Insulating your attic retains conditioned air–that is, heated or chilled air–within the living spaces of your home, conserving energy and money. Additionally, it helps extend roof life in regions with cold winters, as an uninsulated attic will draw warmth from the home and get hot enough to melt snow on the roof. Since the water runs off the roof, it refreezes, creating an”ice dam” that allows water penetrate under the shingles.
Seal All Leaks
Insulation is made simply to prevent heat from moving through building materials, such as drywall, ductwork and ceiling joists. When air is leaking out of the conditioned areas of your home into the attic, insulation isn’t likely to prevent it. That is why it’s critical to seal all air escapes before placing in any insulating material. Use materials such as caulk, weatherstripping and expanding urethane foam to seal any leaks.
Get Enough R-Value
“R-value” is a measure of a material’s ability to insulate. The”R” stands for resistance, as in resistance to heat transport. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulation. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that attic spaces be insulated to a minimum R-value ranging from R-30 in the southern United States to R-38 at the middle tier of their nation to R-49 in the cold climates of the upper Midwest and northern New England. Insulating products are tagged with an R-value per inch. Fiberglass batt insulation, as an instance, is about R-3.5 per inch, so to receive a worth of R-49, you would need a coating 14 inches thick.
Don’t Cover Vents
Most attics are vented so the temperature within the attic is roughly equivalent to the temperatures outside. Roofing life is prolonged by this. Air comes into the attic through vents at the soffits–the bottom of the eaves–and exits through other vents in the roof. When placing down insulation, be careful not to pay the soffit vents, or your attic will not be suitably ventilated.
Insulate the Hatch
The attic entrance, such as a hatch in the ceiling below, should be as well-insulated as the rest of the attic. When you’re working in the attic installing insulation, you’ll probably leave the hatch open, so it’s easy to overlook. But should you’ve got 14 inches of insulation on the floor of the attic, be certain to have 14 inches on top of the hatch.
Don’t Let It Get Wet
Check the attic ceiling–the bottom of the roof–for water marks and stains. It might be putting into the insulating material, if water is getting into the attic. Wet insulation is all but useless, as water conducts heat very effectively. Also make sure that any exhaust fans–especially toilet fans–port to the outside instead of into the attic. Moist air in the toilet can condense on the insulating material, destroying its ability to prevent heat transport.