Every area of the country has different considerations when it comes to selecting the right type of attic insulation. Even within the state of New Jersey, there are five distinct climate zones, according the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist at Rutgers University. So, how can homeowners figure out what kind of attic insulation is best for their New Jersey property?
A good place to start is often with a professional energy audit. A professional energy auditor will look at the entire ecosystem of the home when evaluating its energy efficiencieny, which will include the attic insulation. Your professional energy auditor will look at the existing attic insulation and determine whether it needs to be fully replaced, or if more insulation simply needs to be added to the existing materials.
In New Jersey, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends installing attic insulation that has an R-value between R-49 and R-60. The R-value is a measurement of thermal resistance, or how much the insulation can resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation will be at keeping a home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The home’s location will also play a factor in selecting the best R-value. The temperature differences between the northern and southern parts of New Jersey are the greatest in the winter months. Therefore, homes in the northern part of the state need attic insulation with slightly higher R-values than the southern part of the state.
It’s also a good idea to inspect the attic insulation for signs of excess moisture. Appliances that are improperly vented, small leaks in the roof, and dripping water pipes can all create moisture in attic insulation. This will decrease the insulation’s R-value and can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can be serious health hazards.
Wrapping a home’s water heater and pipes with insulation can also make a big difference in energy bills, especially if the heater is in a cold garage or if the pipes run through an unheated attic or basement. Approximately 15 to 20 percent of monthly energy expenses are due to heating water. In addition, insulating the water pipes can keep them freezing or bursting during the coldest times of the year.
New Jersey residents will find that there are many long-term benefits to ensuring that their homes have the proper attic insulation. Overall, it will decrease energy bills, make the indoor temperature more comfortable in both summer and winter, and improve the indoor air quality. Another benefit is that the correct attic insulation will reduce the carbon footprint of the home by using less energy for heating and cooling. In some cases, earth-friendly insulation made from cotton or recycled materials may also be available. Homeowners are encouraged to call a professional today in order to ensure that their attic insulation is prepared for the coming year’s weather.