A home’s attic space is more prone to heat loss in winter and heat gain in warmer months than any other area of the home. The good news is that much of this can be prevented by ensuring this space is insulated and air-sealed. Here is more about preventing energy loss through the attic.
Inadequate insulation increases home energy bills, but so do air leaks in the attic. It is most practical to seal air leaks before adding new insulation. Insulation alone is not sufficient for preventing energy loss from air infiltration. Waiting to check for air leaks until after adding insulation means backtracking and extra work.
Common places you’ll discover these leaks are around flues, exhaust fans, electric boxes, recessed lights and plumbing pipes. Sealing materials include flashing, expandable foam and special fire-safe caulk for flues or other hot fixtures.
One of the most important insulation terms you should know is R-value. This rating indicates the efficiency of insulation at resisting heat transfer per inch.
In our area of Michigan, the attic recommendation is a minimum of R-49 up to R-60. That means if you use a type of insulation with an R-value of three, insulation should be around 20 inches deep.
Chances are high your insulation is inadequate due to at least one of the following reasons:
- Low R-value – The original builders or homeowners might have insulated the attic with the minimum amount or even less.
- Uneven Thickness – Insulation needs to be installed at the right uniform depth. Poor installation or architectural features can sometimes lead to uneven areas of insulation.
- Damage – Rodents trample it, nest in it and displace it, and high humidity or roof leaks can cause insulation to become soggy.
Solving an attic’s energy loss issues is easiest if you leave it to a professional contractor. If you choose to do it yourself, make sure to wear protective gear and watch your footing to avoid stepping through the ceiling.
For more about saving energy, please contact our experts at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
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 attics and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.
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