The amount and quality of the attic insulation in your home makes the largest impact on its energy efficiency and your year-long energy costs. Adequate insulation properly installed will start saving energy immediately, and last for years. In most cases, it’s the most affordable improvement for long lasting comfort.
The recommended level of batt or blown-in insulation in this region ranges between 16 and 20 inches. You can measure the level by using a ruler or tape measure. Over time, loose-fill cellulose products may settle, which means that it won’t provide as much thermal protection as it originally did. Both cellulose and fiberglass products may be damaged from excess moisture in the attic resulting in compression or mold growth.
All insulating products are rated by their R-value, which is measured by testing how long each inch of the product resists temperature change. Each inch of fiberglass and cellulose has an R-value of a little over 3. A four-inch thick batt would have an R-value of 13.
Foam insulation products have higher R-values, especially sprayed foams. They’re commonly used as attic insulation where spaces are too tight to install batts or loose fill. The R-values of rigid or sprayed foam range from 4 to 7.2.
Unless you’re comfortable with home improvement projects, you may need to hire a contractor increase the insulation in the attic. The critical aspects of improving insulation include aspects of ventilation, and avoiding gaps and thermal bridging. All attics need specific amounts of fresh air flowing through them to keep moisture in check. Thermal bridging causes heat to move from the ceilings, attic floor, or its joists due primarily to gaps in the insulation.
Tight spaces in attics often need sprayed foam for the most thermal protection. It’s rarely a do-it-yourself project because it requires highly specialized equipment to install. You can use cans of this type at home centers for very small spaces.
For more information about improving attic insulation, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing, providing outstanding HVAC services for homeowners in Grand Traverse County and the surrounding areas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about attic insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.
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