The Importance of Attic Insulation

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Attic insulation serves multiple purposes ranging from energy savings to reducing the strain on the HVAC system while increasing the value of the home. The proper attic insulation even has the potential to help reduce outside noises and help fight winter ice dams on the roof.

Attic Insulation and Energy Savings

Homeowners can save an estimated $200 each year off their energy bills when the home is sealed and insulated according to the guidelines from ENERGY STAR, reports the Environmental Protection Agency. Insulation, in particular, plays an integral role in retaining heat inside the home during the colder months and keeping the heat outside when the temperatures become warmer. With proper insulation, the home’s air conditioner and furnace (HVAC) can run more efficiently which saves both electricity and natural gas.

Discover approximately how you may save with proper sealing and insulation via the ENERGY STAR site. Estimations are listed by climate zone/regions throughout the country.

Types of Insulation

Because no two houses are the same, different types of insulation are available. On average, the most common forms of insulation for private residences are:

  • Batts: Blanket/roll insulation
  • Loose fill/blown-in insulation
  • Foam board
  • Fiber insulation

Blanket or roll insulation fits in between the studs and joists of unfinished walls and ceilings/floors. It’s commonly used in attics, an easy to moderate difficulty DIY project. With a paper or foil layer, this type of insulation also acts as a vapor barrier working to control humidity.

Loose fill or blown-in insulation is a good choice when working to add insulation to areas of the home where the walls are finished. A professional can come in and add the loose fill/blown-in insulation to help increase a home’s energy efficiency.

Foam board offers good insulation value and is ideal for attics with un-vented, sloped roofs. It also can be used for unfinished walls and ceilings as well. Fiber insulation has the ability to withstand very warm temperatures and often is used as ductwork insulation in areas where it’s not air-conditioned.

What are R-Values?

R-value is essentially a measurement or rating referring to the insulating material’s resistance to conductive heat flow or its thermal resistance, states Energy.gov. “The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness.”

When considering R-value it’s important to remember that there are variances depending on the type of insulation, its thickness, and the material’s density. The R-value that’s best for your home to provide energy efficient insulation typically is determined by the area’s climate, the type of HVAC system the home has, and the area of the home being insulated.

Benefits of Attic Insulation

Attic insulation for a home is very important, offering multiple benefits. While saving money on yearly energy costs is a primary benefit of attic insulation, there are others that may not be as easily noticeable. Benefits of attic insulation include but are not limited to:

  • Reduces strain on the HVAC system, which can help it perform more efficiently and even last longer
  • Creates an additional barrier to help reduce the entry of pests, pollen, and other particulates into the home
  • Helps to lower the risk of roof ice dams in climates with colder temperatures
  • As a vapor barrier, can help with humidity control. Lower humidity equals less risk for mold growth
  • As far as valuable improvements before selling go, it is one of the best for a return on investment

Signs an Attic Needs More Insulation

If you look in your attic and see only open, exposed joists, studs, and rafters, the home needs insulation. Attic insulation replacement can be the solution in such cases. However, sometimes there are insulation batts or rolls situated between the joists and studs. How do you know if it’s enough? To determine if you have enough insulation in the attic, begin by consulting the recommendations set by Energy.gov. On their insulation page is a chart for all U.S. zones and the recommended R-value needed depending on where the insulation is being installed or added.

Any attic insulation that has been damaged by water should be replaced. If the home is older, it’s also likely that the insulation is inadequate and should be upgraded with the R-value increased for better energy efficiency.

For more information on how attic insulation can help with your home’s energy efficiency relies on a professional HVAC team.