If you want to reduce your energy cost this winter think attic insulation. Upgrading your attic insulation will have the greatest impact on your home’s energy efficiency. In fact, you could save up to twenty percent on your heating costs by increasing your insulation thickness from three to 12 inches.
Insulation is available in a variety of types, including: (1) Fiberglass – made of molten glass that is spun into micro fibers, available in batts or rolled blankets. (2) Rock wool – made of molten rock, also available in batts or rolled blankets. (3) Cellulose – made of recycled paper that is chemically treated to make it fire resistant. (4) Synthetic – usually made of polystyrene, available in rigid boards or expanding foam.
The R-value indicates the insulating material’s resistance to heat flow, the higher the R-value the greater the insulating power. In New York, the Department of Energy recommends that attic insulation have an R-49 rating.
Determine your attic’s current R-value by measuring the thickness of existing insulation; six inches of insulation is roughly equivalent to R-19. In this case adding a layer of R-30 insulation will bring your attic to the recommended standard for energy efficiency.
If you are reinforcing existing installation start by identifying the type and amount insulation you currently have so you can determine how much you’ll need to add. Locate attic vents and be careful not to cover them with insulation.
Layer existing insulation with unfaced insulation to allow moisture to properly pass through. Faced insulation is used for the first layer and should always be installed with the facing directed toward the interior of the house. Facing provides a vapor barrier that protects exterior and interior walls from condensation buildup.
Installing attic insulation in a home with little or no existing insulation is a big job that can lend itself to many costly mistakes and cost as much as hiring a professional. If you need to find a reliable contractor contact the Better Contractor’s Bureau at (585) 338-3600.
Proper ventilation is important to ensuring you get the most out of your insulation and preventing moisture damage. Attic vents allow air to circulate keeping hot air from getting trapped in the summer months and preventing ice dams from forming in the winter.
Ventilation can include continuous ridge and soffit vents, roof vents and rafter vents. If you are unsure what ventilation needs your home has a professional can help you find the best solution.
As with any home improvement project, it is important to take safety precautions when installing insulation. Because insulating materials contain skin irritants you should wear a dust mask, goggles, gloves, long pants and a long sleeved shirt. Also, watch out for possible fire hazards such as light fixtures and electrical wires that may be exposed to the insulation. For more how-to information visit chasepitkin.com, and remember you’ll find quality Owens Corning insulation products at your local Chase-Pitkin Home and Garden.