Attic insulation provides a vital layer of protection between your residential home and the elements, working in conjunction with your roofing materials to create a comfortable living space. Inadequate attic insulation will drastically increase your heating and cooling bills, while too much insulation affects air flow.
What about the different types of attic insulation—is one better than the others? Should homeowners invest in fiberglass batting insulation or stick with blown in products? Each type has advantages and disadvantages, and the design of your home comes into play.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ATTIC INSULATION ALL YEAR ROUND
Insulation provides a barrier against the passage of heat in and out of your home. In the winter insulation works to keep heated air inside your home. An un-insulated or under-insulated attic space can result in the loss of up to 25% of your home energy. But having a well insulated attic is just as important in the summer months.
Roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles and metal roofing, attract heat from the sun, increasing interior attic temperatures to dangerous levels. That heat seeps into your house, straining the cooling system and decreasing your comfort. This condition presents a major problem when air conditioning duct work runs through the attic, warming up that cooled air before it even reaches your living space.
ATTIC INSULATION AND STORAGE
Many people use their attic for storage, keeping unused or seasonal items out of the way. Inadequate insulation may result in damaged boxes, mold growth and rotten items. Organics, such as paper, wood and clothing, are highly susceptible to damage in the hot, moist environment that results from poor attic insulation.
THE BEST TYPE OF ATTIC INSULATION
Choose between batting insulation, available in wide strips that fit between the ceiling joists to provide good coverage, or blown in products, made from fiberglass or cellulose materials and literally blown in to the space. Depending on your situation, one product may be better than the other.
Batting insulation can be easily installed and allows for a clean space, ideal for storage. The strips can be cut to fit and squeeze into tight space fairly well. Use batting to boost the existing insulation by laying the strips perpendicular to each other. This type is also easy to remove and replace, should your roof leak in the future.
Blown in insulation products offer excellent coverage, fitting into even the smallest gaps and spaces. The installation process is fast and efficient, although you may not be able to store items in the attic due to the loose nature of this product. Blown in products are a wise choice when adding attic insulation.
Find out how much attic insulation is needed by using the Department of Energy’s Zip Code Insulation Program (link – http://www.ornl.gov/~roofs/Zip/ZipHome.html), an online form that takes climate and other factors into account when calculating the ideal amount of insulation.
Keep your living space comfortable and cozy throughout each season with quality attic insulation. This product boosts energy efficiency and may help to protect items stored in the attic area. Talk to your local contractor about adding or replacing your attic insulation to enhance home comfort and efficiency.