also check for air leaks, and if you don't already have double or triple pane windows, get them. And checking your existing AC unit wouldn't hurt. It might have leaky ducts (or have poorly designed ducts), be low on charge, have a dirty coil, or it might just have a low SEER value.
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One more thing you can do is getting a window unit for your bedroom and only air condition it at night instead of whole house air conditioning.
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On Jun 8, 1:18 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Whats your R value now, how do you know its a poor job, what R are you contracting for, icynene is what R value, foams go to R7.5, some are R 4.5. R value is what you need to know and buy. R 50 is optimal, but for your area-zone maybe less. Is 2$ a foot buying you R 4.5 or R 50. To foam you will want the old stuff removed
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