Some research shows almost 90% of American homes don’t have sufficient attic insulation. Since heat passes easily through an attic that isn’t insulated properly, this could amount to a lot of money that doesn’t have to be spent.
The EnergyStar Program has reported both heating and cooling costs for the average home could be cut by as much as 20% with appropriate insulation and sealing. The most affected part of such a home would be the attic. Especially since a large amount of heat loss goes through an attic that is unfinished and/or under-insulated.
Keeping the recommended amount of insulation in your attic for your part of the country can help you keep a comfortable temperature in your living areas, save you money on heating and cooling bills, and keep those dreaded ice dams from forming in the dead of winter.
How much insulation do you need in your attic? This depends on where you live. Your insulation is measured in “R” value. This stands for resistance to heat flow. With greater R-value, you get greater insulation. In general, the R-value for most northern states will be at least 49.
In too many cases, you won’t have this recommended R-value, even in new homes, because local building codes only set minimum standards. These standards may be lower than what home energy experts recommend. Older homes may have little to no insulation in the attic. In past years, heating costs were so low due to fuel costs being low that builders and home owners didn’t pay a lot of attention to insulation.
How do you know whether you have too little attic insulation? One way is if the rooms directly below the attic are either too hot or too cold at times of the year, even if other parts of your home are comfortable. If your heating/cooling bills are higher than your neighbors, you may have inadequate attic insulation. If you can feel cold drafts in parts of your home in the winter, it may be a tip-off of too little insulation in the attic.
When you go up in your attic, can you see the floor joists above the level of the insulation? If so, you have too little insulation. Measure the amount of insulation. If it’s less than 10 inches, you likely have too little. Is your ductwork above the insulation layer? You may have too little insulation.
What do you do? You can try to do it yourself. This is more complicated than you might think. You have to have to have protective clothing and the right equipment. Then, ask yourself: Do I really know what I’m doing? If so, great. Have at it.
If not, then contact Weathertight Spray Foam in Gilford, NH, is one of the best in the area. Contact them at 603-343-3266 to schedule an appointment to discuss their services. They can help you decide not only whether you have sufficient attic insulation, but also the best kind to put in.