With skyrocketing energy prices consumers are looking for ways to cut consumption and use of energy products. Every homeowner can improve the cost effectiveness of their homes energy consumption by performing maintenance or upgrading their systems. Upgrading your insulation is one fairly inexpensive method of cutting energy consumption and making your home more comfortable.

Installing or maintaining attic insulation is an important part of any effort to make your home more efficient. Attic insulation does two things to increase energy efficiency. In the winter it keeps the warm air in your home from rising into your cold attic. This is an important aspect because warm air naturally rises and without the attic insulation preventing the warm air from entering the attic, you will have a hard time keeping your house warm on a cold night not to mention a costly energy bill. In summer time it does the opposite by helping keep the cool air trapped in your home and preventing the warm air in your attic from being pushed down into your house.

Good coverage is probably the most important aspect when installing attic insulation. Holes or gaps in your insulation will reduce the insulations effectiveness which is why most people prefer to have a professional install blown insulation rather than insulation batts which is more DIY friendly. Batt insulation may offer a bit better insulation per inch of thickness but it is much harder to get a thorough coverage of the entire attic space but blown insulation can be blown into all the corners and crevices which is why it’s preferred. Attic insulation is measured in R values. R value is a measure of thermal resistance, but all you need to know is the higher the number the better the insulation.

Here is how insulation works. Little pockets of air get trapped inside which forms an air barrier between the inside/outside temperatures and prevents cycling through the insulation and transferring heat across it. In other words, the R value isn’t in the insulation itself but in the air trapped inside it. As insulation settles the pockets of air get pressed out reducing its effectiveness dramatically.

Over time your insulation will settle which is why it is important for owners of older homes to increase their attic insulation. When first built, the R value may have been sufficient but over time it may have decreased. Moisture in your attic can also rapidly reduce your insulation’s R value by as much as 40% by weighing it down and pushing out the air trapped inside it. To check whether or not your attic has lost its R value , check to see it’s condition. If it’s still fluffy your insulation is most likely sufficient , if it’s matted down and trampled it is probably a good idea to replace or add more insulation.

Brought to you by,

Nathan MacDonald-Pile
Napoleon Home Inspections

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