Installing insulation is not a fun or glamorous home improvement, but it is one that should not be ignored.
Although insulation doesn’t get as much attention as a new coat of paint in your dining room or a new designer front door, it can save you a significant amount of money and make your home much more comfortable throughout the year.
If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, you know that keeping your house warm can get pretty expensive. Although turning down the thermostat and wearing more clothing at home can help lower your energy costs, the problem might actually be your unfinished attic. Installing insulation is a project you can complete on your own in just one weekend and that little bit of extra work can save between 10 and 50 percent on your heating bill this winter. The even better news is that it also works for your air conditioning. If you live in areas where the temperature rises significantly, attic insulation can also lower your air conditioning costs by stabilizing the temperature in your home.
The best way to insulate your attic is to install it in the floor, but if you have covered the floor with plywood to use it for storage, you will have to limit how much insulation you can add. Consider removing the attic flooring and layer additional insulation on top of the old. Although this means you will have to find another location for your holiday decorations and clothes from three seasons ago, the energy savings will more than make up for relocating your stored items.
If you are installing the insulation by yourself, you can choose either loose fill or blanket insulation, commonly called batt. Loose fill insulation is packaged in bags and then blown into place using machinery you can rent from a home center or a local rental agency. If your attic has unusual or nonstandard joist spacing or if there are many obstructions, this may be the best option. It is also recommended if you are topping existing insulation or in low-clearance attics. Batt insulation is sold in rolls of various thickness and widths. Batt works best in attics with standard joist spacing and few obstructions. It does not require any special machinery to install.
Here are a few tips to follow before you get started on a do-it-yourself insulation installation.
Check to see what insulation you have installed already and remove any compressed, water-stained or moldy insulation.
If your home was built before 1900 and the insulation is lightweight, grainy with shiny flecks, it may contain asbestos.
Have it tested and if it contains vermiculite, you will have to have it professionally removed.
If you live in a warm climate, the Department of Energy recommends an R-30 value. In cold climates, an R-49 value is recommended. R-38 is recommended in temperate climates.
Check with your state’s energy office or your local utility to see if there are any rebates or other financial incentives for improving your insulation.
Measure the square footage of your attic to determine how much insulation you will need. Loose fill insulation lists the required depths on the bag and how many bags you will need to cover 1,000 square feet at those depths. Use the width and length of the product to determine how many batts or rolls you will need. Always purchase one extra bag or roll to account for errors or mistaken measurements.
These simple tips can help you save a significant amount on your air conditioning and heating bills just by adding insulation to your attic. For more information on insulation installation, contact us by phone or visit our website.