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Ready To Insulate Your Attic? 3 Things You Need To Know First

by Tara Pena

An attic is a great place to store old keepsakes and holiday decorations, but it can also be a large source of energy loss in your home. Because hot air rises, you can expect to lose a good amount of conditioned air through the attic and roof of your home. On average, 30 to 50 percent of heat is lost through the attic and roof of your home, wasting a lot of energy while increasing costs to heat your home. Therefore, ensuring the attic is insulated in the best manner possible is key. Here are a few things you need to know before insulating your attic to improve efficiency.

Insulation Type

Most people are surprised to learn there are so many different options when choosing insulation. Traditionally, you would use the same insulation that already exists in your attic if you are hoping to improve efficiency. However, you can incorporate a few different types of insulation for even more energy efficiency.

Rolls and batts of fiberglass or wool insulation are most commonly used because of their affordability. Since the rolls and batts are available in different widths and lengths, this option is also one of the easiest and most efficient to install.

Loose fill is also available in fiberglass and wool in addition to cellulose. This material is also installed quickly and capable of insulating areas of your attic that are small, thin, or abnormally shaped.

Spray-foam insulation is another option to consider due to its energy efficiency and speed of installation. Sprayed into areas of your attic, the foam can be messy if you are not experienced working with this type of insulation. The increased R-value, which equals better insulation, ensures the added cost of spray foam insulation is a worthwhile investment.

Insulation R-Value

Each type of insulation is available with a different R-value, which represents the material's resistance to heat flow. Basically, the higher the R-value, the more energy efficient your insulation will be.

When choosing an insulation that offers the best R-value, focus on a few factors, including the material's thickness and density. Of course, the climate you live in also matters when selecting an insulation and R-value for your home.

If you are insulating an uninsulated attic in sourthern Texas, where temperatures are usually warmer than other parts of the country, insulation with an R-value of R30 to R60 is recommended by Energy Star. A higher R-value is necessary in the northern part of the country, since you want to reduce heat loss from the attic as much as possible. R49 to R60 insulation is best for these cooler states.

Air Sealing

Adding new insulation to an uninsulated attic or adding additional insulation to an attic that is somewhat insulated are excellent ways to prevent heat loss and conserve energy, but you need to focus some time and energy on sealing cracks and openings, too.

Eliminating any holes or cracks where air can potentially enter or escape will help you manage temperatures, reducing your need to not only heat your home more in the winter, but also conserve energy during times where air conditioning is needed.

Caulking and expanding foam are both simple ways to prevent air loss in the attic. Use these products around window frames, doors, seams, and other areas where you see light coming into your attic.

Also, use your hands to feel around areas of your attic. If you feel even the slightest amount of air, use your caulk or foam to seal the area.

Darkened areas of insulation may also be a sign of air leakage. This discoloration may stem from moisture that seeps through, affecting the color of the insulation. Applying caulk or foam directly to the insulation is not recommended, but if you believe air is leaking through the area, you should install new insulation or add extra.

Insulating your attic is a great way to improve conditioning, reduce waste, and save money. This guide will help you get started on your attic insulation project. To learn more, contact a company like  All Weather Insulation.